When a reader recently asked me which character I most enjoy writing, I realized it was a close call between Ellie Hatcher’s brother, Jess, and Samantha Kincaid’s French bulldog, Vinnie. I also realized for the first time that the two of them have a lot in common. They’re both cocky but loveable. They’re both clowns. They both climb on the furniture when they shouldn’t. They both manage to find soft, loving places in the sometimes dark lives of their caretakers.
What else do they have in common? What do you love/hate about them? And who is the least appreciative roommate? VOTE!
Alafair Burke’s Jess Hatcher
Alafair Burke’s Vinnie the Dog.
While the Duffer Awards try to avoid repetition, this race was a real squeaker last year, coming down to the final minutes of voting. Dempsey v. Tunney. Florida v. FSU. Giants v. Patriots. Ali v. Frazier. Some rematches just need to happen. This is the Thrilla in Manila for the Duffer Awards. So in 2012, who’s most likely to take out a Take Down a Meddling TSA Agent: Rain or Heller? VOTE!
Maura Isles is the reigning champ in this category, and she’s even got her own TV show to-boot. But what better challenger than relative newcomer Edward Jenner, star of the ITW nominated “A Hard Death,” whose author was once asked by an editor, “Must there be so many impalings?” The answer was yes. And, yes, these two put the “un” in unfazed, but who’s least likely to be fazed? Vote!
Judge Judy. Judge Wopner. Judge Joe Brown. Judge Greg Mathis. There are a lot of TV judge shows out there. Even Ed Koch got into the People’s Court action. So why not give NYC-based prosecutor Alex Cooper a shot at the televised bench? Or LA-based prosecutor Rachel Knight? They’re smart, tough, and, in my mind, telegenic. What would their courtroom demeanors be? What kinds of cases would they hear? And who’d stomp Judge Judy in the ratings? VOTE!
Spike the French Bulldog is a natural contender for this Duffer Award. Although he has moved on to the Rainbow Bridge, Spike saved Alex Delaware’s life more than once. But don’t write off Fireball Roberts. From the Last Good Kiss by James Crumley: “When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.” So who’s the best pet? VOTE! (And bonus for the comments: Who are some of your other favorite literary pets?)
While the Duffer Awards usually focus on series characters, some authors manage to create an entire cast of coolness. When I picture a girl-band of Megan Abbott’s creation, I imagine a new genre of “punk-adorable,” a noir mash up of Zooey Deschanel and Courtney Love. And a boy band from Elmore Leonard? I think Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra would both approve. So whose people would make for the coolest musical collaboration? VOTE!
These two women will say, do, and risk anything to get to the truth. But who will get Duffer’s Blue Ribbon for Doggedness? (Get it? DOG-gedness?) VOTE!
When I first hatched a nutty idea to start a novel about a female prosecutor, I wanted her to be a fully realized character. I wanted each book to feel like a short visit from a longtime friend. I wanted her to be as good as women like Stephanie Plum and VI Warshawski. These two women don’t have much in common, but those of us who’ve known them all these years can testify that they’re not the daintiest of eaters. Who’s most likely to run around after the bad guys with spilled food on her clothing? VOTE!
Bailey Weggins is a dogged true-crime reporter, and DD Warren is a relentless Boston detective. Who would bring that same dedication to the hunt for the perfect shoe? VOTE!
Y’all remember that not-so-distant campaign ad, right? A sleeping child. A national security threat. A 3 AM phone call to a red phone. Jack Reacher and John Corey have both mercilessly battled international conspiracies. Who’s the one you want at the other end of the line at 3 AM? And why? VOTE!