I like two kinds of books or movies: either the bad guy dies at the end or the couple live happily ever after.

All my favorite books and movies are series. By the time I’ve read or watched a couple of them, I feel like the characters are either my best friends or I want to shoot them. Either way, they’re real people.

Louis L’Amour’s Sackett series is awesome. Tell Sackett is one of the greatest characters ever in a Western — and it has nothing to do with the fact that Sam Elliott plays Tell Sackett in the TV movies. Really. I’ve been reading Louis L’Amour books for a hundred years and The Sackett TV movie didn’t come out until 1979. Of course, after you watch The Sackett movie, you’ll picture Sam as Tell in all the books with that character. And that makes the books even better when you read them again. I have the set of saddle-brown Louis L’Amour books (100-plus) that go with me everywhere. They traveled from Georgia to Oregon and are so happy to be living in the West.

If you like a little sci-fi in your soup, try F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series. Jack “fixes” things. When someone starts trying to hurt good people who don’t have the ways or means to stop the bad guy, Jack helps. He reminds me of Travis McGee in the John D. MacDonald series. Although Travis lives in Florida and Jack lives in New York, they both like to make things right. Repairman Jack has some extra supernatural weapons (although sometimes the weapons are used against him), which makes for a great read.

Another incredible series is John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. The first book I read about Lucas — “Rules of Prey” — irritated me so badly I swore I would never read another. Lucas was the biggest jerk in history and I couldn’t stand him. Years later, I happened to read “Dark of the Moon,” a book about Virgil, who works for Lucas. That one was funny and entertaining (and, of course, had murder involved). I thought “Well, I must have misjudged Sandford, so I’ll try again.” By that time, Sandford already had 16 books in the Lucas series. I started reading them backwards in the series and they were great! He now has 30 books in the Prey series, which have Lucas as the main character, plus 12 in the Virgil series. That will get you through a lot of hours at your house waiting until the world is back to normal.

Whatever normal is.

Another favorite series for me is the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series by Robert Crais. Elvis started out being the main character, but after a few books, Joe became the main character in some of them — Joe is my favorite. Either way, they’re best friends, live in Southern California, and there’s always murder and mayhem involved.

Robert Parker’s Spenser series is another excellent way to spend your time. And Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. And Michael Connelly’s Bosch series.

And Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series — although don’t get me started on Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher in the movies. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher.

I get overdosed on murder and mayhem and have to go to the couple-lives-happily-ever-after books. The Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery is great. There are maybe 20 in that series and the location for the books is a small town in the Sierra Nevadas of California. The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr is excellent. I think 18 are in that series — it takes place in the mountains of Northern California. She also has the Thunder Point, Oregon series, where the characters live along the Oregon coast. A TV series was just started a few months ago on her books, but I haven’t seen it. I’ve read all these series several times. After a few years, I forget how the book ends, or I might remember how it ends, but don’t remember how they got there, so it’s worth reading again.

Happy reading to everyone!