Saturday, December 10, 2005

Favorite Fiction Characters

I was compiling this list and it made me laugh, because most of the characters on it are named Jack.

For instance, I love Jack Flynn, Brian McGrory's political reporter-protagonist in The Incumbent, The Nominee and Deadline. Check McGrory's website at for more details. You can also link to it on the right.

I also love J.A. Konrath's Jack Daniels. No, not Jack Daniel's, the Tennessee Whiskey (though I love that, too). Konrath's Jack Daniels is a woman, Lt. Jacqueline Daniels of the Chicago Police Department. One of the best new characters out there. An insomniac detective. Konrath has an amazing website, particularly helpful to new readers. I've linked to it, but you can also click here:

Jeremiah Healy has not a Jack, but its precursor, John. Healy's John Francis Cuddy is a terrific fictional private investigator. Healy writes the best Private Eye books on the planet. I've also linked to him on the right, but you can click

Healy's John Francis Cuddy is a real treat if you think you've seen everything. If you've read the Cuddy series but it's been a while, go back and read a few titles again. You'll be amazed at Healy's prose, and at the complexity of his most famous character.

My favorite Jack in current fiction is Lee Child's incomparable Jack Reacher. There's not much I need to add. Go to for more information. Reacher is a serious, serious badass... I dare you to read just one of Child's books.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention perhaps the best character in the thriller genre, by the amazing David Morrell: John Rambo. I don't mean the guy Stallone played. Well, I do mean that guy, but the guy in Morrell's book, not the guy in the movie. They're very different, and as usual, the book is better.

Deviating a little from popular and current fiction, we'll round out today's post with my two most favorite characters in all of literature.

Number 2 on the list is not Jack or John, but Atticus. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird might be the best lawyer ever created. He's certainly one of the most compassionate protagonists we'll ever see. Harper Lee created an absolute masterpiece of a book, with stunning characters in Scout, Jem, and Boo Radley, but Atticus is the noblest of all. There's a reason why Mockingbird still outsells every book in this country except the Bible.

Last on the list, my favorite, from my favorite book, back to Jack: Jack Burden from All the King's Men. As flawed a main character as any author has ever created. This guy is seriously tormented. If it's been a while since you've read a classic, if you like politics, or if you enjoy reading about the seedy underside of human nature, grab Robert Penn Warren's classic, considered by many to be the greatest American novel.

Feel free to add your own favorites in the comment section.


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