After the success of several tie-in novels featuring characters from the USA Network detective-comedy series Monk, written by TV mystery veteran Lee Goldberg, two more USA Network series will get the same treatment, according to an item on The Blog of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.
TV writer William Rabkin has agreed to write three original novels based on Psych, with the first going into print in January 2009, and Tod Goldberg will produce three books based on Burn Notice, with the first installment due out in July 2008, when the series’ second season will begin on USA Network.
Most tie-in novels of the past have been fairly routine and critically derided, but in recent years authors have put a good deal of effort into their offerings, and the results have been much better. More-experienced and better talented authors are entering the field, as evidenced in recent book tie-in series featuring characters such as Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote), Mark Sloan (Diagnosis: Murder), Lt. Columbo (Columbo), and, as mentioned earlier, Adrian Monk.
In adapting films and graphic novel series, good writers have been even more eager to get into the tie-in field, probably because sci-fi tends to sell very well.
The tie-in novel is still a decidedly low-status form of writing, but there is no intrinsic reason that it should be any worse than any other genre writing or serial fiction, and it is good to see that those who enjoy these popular TV series may be more readily lured into actually reading books—and then perhaps eventually read better ones. I cannot imagine what could be wrong with that.