HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I can confess, now, that Red Rosemary and I discussed this, years ago. What if, we thought, in true mystery author fashion, our two main characters collaborated on a mystery? My TV reporter Charlotte McNally with Rosemary's wise-cracking master gardener Paula Holliday (digression: I cannot resist telling you that can read Paula's newest adventure SLUGFEST now in paperback! Click here, after you read this post, of course.)
Anyway.We thought, probably over a couple of glasses of wine, that they'd be a terrific team. Charlie, yes, a little older and wiser. Paula, yes, a little younger and braver. And they'd crack each other up, right?
So now, turns out we might have been on to something. The fabulous (and I do mean fabulous) Jen Forbus has been thinking about mashups, too. Mystery fiction--becomes mystery fiction fusion.
The Avengers seems to be all the rage this summer in the movie theater. I haven’t seen the movie myself. I know that I’ll get a lot of “boo hiss” for this, but I was never a big superhero fan. I grew up with two sisters, no brothers. And while none of us was overly girly, we also weren’t into the superheroes.
But I’ve always loved my crime heroes. I grew up idolizing Thomas Magnum, Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, Chris Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey, David Addison and Maddie Hayes, Angus MacGyver. And you know how every once in awhile there’d be a cross-over of shows, especially if shows ran back to back or if there was going to be a new spin-off? I still remember seeing Mark Harmon on J.A.G just before NCIS was going to start airing.
That got me to thinking – which is usually a dangerous situation – what if some of crime fiction’s writers teamed up to bring their characters together? You know…a mystery mash-up. Would the results be spectacular or devastating? I wanted to think really obscure, not the easy pairings. Here are my ideas for what would make fascinating encounters, even if the results turned deadly:
Craig Johnson’s foul-mouthed, whip-smart undersheriff Vic Moretti (a former Philly cop) and Chris Grabenstein’s straight-laced, by-the-book police officer John Ceepak (a former Marine). Now you know someone will end up hurt during this encounter. Vic can’t speak a sentence without profanity and if Ceepak commented on it, ohhhhh my. It would get ugly and you know there’s no way Ceepak could hit a woman. Hopefully they could both take their anger out on the bad guys!
Louise Penny’s rude, curmudgeonly poet Ruth Zardo and Lee Child’s nomadic former MP Jack Reacher. Think Jack would be quick to jump into bed with Ruth? And Ruth wouldn’t let Reacher’s unkempt appearance pass by without much harassment. Reacher might actually meet his match with Ruth!
Sophie Littlefield’s middle-aged, quilt-shop-owner Stella Hardesty who sets abusive boyfriends and husbands straight and Karin Slaughter’s Sara Linton who can perform autopsies when she isn’t tending to children’s medical needs. Y’all cue up the Martina McBride on this theme song! Sherman’s march to the sea will look like child’s play when these two open a can of whoop ass.
Alafair Burke’s smart, Nutella-loving, NYC Police Detective, Ellie Hatcher and Robert Crais’ wise-cracking PI Elvis Cole. These two would be absolutely hysterical together. And they’d drive Joe Pike crazy. Maybe they could meet down in Louisiana since they both have some connections there!
Marcia Clark’s Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight and Michael Connelly’s (Los Angeles defense attorney Mickey Haller. Oh wait. I think Paul Levine already wrote that series!
Steve Ulfelder’s auto-mechanic turned amateur sleuth Conway Sax and C.J. Box’s game warden Joe Pickett. I figure this would be a great pairing because Conway could keep Joe out of the trouble with wrecking his vehicles all the time – or at least fix them before anyone finds out.
Karen Olson’s amateur sleuth/tattoo artist, Brett Kavanaugh and Robert Crais’ strong, silent PI Joe Pike. I can see a whole series of crime solving while Brett tries to convince Pike he needs a full sleeve tattoo!
Cara Black’s PI Aimee LeDuc and Hilary Davidson’s travel-writing amateur sleuth Lily Moore. I can see Lily on a travel-writing job in Paris, finding herself in the midst of a Aimee investigation, possibly running into each other – literally – in a second-hand clothing boutique.
I’ve had all the fun up to this point. Your turn. What mystery mash-ups would YOU like to see?
HANK: Jen, you so rock. (I've always thought the Todd's Inspector Rutledge might get together with their Bess Cameron. But that would cause too many problems. Rhys' Lady Georgie with Cat McPherson's Dandy Gilver. What fun! And I'd adore to see Jack Reacher with Aimee LeDuc. Sigh. She'd win him over, don't you think?)
And hey--I'll give a copy of SLUGFEST to one lucky commenter who comes up with a terrific team!
Jen Forbus (happily here mashed up between Kelli Stanley and Hilary Davidson) is a crime fiction fan who blogs at the Anthony-nominated blog Jen's Book Thoughts. When she isn’t reading crime fiction, she enjoys spending time with her house full of furry critters: two chocolate labs, Hershey and Nestle, and four rescue cats. A former high school English teacher, Jen now works with a web-site design company and does various freelance work associated with the crime fiction community.