New Guy Thrillers
Three Books That Reflect a New Attitude Toward Women
Listen to Linda Wertheimer's summer book picks.
July 2, 2002 -- For her summer reading list, NPR's Linda Wertheimer has chosen what she calls "three bad-boy mystery books." But as Wertheimer tells Morning Edition, the heroes of these thrillers are bad boys with a difference: They "can be considerate, respectful, romantic, even vulnerable, in between cracking heads."
In interviews with the three thriller authors, Wertheimer asks about what she sees as a new type of hero.
Lee Child, author of Without Fail, denies that the hero of his novel series, Jack Reacher, is a "new man." Instead, he says, he is a "post-new man," one who sees no difference between men and women. Child also sees a trend toward stronger women characters in the mystery genre, and calls it simply a reflection of truth: "That's real life."
Author John Sandford agrees. "Powder puffs" -- who he defines as "women who are just foils for a guy's macho action" -- are "not that interesting," His new book Mortal Prey is the latest in his Prey series featuring Minneapolis cop Lucas Davenport. In this book, Davenport's nemesis Rinker is a professional assassin, a woman -- and Davenport's equal, Sandford says.
Similarly, Bad Boy Brawly Brown, Walter Mosley's new addition to his Easy Rawlins series, involves Rawlins with Bonnie, a strong female character who's part femme fatale yet still down to earth. In Mosley's view, the traditional tough guy needs a woman to accent how powerful he is through "her weakness, her beauty, her guile." Bonnie doesn't fit that description, and it's perhaps because of that Mosley says that Davenport is "in love with her."
NPR's Summer Reading 2002 special.
John Sandford's official Web site.
Lee Child's Without Fail site.
Walter Mosley's Web site.