As promised, we completed the First Five of the Top Ten Favorite Characters two weeks ago … the Second Five Favorites last week … so we’ve completed the Top Ten Favorite Characters in the mystery-thriller-suspense fiction genre. How many of those 160 books have you read?
Don’t forget … they’re just MY favorites … feel free to eagerly disagree so we can all learn about some of the great characters we may have missed.
[All names in Bold Italic … BLACK for authors, titles in GREEN, characters in ORANGE … except URL references in RED. No affiliate links.]
It’s kinda lame to have an Honorable Mention list, isn’t it? I think people do it because they can’t really leave it at 10 or 25 or 100 … on any list of favorites. Me, too, I guess … but there are good reasons some of these didn’t make the Top Ten Favorites. It’s not that they’re not liked … loved even … it’s just that there are a few blemishes in their back story that kept them from the Top Ten.
So, here’s the beginning of the Honorable Mention list. Keep reading, though, because you’ll still discover some great characters and fabulous novelists among these books:
- Rusty Sabich, practicing attorney from Scott Turow. Here’s the thing. You’d have to say that Rusty Sabich been around a long time, about 14 years since he first appeared in the blockbuster, Presumed Innocent, another one of those books I can specifically remember (if you recall, we’ve been keeping a list of those … like Pillars of the Earth, The Day After Tomorrow, The Charm School?). I like Rusty … and that’s a pretty good tenure … but he’s only appeared twice, most recently in last year’s, Innocent. I’ve read virtually all of Turow’s novels, even including One L which preceded Presumed Innocent in 1993. He’s a terrific novelist but Rusty Sabich didn’t make the “favorite characters” list for that reason.
- Arkady Renko, Moscow detective, from Martin Cruz Smith. In some ways, he meets the sternest of tests … his appearance in the legendary Gorky Park was in 1981, almost 30 years ago as part of the trilogy between 1981-1992. But for favorite characters, only 3 books in 11 years really slows me down. Three Stations was published late last year … still on my savoring list … but that’s only #7 in 29 years … and my memory of main characters needs to be nourished more frequently.
- Kay Scarpetta, medical examiner from Patricia Cornwell. I may have screwed up here because but I really like Scarpetta (and I’m Facebook friends with Cornwell) … but somehow the stream “feels” a bit unsteady because I kind of lost track of Scarpetta. She first appeared in Postmortem in 1986, almost 25 years ago and Port Mortuary introduced last year is book #18. That certainly fits the profile of our First Five Favorites, doesn’t it?
Actually, the facts don’t really bear out my instinct, since there have been Kay Scarpetta books written in each of the last 4 years, and in 8 of the last 10. I think I got off track as a result of an understandable quest that besets many of the great novelists in this genre … they want to explore new characters. With Win Garano and Andy Brazil copping 5 books in the last decade or so, I got distracted somehow and fell off the Scarpetta bandwagon. I may have to reconsider … but who to replace in the Top Ten Favorites, though … hmmm … we could use another woman on the list … hmmm.
BTW, we’ll explore this phenomenon about multiple characters in future posts … because Cornwell is hardly the only one … consider
- Shaw and Oliver Stone from David Baldacci,
- Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch from Michael Connelly
- Virgil Flowers, Kidd and Lucas Davenport by John Sandford, and
- Billy Bob Holland and Dave Robicheaux from James Lee Burke … to name a few.
Historical Footnote …
Since our last time together, I saw the The Inside Story on the making of Silence of the Lambs. It was coincidental with the Thriller Roundtable discussing Who is the best antagonist of all time (other than Hannibal Lecter)? Most of the suggestions that aren’t Hannibal the Cannibal seem timid by comparison … although Blofeld (James Bond antagonist), the Jackal and Dexter got a few votes. Unfortunately, the comments were closed by the time I got there … as I would have mentioned The Poet from the eponymous book by Michael Connelly.
Got any favorites you’d like to mention?
[Trivia note: Silence of the Lambs is only 1 of 3 movies ever to sweep all of the top 5 Academy Awards … Best Picture, Director, Writer, Actor & Actress. The other you’d know is Jack Nicholson’s masterpiece, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Have any idea about the 3rd one?]
Don’t fret. If I don’t get to it soon, I’ll pull this item off the post since I’m getting tired of saying the same ol’ thing on this subject … but Shelfari continues to be on hold for the moment along with Goodreads, Collectorz & LibraryThing … do you have any experience with any of these … or have other suggestions?
Now Reading …
I’ve just finished … stayed up past 1:00 a.m. last night … Cody McFadyen‘s 4th book in the Smoky Barrett series, Abandoned. A great character who definitely belongs in the Top Ten Favorites, with quite a band of brothers and sisters in her camp. Another chilling story, too. More next time ….
Just arrived …. and arriving
- Finally after 10 years, Dead or Alive appears, the #13 novel from Tom Clancy featuring Jack Ryan.
- Glass Rainbow featuring Dave Robicheaux, former New Orleans detective by James Lee Burke.
- Dead Zero, the 17th book in the Bob Lee Swagger series from Stephen Hunter.
- Brad Meltzer, The Inner Circle … coming this month.
- Jack Higgins with our favorite Sean Dillon character in his 19th book … Judas Gate.
- Three Stations with Arkady Renko, the Moscow detective from Martin Cruz Smith.
So, new books from 3 of our First Five on the horizon … what could be better than that?
So much more to say … so little time …. What are you reading? Who do you like?