I’ve Got a New Crush


I grew up as one of the most crush-y-est of girls imaginable.  I developed crushes on classmates, on teachers, on movie stars, on the guy who worked in the periodicals department of the library.  Once, when asked to describe the three best feelings in the world, I put the following on the list:  “That moment when the person you have a crush on responds to you positively, and you feel giddy from head to toe.”

Now in my decrepit middle-age, I’m a happily married woman.  The frequency of my crushes and their intensity has slowed dramatically over the years.  (Most recent trigger before the one I’m writing about today?  Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.  Just in that movie.  And, really, just for the tux-clad shower scene.)

Why am I sharing all this with you today?  Because my most recent crush is a book character:  Homicide Detective Mick Kennedy, in Tana French’s BROKEN HARBOR.

I have read and adored French’s other books.  They’re not great as mysteries — some plot elements are just too far-fetched to be believable. But they’re beautiful, lyrical depictions of people under stress who do heroic things and disastrous things and try their best to live their often-very-difficult lives.  The novels are quintessentially Irish — melancholy and literary and vibrant.

Again, why am I sharing this?  Why do you care?

Because Mick Kennedy is the sort of character I’d give my eyeteeth to write.  He’s extraordinarily human — he’s loaded with a past and an awareness of the present, with (suppressed) hopes and dreams and fears.  He is good at his job, but he makes mistakes.  He is completely well-rounded.  He is as real as the actual, living people profiled in your local newspaper.  (Incidentally, he’s got some really deep flaws.  Sometimes, I crush on bad boys.  On guys who need to be saved — from themselves or from others.)

In a few hundred pages, I came to *know* Mick Kennedy.  Long after I read the words “The End”, I thought about him, wondered about what happened when he woke up on the next day.  I believed in him.

I rarely find such complete characters in fiction, especially in genre reads.  So?  How about you?  What was the last character that you totally, completely, 100% understood?  (No, you don’t have to have a crush on him/her.  But I’d feel a lot better if you did ::wry grin::)


11 comments to I’ve Got a New Crush

  • Oh, dear. I must be a polyamorous flake. (As in, I am both, not that all polyamorous folks are flakes!) With the exception of category romance, I fall in love with nearly every strong character I read. I just can’t help myself. Most recent: FBI agent Jace Valchek of the Bloodhound Files by D.D. Barant. My list is miles long now. My heart is only broken when the series ends … but at least we had good memories. (I still miss Diana’s Max.) 😉

  • Laura – ::grin:: Your comment made me smile knowingly 🙂 Are your affairs with men and women? I’ve had girl-crushes on a handful of characters in the past…

  • kwlee

    Ohy… Well, I must admit I don’t crush very easily. Probably because all the really cool women in fiction would drive me nuts in real life. I’m a light sleeper, so the question would always be “WHY are you getting out of bed at 2 AM?! To kill a WHAT?!” Or perhaps they might have an unhealthy relationship to the railroad industry, or running a plantation, or are offended by richer men than me, or outlive me by a billion years.

    As for understanding a character 100%? I’d say it’d have to be Mr. Johnny Rico when I was growing up, all the way down to making decisions just to impress the girl. And then being too proud or whatever to take it back.:p

  • For me, it was Tarod, from Louise Cooper’s Time Master trilogy. He began the story as a boy who knew he was too different to live among the ordinary folk, and thought he found his true family among the initiates of the Star Peninsula. He rose in rank and fell in love with a young woman who seemed to adore him. That’s when the man who had always been a brother to him decided to betray Tarod, out of envy and lust. Even the woman turned on him, choosing to side with the betrayer in order to further her own social aspirations. Tarod was forced into isolation in order to stay alive, and when real love appeared in the person of a young drover’s apprentice, Tarod had to learn to trust all over again so that he could rejoin the world without fear.

    I saw so much of my own youthful social isolation in Tarod’s story (although alas, I didn’t have magic to assist me. *laughs*) so I crushed on him at the same time that I “was” him. Does that make sense?

  • Oh, yes, Mindy. When it comes to fictional characters, I don’t discriminate. 😉

  • Nathan Elberg

    Understood? Anthony Beavis, from Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza. The depth of Huxley’s penetrating insight, the way he constructed the events that shaped his main character would never fly in today’s publishing market. Reading Eyeless in Gaza was a spiritual undertaking, though I am neither a pacifist nor much of a mystic.
    Crush? Nicci, from the Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Hot, smart, and courageous. Very different from the actual sorceress I knew several decades ago.

  • Waitaminnut, you knew an actual sorceress? Now I’m jealous!!

  • Razziecat

    Crush, huh? That’s what it’s called? I’ve just called it “obsessed” 😉

    Many years ago, it was Alaric Morgan in Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni series; and then Rhys Thuryn in the same series (when he died I couldn’t finish the book for three days!) More recently, Osriel in Carol Berg’s Lighthouse Duet books: Dark, mysterious, ruthless, honorable, desperate, determined, powerful, vulnerable. I’m still trying to create a character of my own that I feel is equal to Osriel (not a copy, but someone with a similar mix of seemingly-contradictory qualities).

  • Oh my, yes. All the time. Crushing on characters is a way of life for me. And they nothing alike, these characters, just always very true to themselves, all with honor, and fall with flaws / weaknesses. My all time fave is Lee Childe’s Jack Reacher.

  • Sorry to be slow in responding – I’m in editing hell (about which, more later…)

    Kwlee – Where is Mr. Rico?

    Misty – Yeah, a lot of my crushes were … rugged individualists. Not that I felt socially ostracized, or anything…

    Nathan – I’m not familiar with that Huxley. Time to do more reading…

    Razziecat – Alaric Anthony Morgan was my first book crush, and by far my deepest. (Yes, Rhys had many of the same attributes, but the alienation of Morgan… Sigh…)

    Faith – I’m a bit scared 🙂