Each week, we’ll spotlight a current television show that we love, and the books that you just might like. Here are this week’s reading suggestions based on…
Person of Interest:
This show stands out for having an incredibly silly premise with a mind-blowingly fun execution. Reese (Jim Caviezel) is a modern-day Batman running around New York City battling crime bosses, saving lives, dodging his ex-CIA handlers, and hiding from the police. Oh and he stops cars full of bad guys with his rocket launcher.
In the meantime, his paranoid genius sidekick and tech support, Finch (Michael Emerson), uses a supercomputer to come up with the names of the people who are going to be killed in the next few days. It’s Reese’s job to stop that from happening.
And if Reese just happens to end up shooting a bunch of bad guys in the process, well, looks like the job has perks.
In books too, I have it bad for badass killer characters with traumatic pasts. Ever since Salvatore’s Drizzt D’Urden and Ludlum’s Jason Bourne, I’ve been infatuated with smart-talking, quick-thinking, fast-stabbing characters like Reese. There aren’t a lot of well-written badasses out there, so in my reading habits, I often default to other storylines to get my fix.
Here are a few character-driven book suggestions involving some seriously awesome protagonists:
Neuromancer by William Gibson
(science fiction, cyberpunk)
This 1984 debut novel was the first novel to hit the scince-fiction “triple crown”, snagging a Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Award within a year of its release. It gives us Henry Dorsett Case, a genius computer hacker who lost it all when an employer caught him stealing. His central nervous system crippled by a neurotoxin, Case dreams of finding a cure that would let him interface with the global cyberspace matrix again. In comes Molly Millions, a mercenary with claw implants, and a mysterious, powerful figure called Armitage, who has just that cure. All Case has to do to get it is do a final job for Armitage.
This book has it all–badass characters with mysterious (and tragic) pasts, fantastic technologies, an against-the-clock race to save the world (well, for Case to save his own self, morelike), and deliciously crafted prose that makes a fangirl out of me. Here, take a look:
“He was riding high that night, with a brick of Wage’s ketamine on its way to Yokohama and the money already in his pocket. He’d come in out of the warm rain that sizzled across the Ninsei pavement and somehow she’d been singled out for him, one face out of the dozens who stood at the consoles, lost in the game she played. The expression on her face, then, had been the one he’d seen, hours later, on her sleeping face in a portside coffin, her upper lip like the line children draw to represent a bird in flight.”
–Excerpt at random from Neuromancer
The full book can be read online here.
All 22 books by Robert Ludlum
If you like spy thrillers, these weekend reads are for you. You may know Robert Ludlum as the author of the Bourne trilogy, but he’s written more. Oh, so much more. And pretty much every single one of these novels has everything a Person of Interest fan could want–characters with dark (para)military pasts, save-the-world (or save-yourself) plots, redemption issues, detective-work, and action/suspense that doesn’t stop. Revenge too. Can’t forget that one.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the wikipedia plot for one of my personal favorites of the bunch, The Aquitaine Progression:
“Joel Converse is a lawyer, having previously been a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War. Because of his wartime experiences with Command Saigon, in the form of a psychopathic general named “Mad” Marcus Delavane, he is chosen to thwart a cabal of former generals bent on world domination.”
This dude manages to get nicknamed “hellhound” by his enemies. And faces down a cabal of former generals bent on world domination (see above).
The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny
Corwin wakes up from a coma in a private hospital in New York with amnesia and a long list of injuries. He quickly learns that someone is paying to make sure he stays that way. His search for answers leads him to his machinating family members (most of whom are trying to kill him), deadly alliances, and the power struggle for the throne of Amber–the keystone world in a universe of endless alternate universes.
The Great Book of Amber contains all five novels of the Chronicles of Amber (book #1: Nine Princes in Amber, in case you wanna read them as separate novels). Like Person of Interest, the Amber series is non-stop action, quick-witted banter, and elegant badassery. The books combine mystery, suspense, and magic as Corwin travels from our modern world towards Amber, the universe’s seat of power–and where everyone wants Corwin dead.
On an entirely unrelated note, 1994, Zelazny published a chapbook under Pretentious Press. As if you needed more reason to check him out.
What do you think of Person of Interest? Know any other books fans should be checking out?
Past TV Tuesday features: