Are Christian Crime Fiction Heroes Too Wimpy? by Nike Chillemi
Are we creating a bunch of Dudley Do-Rights? Are these guys so good they're boring? Are they too saccharine? I've read Amazon reviews and heard a few whispers (even a few grumbles) stating the hero is so perfect, he's one dimensional. It's a Christian novel, so there can be angels in it, but the flesh-and-blood hero should not be angelic.
They say nice guys finish last, and I think that's true in crime fiction. The hero has to be as much fun or more fun to watch in action than the villain or antagonist. The hero has to have a backbone. When the hero is set upon by the villain, it can't be that he overcomes the obstacles and wins the day as a clueless wonder who accidently stumbles through. He's got to have the fortitude and law enforcement skills to overcome the villain, or he's not very compelling.
If the hero is a Christian character, the author has some limits in that the reader will expect the hero to live by certain principles. Of course, that is as it should be. No quarrel there. Yet in life, we know real Christians have faults, some of them major. We know real statistics show a little over fifty percent of all Christian marriages end in divorce, a good number of them due to infidelity. In real life, we know most of those couples do not reconcile. Although it's changing, we still don't see too many divorced heroes in Christian fiction. We do have tons of nearly perfect widowers who have become nearly perfect single fathers.
If the author creates a wimpy hero, the only way it works in crime fiction is when the plotline shows him morphing into a forceful protagonist who can meet and defeat the villain. In this way, all of his goody-two-shoes traits can grow into some type of competent strategy to stop the evil deeds of his enemy. This is the type of storyline I can sink my teeth into.
Last, but not least, there should be some fireworks. This is especially true if the story is a romantic suspense. If there isn't any chemistry between the hero and heroine, it leaves me flat. Those romantic fireworks don't have to be physical. There can be an intense lingering gaze...even a hostile one, or witty repartee. Although physical magnetism on some level is a plus as far as I'm concerned. Christians do have bodies and those bodies do respond when there's attraction. There might be some type of mystery to the guy. The hero has something lurking in his past, which functions as the catalyst for this chemistry and his actions in the story.
Dawson Hughes, my hero in DEADLY DESIGNS is a highly competent lawman, compassionate, and wildly attracted to my heroine, Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels. He's got some personal tragedy in his life, and he's also well-read and highly intelligent. Readers today have no tolerance for a dumb hero. In addition, a great hero isn't predictable. The author is able to reach within him and pull some response out that creates unexpected plot twists. Dawson finds himself in this situation soon after he re-commits his life to Jesus and the only one he can share this with is heroine Ronnie Ingels.
Purchase Link: ebook
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chair, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four-novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press, won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Historic Suspense category. Her new release is DEADLY DESIGNS. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.
Check out her website at: http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
♦So, writers, what kind of heroes do you write? And readers—if you’re here—what kind of heroes do you like to read?
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