After repeated (and increasingly severe) purges of my library, I’m down to a couple of medium-size bookcases. A few hundred books at most. To keep a spot a book has to be one I can read over and over. Mostly crime fiction with a recurring character(s). In no particular order:
- Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly)
- Lucas Davenport (John Sandford)
- John Corey (Nelson DeMille)
- Matt Scudder (Lawrence Block)
- Travis McGee (John D. MacDonald)
That would be my starting bench but there’s some good folks on the bench:
- “Mac” McCorkle and Michael Paillo (Ross Thomas)
- Artie Wu and Quincy Durant (Ross Thomas)
- Spenser & Hawk (Robert B. Parker)
- Almost any protagonist in an Elmore Leonard novel
Footnote: I do NOT count any novel published after the author’s death (written by someone else). Don’t read them, don’t count them. Sacrilege.
Reflecting on the characters above, I’m reminded that I like a ruthless streak in my protagonists. In one of the Matthew Scudder novels, some guy jumped Scudder in an ally with the intention of killing him. While the bad guy was unconscious, Matt positioned his leg on a curb and fucked up his knee so the guy would never walk right again. Almost too painful to read.