Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Favorite Fictional Character is..... LBC

This weeks topic was my suggestion - part of a string of our favorite things that tell  a bit about each of us that choose to write on the topics.

When I suggested the topic  I knew I could not give a single answer that would be totally honest. I have always been a voracious reader. This year alone I have read over 90 books. I freely admit most of my reading is recreational and mystery fiction.  Considering my age - 67 - I have read through multiple generations of fictional characters, beginning with Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes, Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade to Spenser, the Nameless Detective, Kinsey Milhone, Lucas Davenport, Milan Jacovich  and many more.

With such a breadth  of characters to choose from I have chosen three - Spenser (Robert B Parker), Travis McGee (John D MacDonald) and Kate Shugak (Dana Stabenow).

Spenser appeared in 1973's Godwulf Manuscript and is currently being authored by Ace Atkins since Parker's death in  2010. Spenser is a former cop, extraordinarily literate, cultured hen it suits him and as you would expect  tough as nails. As originally written, Spenser  was at one time heavyweight boxer who once fought Jersey Joe Walcott - which gives a clue to his age. He is a seriously smart-mouthed guy with a committed relationship with his girl - Susan Silverman - and a best friend -Hawk- who defines the bad in bad-ass. His home base is Boston but there are stories based elsewhere.  Learn more about the character here  Spenser

Kate Shugak is a modern-era heroine based in Alaska. Dana Stabenow is a superior writer who has created a delightful series that captures the modern era - warts and  all - as viewed through Kate's eyes. I cannot recommend this 20 title (so far) series enough.  Kate is an Aleut and lives on a homestead in  a fictional park in Alaska. She has an assortment of family and friends - including her current boyfriend, Alaska State Trooper Chopper Jim Chopin and her adopted son (of her deceased former boyfriend) as well as an various Aunties. Kate's stories play out throughout Alaska and offer a look at the history and culture of the state.

Check out Kate and Dana here Kate Shugak.

Were  someone to hold a gun to my head and force me to choose one of the three characters to be my  favorite it would be Travis McGee, the Florida based creation of John D MacDonald. McGee resides at Slip F18, Bahia Mar Florida on a houseboat  - The Busted Flush - that he won in a poker game. McGee is a salvage consultant - he recovers things for people for a flat 50% of the value fee. McGee is the last resort for recovery so the fee is rarely an issue. The series hit the streets in  1964 with the Deep Blue Goodbye and ended with 1985's The Lonely Silver Rain.

McGee's philosophy of life was decidedly anti-group. His best friend and occasional partner in arms is a world renowned  economist named Meyer - who has the physique  and pelt of a bear and lives on a cabin cruiser called the John Meynard Keynes. Travis has attitudes about sex that are definitely a part of the times in which his stories were written but he does learn and grow with the times. He fights corruption, lies and deceit wherever he goes. His vehicle of choice is his customized 1936 Rolls Royce pickup painted a horrid blue by a previous owner that he calls Miss Agnes.

I think it is time to go read a bit. Be sure to see what Ramana 
and Pravin have to say on their blogs.


  1. How disappointing, Shackman (insert smiley): Unlike Ramana you haven't given me a handle to chew on other than acknowledge your choice - none of the characters known to me; though do note, with interest, your reasons for liking them.


  2. Following your lead a long time ago, I read one book of Travis McGee and somehow lost track as I shifted to nonfiction big time. I am back to fiction now mixed now and then with nonfiction, and TM is very much on my list of novels to read. Thanks for the reminder. I have never heard of the other two, but will give Spenser a whirl too. I somehow cannot relate to Shugak!

  3. the marine reads mostly non fiction. but when he reads for escape... he could have written this post himself! even mostly in your words! I've heard him mention travis McGee on occasion and most of the others.