We’re halfway home to discovering my Top Ten Favorite Characters in the mystery-thriller-suspense genre and there are many great ones remaining. You’ll remember from our discussion of the First Five of the Top Ten Favorite Characters last week that the nice thing about the word “favorite” is that it’s very personal. They’re MY favorites … but it will be a good thing if you disagree because we’ll all learn about 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.]
Top Ten Favorite Characters
Here’s a few things to remember from the introductory post on this subject. First, the Top Ten are in random order, although as I’ve said, those toward the top are probably more favorite than others. We’ve also learned from a discussion of the First Five of these characters, that longevity is a critical success factor for favorite characters.
BTW, I’ve started an Honorable Mention category … and another list, Missing in Action … to capture some that didn’t make the Top Ten. We’ll get to those down the road.
Who are the Second Five?
So, accumulated over many years, here are the Second Five of my favorite Top Ten in this wonderful mystery-thriller-suspense genre. I’ll continue to elaborate about these authors and characters in forthcoming posts ….
I hope you’ll discover some great characters and fabulous novelists from this list. If they’re not new to you, you should already know why they’re here. (You’ll see in parentheses how many books appear in the series; and then the name and date of the first book in the series.)
- John Corey, NY detective/FBI from Nelson DeMille. (#5; Plum Island #1 in 1997)
- Sean Dillon, former IRA enforcer, from Jack Higgins. (#18; Eye of the Storm #1 in 1992)
- Oliver Stone, retired CIA, David Baldacci. (#5; The Camel Club #1 in 2005)
- Cam Richter, retired Sheriff from P.T. Deutermann. (#4; The Cat Dancers #1 in 2005)
- Smoky Barrett, FBI agent from Cody McFadyen. (#4; Shadow Man #1 in 2006)
Let’s see … that’s about 23 novels from DeMille, 18 from Higgins in this series alone, about 20 from Baldacci, 13 from Deutermann all in, 4 from Cody … that’s about 80 or so … so there’s at least 160+ books from the authors of the Top Ten Characters. That should keep you off the streets for awhile ….
What’s different about these Second Five?
You’ve probably noted a few different characteristics here compared to our First Five? For one thing, a different mix of professions with retired government operatives, IRA enforcers and a retired Sheriff in the mix. Most of them are also fairly new characters compared to the average of 20 years in the First Five.
Only Sean Dillon is long in the tooth, appearing in book #18 after 18 years. He’s a great character who takes no prisoners, and the reformed IRA enforcer is now working for the British government. I think he’s gone a little soft lately as Higgins keeps him lurking in the background, where his presence is palpable for his long-time fans, but he isn’t kickin’ as much butt as in the past.
The other characters are relatively new, two of them with 4 books, two of them with 5. But don’t think these authors are rookies, since all but one of them have been at it a long time. (BTW, Like Allan Folsom’s The Day After Tomorrow, Nelson DeMille also has a pre-Corey book remembered by many, The Charm School (1988). You’ll thank me as soon as you’ve read it … but DeMille’s first book was in 1974 with The Sniper, so he’s been at it a long time.
BTW, John Corey is very un-PC and probably the funniest guy on the list.
Only one woman on the list?
One other thing … Smoky Barrettis the only one woman on the Top Ten list. Cody McFadyen is the latest newcomer to the list, starting in 2006, but he’s created an indelible character in Smoky Barrett, whose early FBI life was irrevocably altered in her pursuit of a serial killer. Start at the beginning with Shadow Man and let me know what you think of this excellent series.
What about Lisbeth Salander and Kay Scarpetta, to name a few other female protagonists, you ask? Tune in during the next few weeks and we’ll see ….
Shelfari continues to be on hold for the moment but I intend to sort it out soon. Need to get a little deeper there and will report back soon. So far, we’ve got Goodreads, Collectorz & LibraryThing to consider … do you have any other ideas?
Done … and now Reading …
I’ve been savoring Cody McFadyen’s 4th book in the Smoky Barrett series, Abandoned, so I think I’ll tackle that starting … today.
I just finished Alan Folsom’slatest, The Hadrian Memorandum. Good read, pretty intricate story starring some incriminating pictures that a lot of folks need to get their hands on to save their a** … and it’s quite a prolonged battle to chase them all over Europe. Make sure you read Folsom’s earlier works, too, starting with The Day After Tomorrow.
Just arrived …. and arriving
- Finally after 10 years, Dead or Alive appears, the #13 novel from Tom Clancy featuring Jack Ryan.
- Dead Zero, the 17th book in the Bob Lee Swagger series from Stephen Hunter
- Brad Meltzer, The Inner Circle … coming in January
- Jack Higgins with our favorite Sean Dillon character in his 19th book … Judas Gate coming in January
So, new books from 2 of our First Five on the horizon … 3 in the Top Ten if you include Abandoned.
BTW, it’s particularly noteworthy that Tom Clancy’s character, retired President Jack Ryan, finally re-appears after 10 years. Where in the heck have you been, Jack? You may be next on the list but then there’s Fall of Giants by Ken Follett … and then all this other good stuff … when am I’m going to get any work done?
So much more to say … so little time …. What are you reading? Who do you like?