One of my favorite characters to have in a book is a wisecracking hero. Even when faced by the most evil of villains or the most desperate life-threatening situations, the smart-mouthed hero manages to dredge up a funny remark or two to relieve the pressure of a nasty situation.
This type of humorous hero is the main reason that I love books by authors such as adventure novelist Clive Cussler and Western author Louis L’Amour. Cussler’s books often feature a character named Dirk Pitt, a resourceful and highly capable adventurer with a fondness for aircraft, marine engineering, and antique cars. Dirk’s got a great sense of humor, especially when he’s accompanied by sidekick and best friend Al Giordino.
Cussler also writes himself into many of his books, an unusual feature that I’ve never seen with any other author. He makes a cameo appearance in the action (maybe he took lessons from Alfred Hitchcock?) to help characters that are in need of assistance. Sometimes Cussler’s identified by name; other times you just have to tell from the description that it’s him.
In the books of Louis L’Amour, the humor is drier but no less potent. I admire the Sackett family — especially the brothers Tell, Orrin and Tyrel — because they are loyal, capable and witty in a sardonic way. My all-time favorite quote, however, has to be from Sackett cousin Flagan Sackett in Galloway:
“My voice isn’t much, but I often used to tell folks I was a singer, and that I’d sung for crowds of up to three thousand. I didn’t tell them I was talking of cows, but they heard my voice and probably guessed.”
I guess the cows didn’t appreciate good singing when they heard it?
So if you’re in the mood to escape from reality, amuse yourself with books like Inca Gold, Flood Tide, Deep Six, Sackett, Treasure Mountain and The Daybreakers. They’re a great read and who knows? You may even become a convert like me.