Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sometimes Spunky Wins

by Sophie

What protagonists would you most like to see in a cage match? Why? Who would win?

Sometimes even hard-hearted coldly cynical types such as myself have a brief flash of sentimental mush-brain. For some reason I'm having that kind of day.

I was thinking through all my favorite fallen-from-grace bad-ass anti-hero heroes, trying to figure out which two to toss into the ring, when a nagging little voice in my head interrupted to demand, "Really? Really, Sophie, you're going to pile rage on top of relentless on top of unredeemable and light a match and you think that's going to be any kind of entertainment?"

"Yawn," the voice concluded. And you know, it was right. Unless you're eleven and engaged in the ageless Alien-vs-Predator debate, it just isn't always all that interesting to put two mad dogs, two crazed blood-lusters, into the ring. You'll get gore, yeah. Screaming. Injured bystanders. Maybe an evisceration if you're lucky. But it's just so darn predictable.

There's lots of interesting, quirky, multilayered heroes and heroines in crime fiction, of course, and pitting them against each other could produce a variety of fascinating outcomes. But for today's exercise I'm going to dive straight into the sunny end of the pool. Just 'cause I feel like it.

My first protagonist is pure don't-mess-with-me (and highly recommended for those who've not yet discovered him): vampire power-broker hero Joe Pitt of Charlie Huston's series including ALREADY DEAD, NO DOMINION, etc.

And going up against him is...

Blue Bailey.

Blue Bailey is the heroine in Susan Elizabeth Phillip's novel NATURAL BORN CHARMER, a romance in which hunky, charismatic pro-football quarterback Dean Robillard falls for a very average young woman. Blue is not especially pretty, she's not clever, she's not very lucky and she certainly isn't confident.

What she is...is SPUNKY.

And spunky's like, you know, a silver bullet to these hardcore types.

Put Joe in a tough spot and he drinks blood and melts his screaming foes in the noonday sun.

Give Blue a challenge and she puts on a beaver suit and shuffles down the highway kicking dirt clods. But - she never gives up. She takes her lumps, licks her wounds, has a brief cry, then takes a deep breath and comes back for more. In the face of unstinting odds - Dean's got supermodel girlfriends, looks, charm, and more money than he knows what to do with - Blue makes up her mind and goes after what she wants and gets it. By the end of the book she's got Dean wrapped around her little finger.

And unlike Joe (I do adore Joe, just sayin') she manages a happy ending to boot.

So if Blue Bailey ever decided she wanted to go a few rounds with Joe, I'd put my money on her - I think she'd be moved into his bleak underground digs, putting up ruffled curtains, in a week. He'd be powerless to resist.

Ahhh, sometimes I impress myself. Maybe I shoulda been a matchmaker. :)


Jen Forbus said...

Sophie, I like Blue already. I have a soft spot for characters who aren't poster children for Gap ads or top candidates for the Iron Man/Iron Woman competition. There's just something so alluring about a character who has all the foibles of us regular folk!! Go Blue!! :)

Pop Culture Nerd said...

Hi Sophie!

I like that Blue gal because I'm always rooting for the underdog. Hit them when they don't see you coming. And anything/anyone created by Charlie is exceptional.

If I may, I'd like to share my idea for a cage match, too. It just came into my head unbounded and wanted out.

I'd throw Stella into the cage with Elvis Cole. Elvis starts doing his tae kwon do moves but Stella slaps that spreader bar on him. She comes in close to make sure he's securely fastened when suddenly she slips and they end up kissing. It becomes a whole different kind of match. Score!

Unknown said...

I think Sam Spade would fall for Stella in a heartbeat!

different cage, sorry!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Nice post, Sophie!

Now I'm thinking it's a giant stadium with 7 cages in it and all the fights are going on at the same time.

Joe might not be able to resist those frilly curtains, but I can. :) Blue sounds like just the kind of heroine to pair him up with.

Clearly, none of these matches will be rated PG, either for violence OR sex.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Jen, I think you would LOVE Blue! Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes the best ever romantic heroines, in my book. I just adore her.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Oh my dear Nerd, you are a telepath. How could you have possibly known that Stella and Elvis are going to have a thing? I just haven't figured out quite how to tell Bob Crais. Ummmm....you know every crime writer in the world, could you kinda like pave the way for me with him?? I'll owe you BIG. Oh wait, i already owe you big. :)

Sophie Littlefield said...

Mysti and Becky, sigh, you are so my kind of women. Yeah, I wouldn't do the frilly curtains either, that was a past life. (1991, I sewed some very elaborate drapes with swags and all that shit using Waverly fabric that matched our dining room wallpaper, they woulda blown you away, just saying.) BUT I can always appreciate an SEP heroine! And frankly I think I passed by any kind of PG rating a while ago...

Kelli Stanley said...

Let's hear it for spunky!! Loved the match up, Soph--and you're right, it's nice to get away from all the Armageddon-end-of-the-world and end of the road stuff once in a while. :)

And now, of course, I'm humming "Matchmaker, matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof! ;)


Shane Gericke said...

"You're going to pile rage on top of relentless on top of unredeemable and light a match and you think that's going to be any kind of entertainment?"

We already have that, Sophie--cable TV news shows :-)

Fun fact: Susan Elizabeth Phillips lives right here in my city of Naperville, IL, just a couple miles from my house. N'ville's second claim to fame, besides being the home of fearless crime fighter Dick Tracy. Well, the guy who draws him, anyway, Dick Locher. He lives about a mile from my house, near my favorite Chinese restaurant.