Last month I posed the following questions about characters in a series:

Who is your favourite book character?
What book character are you most invested in?
Who is your favourite supporting character?
What character would you like to meet for real?
What character did you love to hate?

I also wrote a bit about politics in books and a turnoff that was. Received a lot of feedback about that and that is also in this months mailbag:

Pam: Who is your favourite book character? Harry Bosch – I feel as if I know him by now after having read 14 of the series.
What book character are you most invested in? Kinsey Millhone – I was so looking forward to Grafton’s Z book in the series but sadly, she died before she could complete it.
Who is your favourite supporting character? Not sure I have one, but I do like Lula in the Stephanie Plum series by Evanovich. That being said, I think Evanovich has milked these characters for all their worth and is long overdue to wrap up the series.
What character would you like to meet for real? Harry Bosch
What character did you love to hate? Stumped by this question!

Ayesha: Favourite character: Alexia Tarabotti from The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
Character most invested in: Elric of Melnibone – Michael Moorcock’s albino antihero (The Revenge of the Rose series and numerous other books and stories)
Favourite support character: Edna, the sculptress friend of Rowlie in The Rowland Sinclair Mysteries series by Sulari Gentill
Character I’d like to meet: Captain Nemo (from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne)
Love to hate: Severus Snape from the Harry Potter books (he was partly redeemed but he was still vile!)

Chris: Hi Graeme. These questions concerning how I feel about different book characters really got me thinking. My favorite book character is Claire Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. An herbalist and healer, Claire does many things well but is also human enough for me to relate to her. The book character I’m most invested in is Anne Shirley of the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. I first heard of her when I was young and started reading the series, finding the books to be a wonderful escape from real life. My favorite supporting character is Ruby Wilcox of the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert. Ruby is the perfect friend and is always open to things, even if they’re kind of out there! I would love to meet the Hercule Poirot character in the Agatha Christie mysteries. He’s so wise and funny and I think it would be fun to be around someone like that. Too bad he’s a fictional character–we could use someone with his investigative abilities. Lastly, the character I love to hate is Jack Randle of the Outlander series. His nickname is ‘Black Jack’ and it’s perfect fit as his soul is black. He does terrible things to people and he seems to revel in it, which makes it even worse.

Loretta: I read Greg Iles Cemetery Road. Loved it! I could not put down. However, this book is not for the faint of heart. This book has it all, and on top of that includes dealing with powerful scheming politicians during an economic depression in a small southern town. Yes, that is what is happening in a lot of small towns throughout the country today! This definitely is a very dark (southern type) thriller with flawed and tormented characters. There are many twists, turns, heartbreak, grief and surprisingly integrity. I did not feel that the author had a political agenda – it’s just how it is. Recommend HIGHLY. I think we are living in a very critical era today where nothing seems to be right.

I am reading Thank You For Being Late (N-F) by Thomas L. Friedman and recommend. However, it is technical, has a wealth of information – so I could only read so much at a time. It is very interesting to me, and of course, it is dealing with today’s problems – technology – globalization and climate change that are accelerating faster than we can adapt.

As of this point, I have not read Mark Greaney’s novels but am going to start with the Gray Man. I took the suggestion on Nick Petri which has become one of my favorites.

My favorite Book Character:

Without a doubt it has to be Jack Reacher. Like so many readers, I love seeing the bad guy get caught and pay for his wrong doings. Makes me feel good.

My second choice would be Mitch Rapp.

Favorite supporting character/s:

In the PL Gaus Amish-Country mysteries that features Professor Michael Branden. I enjoy immensely his supporting characters – Sheriff Bruce Robertson, Pastor Caleb Troy and the professor’s wife, Caroline.

Character I would like to meet:

Sheriff Walt Longmire and his buddy, Henry (Standing Bear)

Character I Love To Hate:

Christian in The Silent Patient

Elizabeth: One of my favorite characters is Andy Carpenter in the mystery series by David Rosenfelt. I love his wry sense of humor as well as his devotion to dog rescue.

Sam: Who is your favourite book character?
My favorite character of all time may surprise some, but it’s Holden Caufield from A Catcher in the Rye. Sorry, guys. I read that book in high school and although I generally detested most of the school reading assignments, that one was different. This guy was more real to me that many people I meet in real life and the author, JD Salinger, just did a fantastic job with that book and identifying with teenagers.

What book character are you most invested in?
If you mean read the most novels featuring this character or spent the most time reading about them, I’d have to count. But I think it’s a neck-and-neck race between Mitch Rapp and Gabriel Allon.

Who is your favourite supporting character?
Without a doubt, hands down, Joe Kowalski from the Sigma Force series by James Rollins. I absolutely love this guy. So much so, in fact, a couple of years ago my father was getting rid of stuff and asked me if I wanted an old duster (jacket) he had. I jumped on the opportunity and said “absolutely” as it’s just like the one Kowalski wears all the time. Note – I live in Florida, already have about five jackets and probably actually wear a jacket less than 30 times per year.

What character would you like to meet for real?
Hard to answer this one, but I think I’ll go with Detective John Corey from the Nelson DeMille books. His whole outlook and attitude about life really cracks me up and he just seems like he’d be a fun guy to hang out with. He’s also not so intense to the point where he becomes a bit surreal (like Mitch Rapp or Jack Reacher). You read the books and think “hey, this is a real person”. Don’t get me wrong, Mitch and Jack are total bad a#@%es, but..yeah.

What character did you love to hate?
Without a doubt, Soltan Gris from the Mission Earth series. This guy is a prime rate a-hole and crazier than crazy.

Kenicia: Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia–She has so much faith and integrity, and what adventures!
Demelza Poldark–Will Ross ever realize what a gem of a wife he has?!?
Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird–such a beautiful soul
Edmond Dantes/aka the Count of Monte Cristo–I would love to know about the missing years after he escaped from Chateau d’If before arriving in Rome, and also about his life with Haydee.
George Warleggan–He harbored so much jealousy and looked for ways to be cruel. Also, he never seemed to get a real come-uppance.

RVP: Who is your favourite book character?
My favorite book character is FBI agent Lucy Kincaid from the series by Allison Brennan. Lucy has a wonderful family I would love to be a part of, a traumatic past, the strength to keep going and build her life back, compassion for others, so much courage, brilliance, and a supportive, loving husband. You can’t help but admire her and root for her in every book.

What book character are you most invested in?
The book character I am most invested in is Rose Gardner from the series by Denise Grover Swank. Having followed Rose from the beginning when she was sheltered, naive, scared and alone, it’s been an emotional ride to see her grow into a courageous and strong woman with friends and family. It’s easy to feel protective of Rose though she would be the first to tell you that she can protect herself.

Who is your favourite supporting character?
My favorite supporting character is Lula from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Lula is sassy, smart and hysterically funny. She and I share an appetite as well. The scenes with Lula are always my favorite.

What character would you like to meet for real?
Again, that would be Lucy Kincaid from the series by Allison Brennan. She’s just my favorite character and I think we would get along well.

What character did you love to hate?
The character I would choose is Detective Lena Adams from the Grant County series by Karin Slaughter. I know Lena was troubled and I was often conflicted with ambivalent feelings of dislike and sympathy but she just caused so much trouble and was so nasty, it was hard to like her.

Regina: Hey,
In response to your character questions:

Most invested in: it’s a toss up between Ender and Bean from Orson Scott Card’s universe beginning with Ender’s Game. They are both very sympathy inducing and endearing. Probably because they start out as children and both are manipulated by government systems, but they’re both so smart that they know it from a very young age and in the end they do their duty, but on their own terms.

Favorite supporting char: has to be Samwise Gamgee (sp ?) from Lord of the Rings trilogy. Everyone needs a best friend like Sam! He’s loyal, honest, and gives sacrificially.

Character I’d most like to meet: Aslan from the Narnia series. Apart from being the allegorical Christ, who wouldn’t want to cuddle and ride on the back of a fierce but loving lion!

Love to hate: this is a hard one, I don’t ordinarily like “villains” at all. But I suppose it would have to be Aro from the Twilight series. He is the head vampire of the Voltury “clan”. He is really slick. You know he’s pure evil, but he’s so good at coming off as understanding, reasonable, and misunderstood. But you know he just wants to drink your blood!

Favorite character: this one’s the hardest! I will say the dual character of Melanie and Wanderer (Wanda) in The Host by Stephanie Meyers. This is one of my all time favorite books! If you like sci-fi and love stories it’s a must read. Mel/Wanda are two beings vying for the same body. Mel is the host human and Wanda is the invading alien. They both learn to understand and appreciate each other. And there is a happy ending!

Thanks Graem, that was fun!

Charlye: favourite character?
John Milton from series by Mark Dawson

character most invested in?
Court Gentry (The Grey Man) from series by Mark Greaney

supporting character?
Joe Pike from series by Robert Crais

Like to meet for real?
MacKenzie August from series by Alan Lee

Love to hate?
The sniper from Taylor Adam’s “Eye shot”

Bill: Top 10 authors in puzzle:
1. Tom Clancy
2. Michael Connelly
3. Daniel Silva
4. David Baldacci
5. C.J. Box
6. James Patterson
7. Stuart Woods – My favorite
8. Vince Flynn
9. John Sandford
10. Louise Penny

I always look forward to your newsletter and rate and review books on As always, thanks Graeme for the work each month.

I have a hard time naming my favorite character because I have so many: Spenser, Harry Bosch, Elvis Cole, Stone Barrington, Mitch Rapp, Jack Reacher, Virgil Flowers, and Lucas Davenport; so I will have to go with Dave Robicheaux, because James Lee Burke is such a great author and really brings out his characters and locations.

Invested in: Gabriel Allon and Arkady Renko

Supporting character: Again a number of them like Joe Pike, Hawk, and Cletus Purcel, but I would have to go with Dino Bachetti.

Character I would like to meet: Again many like Harry Bosch, Stone Barrington, Lucas Davenport, Jack Reacher, Scot Harvath, Mitch Rapp, and Jason Bourne; but I think I would want to meet Elvis Cole, especially at his home.

Character hated: There have been a few who stayed around in a couple of series. Bad politicians always irritate. “Term Limits” was a very important book to me.

MJ: Favorite book character:

Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James,
Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire


Linda Barnes’ Carlotta Carlyle
Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone
Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan
Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum
Elizabeth George’s Barbara Havers
Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta
Michael Connelly’s Renee Ballard

📚 Character interested in the most:

Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James and Linda Barnes’ Carlotta Carlyle

📚 Favorite supporting character:

Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid

📚 Character I’d like to meet:

Gemma James

📚 Character I love to hate:

Characters who have many connected people to rely on, endless financial resources, superhuman fighting skills and technical skills, and able to solve any mystery based on practically non-existent or convoluted evidence. 😊 {Lookin’ at you Win, Gabriel, and Reacher – more of my favorites.} But it makes for an exciting read. The funnest are when a series’ character suddenly has a skill or friend that was never mentioned before or since, but was integral to solving that book’s mystery. [Now she can speak Latin via Morse Code while using nunchaku skills on a burglar after going on a morning run before dropping her daughter off at school and preparing for her working date with the most successful and handsomest cop on the force where they hop on a helicopter at a moment’s notice as consultants to solve the world’s problems at the United Nations. She’s home in time to pick her kid up from school, solves all her daughter’s problems on the drive home, cooks a scrumptious dinner in her restaurant-quality kitchen, has a little bit of time for Krav Maga practice and to read a book on ancient civilizations, but — the phone rings — time to jet off to Belize…
Soon to be a made-for-tv movie.]
I might watch the movie, but I’d definitely read that book.

Thank you, Graeme, for an enjoyable newsletter and website!
The polls, quizzes, and puzzles are fun.

Thomas: Good afternoon. For modern characters, I think being Joe Pickett (by C J Box) would be exciting. Hanging around Wyoming would be spectacular. Wrecking company vehicles would be fun also. Being married to Marybeth would be…well, ah, you know. Having a Nate Romanowski to watch your back would be a great relief. Work would never be so much fun as this. Since I’m partial to Westerns, I would like to meet Arizona Territory Ranger, Sam Burrack from the ranger series written by Ralph Cotton. I have read all of the books in this series (about 37) and this takes place in the late 1800’s. He always manages to outwit the bad guys and live completely by the code of the west. No exceptions. Guess I would have to be a time traveler for this to happen. I just love the rusticity of the American west, back then and now. I have also read all of Robert Parker’s westerns featuring the “wordy” Virgil Cole and his sidekick Everett Hitch, who is a great supporting player. Being Virgil Cole would be fantastic, especially from the point of taking no crap from anyone. Here’s my list of the 10 authors and I hope I can recover my eyesight and the words I read going forward will be less scrambled…thanks. Take care, Tom.

Debrorah: Graeme – I so wholeheartedly agree with you about authors writing about a certain situation or inserting a character just to bang on about their own personal agenda. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve given up on for that very reason. I read to get away from the noise, not to hear more of it!

Rich: I agree 100% with your views on politics in books. It is extremely off-putting and detracts from the story line. I start the book being ready to engage with the plot, only to get turned off and stop reading.

Unfortunately, some of my favorite TV shows are also starting to get “preachy,” and most of them are what I call “left-leaning” viewpoints. I’ve stopped watching them too as the politics seem to take over the plots.

Marty: Politics! I agree with you. The Stone Barrington books by Stuart Woods, Especially! Now the latest John Lescroart delves into politics. Who needs it?

Charlieo: I really enjoy this newsletter, your recommendations have led me to several new authors.
I am always sad when an author, a TV or Movie personality inject their political opinions to their books, interviews and speeches (in reference to this months newsletter). I am unhappy that folks actually pay attention to them. Mostly, I hate to believe that any intelligent person could be swayed to some “personalities” opinion on anything. We need to start early and teach our children to listen to/read many opinions and then form their own educated opinion. And, remember, when reading a book, fiction or non-fiction, your reading “some” persons, a person you usually don’t know, opinion – – doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong.

Linda: Thank you for the April newsletter. Once again, I got some good picks to read. I had a good month again in March. Was hooked on KL Slater and read 3 in a row, all excellent and twisty: “Liar”, “Blink”, and “Safe with Me”. I love the way she writes with all of the twists so you don’t always see the end coming. Also, read the old Fiona Barton “The Child” and found it very good. Then I tried a new author for me: Emily Bleeker and her “Waiting Room”. Another one of those twisty ones. I think I am caught up in twisty thrillers right now, so much that they are interrupting my sleep-Not Good. Answers to your questions: My favorite character is Mitch Rapp . I have two characters who I cannot get enough of : Mitch Rapp and Inspector Gamach of the Three Pines novels by Penny. My best supporting character is either Rizzoli or Isles of the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. They are both the main and the supporting in each book depending on the book. Love them together. I would love to meet Inspector Gamache for real so I could experience the magic of Three Pines, Canada. There are two characters in The Outlander series that I hate: Black Jack Randall (every scene he is in makes me want to strangle the book) and same series Stephen Bonnet. I also watch the tv version of The Outlander and shout when one of these despicable characters enters the screen. Looking forward to the month of April and new and old books to read. I have found that some of the older books that I missed are just as good as the new bestsellers. Reading is an adventure and like a vacation for your mind. I love it.

Colleen: I really appreciate your take on political attitudes being inserted into books. I feel the same way about television shows. It’s not necessary and it takes away from the storyline for me-almost makes me want to stay away from that completely.

Evelyn: Thank you for you comments regarding political agendas in books we read for pleasure. I too read to escape from the “real world.” I was so put off by Mr Iles Cemetery Road I nearly put it down. I plowed on however and enjoyed the book very much. However I felt at times as if I was reading the trilogy again. It seemed that familiar themes echoed as I read.
My companion is now reading it and I keep encouraging him to stay the course as he so disagrees with the political views. I am not sure he will keep taking my advice.
Believe me the political commentary in the early going of this tome add absolutely nothing to the story line no matter what your own politics are. Thanks for letting me vent.

Linda: Books that give a feel for Location: Shelby Foote’s Civil War series. I swear I could smell the dust being kicked up from the roads as the soldiers marched. This author was excellent at setting scenes in his novels. Then Ken Burns dramatized them well.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Questions about Characters

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