By far in my opinion, Abby Normal is Chris's best character and the one with not only the most potential, but the character who can weld almost all of the story lines together making them parts of a cohesive whole.
I've read most of the books about six times or more. In the end you've memorized them sort of - only you don't want to. You want to forget them as fast as possible so you can start over. Abby though with her cutting dialogue eases the pain and you still laugh every time. Sometimes you see things in a completely different way and have a laugh you didn't have before.
I loaned Lamb to my Aunt. It may be years before I get it back. Abby is not following Biff.
To me, Abby is Lizbeth Salander without the axe to grind. Just imagine if Chris gave this girl an axe to grind - like something bad happening to Flood. Hell hath no fury and all that goes with it. Just imagine what a fright Abby in a bad mood would be to Charlie Asher!
At some point we may need an Abe Normal. And what about the bronzing factory? Those dudes are raw inspiration on the hoof absolutely screaming to be tied back to Abby.
Riviera is nowhere near the end of his rope yet and kind of needs a shove off the precipice along with his beat partner Cavuto. They haven't done their best work yet and can't without Abby. Something more needs to be made of the office end of what these two coPs encounter from a Michael Connelly point of view. San Fran is too small for Connelly's characters not to run into Abby Normal.
In fact Abby Normal is exactly what Detective Bosch needs to help him sort out his inner/outer angst.
I've scoured the internet looking for visual matches for some of these characters. They're out there in the oddest places.
I thought it was interesting reading one of Chis's posts where he says he couldn't finish a Harry Potter book. In my mind Chris's books are very similar to the Harry Potter books. Not from the irreverent humour standpoint but from the manner in which the characters are developed.
Both writers have a simple, direct way of building the characters without wasting a single word. The action occurs in short bursts over a well defined timeline. Chris uses short time lines where Rollins goes for the long haul. The characters are just short of believeable and there's no deep philosophy although Rollins does get nearer the edge there.
Both authors are a great read when you are convalescing as I was for a period of years. Light reading that completely removes your mind from your own problems. So both writers are performing a valuable public service that neither of them has likely spent much time thinking about. When you're really ill, and death is standing over there in the corner, death is a subject that needs to be dealt with in a way that's digestible. You need to be able to think about it in terms that aren't disabling and in ways that give you an incentive to keep going. Both these authors do that - one with humour, one with more traditional sensitivity. They both work.
So far Rollins appears to be more organized. However, Abby Normal used as a link would add structure to all but Fool. On the other hand, who's to say Abby couldn't be sent back in time via a time shift sequence or something of that nature? At that point, it would make the entire series collectible as hardcover collected works that could then become book colletor hardcover staples with more stature than they now enjoy. It would be a reason to buy the books again. Especially if they were illustrated in colour - and I don't mean with goofy line art. I mean with some top notch state of the art illustration - and I don't mean that high performance comic book art either - better than that too. There are lots of great airbrush artists out there who could do these books justice. As collector books they'd command some big money and could be pre-sold.
Anyway, as hard as Abby's dialogue is to write, she Chris, is where your reading public wants you to go. You've only scratched the surface with her. She's a character upon which serious marketing could be built. At some point she'll become a movie character and when that happens, she's going to make some little girl a superstar and an Oscar winner.
Your challenge Chris is to write the worthy material. You have the public's thirsty gaze on you, a ready ear and a pipeline to the bookstores. Lastly, you have the skill and the wit to do it. There's some serious writing in your future and I hope you don't dilly-dally too long before getting down to business and forking out some more seriously funny shit.
Now that's something...