Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. It’s a time for sharing your love ... and sharing your fantasies. Last week, The Rap Sheet posted its first ever (and likely last) poll asking readers, “Which crime-fiction character would you most like to be kissing on Valentine’s Day?” The votes came in hot and heavy, and there were some early leaders who wound up being left at the altar. But we can finally announce the results.

In the category of male protagonists, there were 174 votes recorded, and the winner is ... Jack Reacher, British author Lee Child’s former U.S. military policeman turned international troubleshooter. There was definitely a surge in the Reacher selection at the end, and we suspect somebody was rousing their troops in a last-minute effort to put Child’s man over the top. But heck, this is a friendly place, so we’ll accept the results at face value. The second-place vote-getter is one of our favorite TV detectives of the past, Jim Rockford, played so wonderfully during the late 1970s by James Garner; while third place goes to Adam Dalgliesh, P.D. James’ poetry-writing commander in the Metropolitan Police Service. Also making good showings in the survey were Ross Macdonald’s compassionate private eye, Lew Archer; James Lee Burke’s Louisiana cop Dave Robicheaux; and Robert Crais’ Joe Pike, the erstwhile Marine and Elvis Cole sidekick who starred in last year’s The Watchman. You can see the full results of voting in the male protagonist category here.

Among the women, there were 210 votes registered ... and we almost had a tie between teenage TV sleuth Veronica Mars (played by the not-so-teenage Kristen Bell) and author Dennis Lehane’s Boston private eye, Angela Gennaro, who was portrayed so engagingly in the recent movie Gone Baby Gone by lovely Michelle Monaghan. (As one reader pointed out, it definitely helps crime-fiction characters in a poll such as this, if they’ve been brought to life well on either the large or small screens.) Mars received only a single vote more than Gennaro did, and we thought the tally might end up deadlocked; but one person out there in Rap Sheet reader-land made all the difference--which just goes to prove that old adage about every vote counting. Falling in somewhat distantly behind these two top draws in our poll were James Bond inamorata Vesper Lynd, from the 1953 Ian Fleming novel, Casino Royale (and brought to such seductive life by Eva Green in last year’s second film adaptation of Fleming’s book); FBI Missing Persons Unit Special Agent Elena Delgado, who’s played on American TV’s Without a Trace by eye-catching Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez; and Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard), dysfunctional detective Adrian Monk’s personal assistant on the TV series Monk. The complete tally of votes in this category can be found right here.

Thanks to everyone for playing along. You are now free to go off and buy roses for that flesh-and-bones love of your life. Or, if you choose, you can always continue fantasizing. No law against it, right?

READ MORE:Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars,” by Bruce Grossman (Bookgasm).

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