So I received an email recently, from someone* who wanted me to know that, while they enjoyed the October Daye books, they didn't like the fact that the plot for Ashes of Honor involved a missing child case, since this had come up before. Furthermore, if there was any hint of a missing child in the back cover text of Chimes at Midnight, they would be dropping the series.
This? Is totally, absolutely, 100% fair. You should never have to read anything you don't want to, unless it's for a class (and even then, only if you want to actually pass said class). Life is too short! Don't read bad books unless reading bad books brings you joy, and don't read books that don't interest you unless you have a damn good reason.
At the same time, while I can totally appreciate the sentiment, I'm not sure it's a sentiment that I, as a reader, would ever feel comfortable expressing to a writer. Especially not now that I'm a writer myself, which means I know that a) the story will go where the story will go, and b) by the time you get your hands on book one in a series, book two is finished and turned in, making it impossible for the writer to avoid the plot elements you've said that you dislike. "Don't do this or else" is a wasted statement. It is already too late to avoid doing whatever it is you want to have avoided.
But still, for every person who speaks, there are ten more who don't, so I thought this might be a good time to say something about what's coming up for Toby. Specifically: yes, there will be more missing people, because after defeating Blind Michael and preventing a war, finding people is what she has a reputation for being good at. Ironically, Toby herself prefers murder cases; they're less time-sensitive, and she's less terrified of getting it wrong. But if she gets a call from out-Kingdom, there's a very good chance that it's going to be about somebody's missing son, daughter, or heir.
The plot of Chimes at Midnight doesn't center around missing children, but it does involve someone who has been lost. The Winter Long is still in progress, and is more about people being found than people being lost; there's also a murder, which is good for Toby's admittedly frayed nerves. This doesn't mean that there won't be missing children somewhere down the road, because those are the cases that make people sit up and say "I want my baby back alive, get that October woman."
Losing and finding people are huge themes in the Toby series, and that's a very intentional thing; that's never going to change. If that isn't the sort of thing you want to read, I'm really sorry. InCryptid has different themes, and changes narrators periodically, which should help to keep things more varied. But much like Newsflesh was about truth, Toby is about loss. At least until we find the ending.
So that's what's going on for Toby, and why things are the way that they are. I hope it makes sense; I hope you'll all stick around. And if not, I hope you'll at least understand why I write it this way.
This is how the story goes.
(*Names are withheld, as always, because that's how we roll around here. Playing nicely is the new black.)