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My Fictional Friends

Monday, 3 June 2013

Like having coffee with a good friend, there is something so comforting about coming back to the same fictional characters. Generally in the domain of the crime genre, once novelists create a memorable character, they tend to return to them. Why mess with a good thing? I eagerly await each new release, ready to visit with my good friends. Here are a few of my favourites:

Flavia De Luce: a character by Alan Bradley

Oh to be as clever as Flavia!  Flavia is a precious 12-year-old living in a small English village in 1950.  Flavia’s passion is poisons and her predilection is solving crimes. Always poking her nose where it doesn’t belong, she continually one-ups the local constabulary, solving murders with panache.

Now five books in, I love how author Alan Bradley rounds out this character.  While clearly a genius, Flavia is still a child, and a somewhat neglected one at that.  With her bicycle Gladys as her best friend, I ache for Flavia when it becomes clear that “brilliant” can be a lonely mantle to wear.  Still, she’s the type of kid I wish I had been.


Book 1 

Book 2 

Book 3 

Book 4

Book 5

 

Harry Bosch: a character by Michael Connelly

First introduced in 1992 and now 17 books in, this police procedural stars my good friend Harry Bosch.  He’s an LA homicide detective and, true to the genre, he’s tough, smart, sometimes lonely, and often his own worst enemy. 

Bosch lives in a house in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the city, where he spends time with his daughter, swills beer, and mulls over the latest unsolved murders in the City of Angels.

Connelly is also the author of the Mickey Haller series of The Lincoln Lawyer fame (and Haller is actually Bosch’s half brother) and they make appearances in each other’s books.  Bosch is so in the zeitgeist that he has even appeared in books by other authors. 

(And here’s an added twist – Bosch received a tidy sum after his character was featured in a TV mini series. But I’m still waiting for him to come to life my own TV screen. )


Book 1

Book 4

Book 10

Book 13

Book 17

 

Izzy Spellman: a character by Lisa Lutz

Izzy is a P.I. from a family of somewhat dysfunctional PIs. They all think nothing of spying on each other and interfering in each other’s business. All in the name of familial love, of course.  And you thought your mother was meddlesome!

Unlike the other characters and books on this list, The Spellman series has a good dose of comedy, making Izzy the perfect summer reading companion. 


Book 1

Book 2 

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

 

Jack Reacher: a character by Lee Child

You probably know that Tom Cruise recently starred in the first Reacher film. As any Lee Child fan will tell you, that casting was way wrong.

Reacher is 6 foot 4, an ex-military cop roaming the US, with just a toothbrush and a bankcard in his back pocket. Women love him, rogues fear him and he answers to no one.  If he sounds a bit far fetched, it’s because he is essentially a modern day super-hero, his only weapons his mind and his might.  If I’m ever in a bind, I’d definitely want Reacher to come save me.


Book 1

Book 2

Book 7

Book 10

Book 17

 

Patrick Hedstrom and Erica Falck: characters by Camilla Lackberg

After the success of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in North America, Swedish crime-writers are a hot commodity.  Lackberg’s crime series is set in the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka, where Hedstrom works as a police detective and his wife Erica is a true crime novelist. 

During the course of the series, we watch their relationship evolve, from meeting, to marriage, to having a child, to juggling the chaos of home life with the demands of police work.  Lackberg also creates a rich supporting cast of family members and work colleagues.  Hedstrom and Falck are the most likeable though, as proper protagonists should be.  They’re definitely a couple I’d have over for dinner.

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

And the list goes on and on: Adam Dalgliesh, Kurt Wallander, Hercule Poirot, Kinsey Millhone, and Inspector Rebus…to name a few more.

Who are your favourite returning literary characters?

 

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  • Sue

    Given all of your favourite novels above are in the crime/mystery genre, did you ever think of becoming a detective or private investigator or even a novelist?

  • Kristina Matisic

    Hi Sue, to clarify, these aren’t my favourite novels, just some of my favourite returning characters, who happen to be in crime novels. One of these days I’m going to write a list of my top 10 books of all time. But to answer your question, YES!!! I have had fantasies about being a detective… or, even better, to play one on TV. That would be a dream come true. As for a novelist, it’s on my list. I’ve written some stories and 80 pages of a TERRIBLE detective story that I’ve buried in my back yard. One day…

  • Christine Leigh

    You should meet Aimee Leduc by Cara Black. The best part about these books is that they are set in my favourite city, Paris! Also good is the Massie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Set in England in the 1930’s. I always enjoy catching up with these characters when a new book comes out.

  • Kristina Matisic

    I LOVE Paris. I will put that on my list. Locale definitely plays a big role, doesn’t it? That’s why I love Flavia, causing havoc in a small English village.

  • Melanie Escaravage

    Charley Davidson from Darynda Jones is my favourite character at the moment. You should definitely check her out

  • T laker

    What did you think of the cliff hanger in the newest Flavia? Not many books surprise me. I love British police procedural pairs so some favourites are: Elizabeth George’s Lynley and Haver, Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe, Ruth Rendell’s Wexford and Burden, and recently Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid and James.

  • Kristina Matisic

    T laker, that was a good one!! I didn’t see that coming, I thought dad had maybe stumbled on some cash or something. Very curious to meet her.

  • Dee Downing

    I LOVE Flavia!