Sunday, October 21, 2018
A Posse of My Favorite Fictional Sheriffs
Have you ever tried to answer a question, something along the lines of "Which ten authors-- living or dead-- would you invite to dinner?" I answered it a couple of times, but was never quite satisfied with my answers. Now that I've actually met and spoken with several authors, I think I could do a much better job, but something even better occurred to me.
I would love to have a get-together of my favorite fictional sheriffs. Can't you just picture it? After being out on the trail, we'd settle down in the evening to food cooked out in the open air, watching the sun go down, and shooting the breeze around the campfire. I thought you could! Now the only thing I have to do is share my guest list with you all. I don't know what you'll think of it, but I think I've got the makings of a mighty fine posse...
Sheriff Joanna Brady, Arizona
Brady is the only female on my posse, so she's definitely going to add something special to the mix of personalities, but I think she'll fit right in. Contrary to the rest of my posse members, she's married and has children. She's worked her way up from knowing very little about law enforcement to being highly respected. Being sheriff in a county that's larger than some states, she doesn't know all the people in her jurisdiction the way some of the other sheriffs do, but she's got a crack team working with her, and she's learned the value of networking with other sheriffs, so she's got some very valuable contacts if she needs special expertise. And like all my other choices, she's got a good sense of humor. (Author J.A. Jance)
Sheriff Virgil Dalton, "Southwest"
Author Frank Hayes is cagey about telling us just where Dalton enforces the law, but I've pieced a few clues together and wouldn't be at all surprised if it's somewhere in south central New Mexico. He's relatively close to Brady and another sheriff on my posse, so-- who knows-- they may be able to share some war stories. Dalton calls himself a half-breed and considers an old Mexican man who's foreman of his ranch to be his second father. He's sheriff of a town most people like to think of as sleepy-- with the old yellow dog sleeping in the middle of Main Street, but he knows differently. He's got one deputy, a young man named Jimmy who most people think is slow. Dalton knows differently about Jimmy, too. One of the most important things to know about Dalton is that he sees a lot, speaks little, and treats people with respect. and doesn't ignore those other people consider to be "throwaways." It'll be interesting to see how he fits in with my posse. (Author Frank Hayes)
Sheriff Bill Gastner, New Mexico
We get to see Bill Gastner as sheriff of fictional Posadas County, New Mexico when he's in his sixties and seventies. He's overweight, got a bum ticker, and loves his Mexican food. He also suffers from insomnia which means that he can get some extra thinking done while my younger posse members have to get their beauty sleep. I love watching him piece together clues. The only time this man gives up is when the job is done. Like all the other sheriffs I've chosen, I love to hear him spin a tale. (Author Steven F. Havill)
Sheriff Walt Longmire, Wyoming
All of you knew that Walt was going to be on my list. I should've left him off just to shock the stuffing out of you all. Like all of the others, you get a real sense of place watching Longmire solve crimes. I know I've certainly learned to respect Wyoming winters! He's got a crack team working with him-- and that includes his friends-- and along with the next sheriff in my posse, Longmire knows the value of a sense of humor. (Author Craig Johnson)
Sheriff Bo Tully, Idaho
Of all the members of my posse, Tully is the ladies man. Members of his family have been sheriffs of Blight County, Idaho for over a century, and Tully knows everyone in his county, which is always good when a crime occurs. Most of the time, all he has to do is drive over to the miscreant's house and knock on the door. Tully is sneaky and relentless, and when the crimes aren't solved simply, he can put a first-rate investigation together. He's not always a stickler for search warrants and the like, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he interacts with the rest of my posse members. (Author Patrick F. McManus)
Sheriff Ike Schwartz, Virginia
When most folks think about sheriffs, they tend to think about the western part of the United States, but there are sheriffs everywhere. Ike Schwartz is former CIA and a Jew policing a redneck county in Virginia. He can have slightly different cases than the other members of my posse-- like art theft. This man knows how to run an investigation, and I also enjoy his wit when dealing with sharp-tongued members of the public. (Author Frederick Ramsay)
Well... what do you think of my posse? Did I leave any of your favorites out? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know (and add to their reading lists)!