Yep, I done went 'n' done done it. I collected all the freakin' Nick Carter series. That's 261 books, as detailed here on this wonderful website which was invaluable to me in this insane endeavor. Naturally, I didn't go back to the 1800's and collect the old detective pulps and dime-novels (info on those here) - I stuck to the Killmaster books.
Luckily, I got the bulk of these really cheap, by haunting used bookstores, where they were a buck at most, and a lot of 'em were fifty cents, a quarter, etc. My dad was a huge reader of Westerns but I had a couple of Nick Carter books around and told him to try them, and he got into them in a big way. My dad got around the world quite a bit and he was impressed with the accuracy of the Nick Carter writers in depicting places he'd been. So, much of this collection got built by buying him presents for Christmas, birthdays, father's days, etc. -- he didn't care if they were used and I'd usually get him like 20-30 books at a time, so, they built up fast. When he died, I inherited 'em, and noticed I was only shy around 40-50 of 'em. They're still fairly cheap from Amazon marketplace or ABEBooks, often going for just the price of shipping... so, even though $4 is a little more than I'm used to paying for used books, I chipped away at it, and finally got the last ones in today.
So, feast your eyes on what a complete set of Nick Carter books looks like, and admire my dogged persistence, or despise me for being a hoarder of junk, depending on your viewpoint (both are probably equally valid, but still fuck you if it's the second one!).
And here's what the same pile looks like with a stupid bad cat named Thirteen in front of it:
And here's a couple of close-ups because I know a lot of you people are like me and have a fetish for the individually-unique wear 'n' tear of around 20-to-50-year-old paperback spines and this is like porn for you (and a beauty you'll never find from those goddamned fucking e-books):
I wish you could smell them. It's beautiful... the cinnamony smell of aged paper is like nothing else.
Now, all I need is the secret of immortality so I can read all this stuff. So far I've read, ohhhh, maybe a dozen of 'em. Never read a bad one (they're usually better than most series books). And my dad read over a hundred and wrote "good" or "very good" in all of 'em 'cept two. Those are pretty good odds, 'cuz my dad was often a harsh critic... you should read some of the stuff he wrote in the few Longarm Westerns I got him. Yikes!
(Now go follow people on Twitter).