FRiction FRiday | Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre | James Lee Burke Rules!

As promised, we completed the First Five of the Top Ten Favorite Characters recently … the Second Five Favorites thereafter … and last week began the Honorable Mention category, which is a potpourri of great characters that, for all kinds of reasons, didn’t make the Top Ten Favorite Characters. More on that next week ….

[All names in Bold Italic … BLACK for authors, titles in GREEN, characters in ORANGE … except URL references in RED. No affiliate links.]

James Lee Burke Rules!

It’s agonizing to be a fan of James Lee Burke. More so if you’re a fan of the Dave Robicheaux series (Top Ten Favorite Character) which also features his cohort, Clete Purcell. Since July, 2010, I’ve been savoring The Glass Rainbow, #18 in this series.

It’s so rich and intricate, his writings vivid and evocative … so while I’m savoring every moment, I also wish it was still parked on a shelf  with anticipation dripping from it like candle wax. It may be one of his greatest yet in terms of developing the relationship between Dave and Clete. I don’t remember another book in this series where their actions were so closely interwoven and their intricately connected lives explored in such detail. I’ll finish it this weekend … don’t really want to because I hate for it to end … and don’t know when the next one’s coming?

Cody McFadyen, Abandoned featuring Smoky Barrett

As I mentioned last time, I just finished Cody’s latest book about Smoky Barrett (Top Ten Favorite Character). She’s an FBI agent who heads up the L.A. branch of the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. She’s tough and committed, and has assembled a crack team that love each other as much as they despise the depraved criminals they’re hunting. Cody is gifted at crafting these lurking serial characters, not in a formulaic way, but with a fresh and frightening perspective. Here’s what Cody had to say in an Amazon review about the chilling bad guys at the center of his novels:

[pullquote]”I build my books around the bad guy.” ~Cody McFadyen[/pullquote]

“I build my books around the bad guy. I have from the first. I remember making a conscious decision to build my bad guys a little bit outside the box–the box being the firm reality we all know and agree to be.


Because it’s a lot more fun to write about serial killers that way.

Think about it. Hannibal Lecter is a lot more interesting than Son of Sam. Hannibal is brilliant, complex, unclassifiable. He kills with finesse and precision. Son of Sam was an unhinged lunatic, blowing people away at random. As a character, Hannibal is much more interesting to write about (and read). Because true serial killers aren’t super villains. They’re disturbed, sordid individuals, driven by hungers and needs that usually destroy them from the inside out. A lot of the time, they’re socially inept, and not very smart. Their depravity is most often senseless. Writing about what they do would be like writing about a great white shark: it eats because it is hungry and it has such big sharp teeth… you can’t sustain an entire novel on pure savagery. So I like for my bad guys to have a reason for what they do, some guiding purpose. Otherwise, all I’m doing is asking you to pull up a chair and watch the feast–and while something in our reptile brains might enjoy seeing a little bit of the feast, we shy away from the full truth of it.”

Now Reading …

As I said, I’m finishing The Glass Rainbow this weekend. I think I’ll save Dead Zero and Judas Gate (both Top Ten Favorite Characters) for later … so maybe I’ll tackle Tom Clancy’s book listed below. What the hell has Jack Ryan been doing for the last 10 years, anyway? Or, maybe tackle Ken Follett’s latest WWI novel, Fall of Giants?

Just arrived …. and arriving

  • Finally after 10 years, Dead or Alive appears, the #13 novel from Tom Clancy featuring Jack Ryan.
  • Fall of Giants, the latest and 1st in a WWI trilogy from Ken Follett
  • Dead Zero, the 17th book in the Bob Lee Swagger series from Stephen Hunter.
  • Brad MeltzerThe 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 much more to say … so little time …. What are you reading? Who do you like?

See ya next week!

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