When I wrote COLD GRANITE I wanted it to read like it wasn't the first book in a series. I alluded to a whole heap of stuff, but never explained any of it. These were events that occurred in previous 'unwritten books'. Things like the Mastrick Monster, or Why Logan and Isobel fell out, previous murders, cases, arrests, relationships. All that kind of malarkey you'd expect to accumulate behind a series character by the time they hit their third or fourth book. This was on purpose.
Then I went and did the same with DYING LIGHT: events from CG were hinted at, or used as throwaway one-liners. The characters all know what happened, so they're not likely to stand about and discuss historic events, just so new readers can catch up, are they? Whenever I get together with my homies -- well, Grendel T Kittenfish as I'm a pretty much homie-free zone, living as I do just left of the arse-end of nowhere -- I don't launch into convoluted monologues about things that happened ages ago, so why should my characters?
Apart from anything else, it's going to get old pretty soon if I've got to explain things from every preceding book. "Well," said Logan, making himself comfortable, "you'd better sit down, I've got a lot of expositioning to get through. When I was six..." Yawn. Creak. And maybe fart.
Anyway, so I've took the same approach in DL as I had in CG: never explain, never apologise. If people want to know what all those few little glancing references mean they can go read the first book. But they shouldn't have to in order to enjoy DL on its own.
And yet... I've stumbled upon* comments and reviews saying that DYING LIGHT is definitely part of a series and you have to read COLD GRANITE first. This worries me, because isn't what I'm aiming for at all. Each book should stand on its own cloven hooves. Yes, you should be able to see a progression in the characters across the books, and some things will follow on from other things, but you shouldn't have to start at the beginning and work your way forward. Because I hate having to do that when I read a series. I very rarely get introduced to a series at book one, and that book has to stand on it's own, or I'm not touching the rest with a stick. Not even a pointy one with poop on the end. But once I decide I like a series, I'll go back to the first novel and read my way forward through the whole lot.
So, either I've screwed up mightily** with DL and the arch references, or this is just one of those, 'everyone's different' moments. Something for me to ponder on the plane tomorrow as I head to New York for my tour, thanking the Hairy Gods of Sloping Undercarriages that I wasn't flying last week.
* Lies: I've searched through the inerweb, looking to fuel my enormous, bearded ego!
** I know you're shocked, but it has been known to happen.