Great books have great characters. I would heartily recommend any books featuring these characters:
Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout. Archie ranks number one on my all-time list because of his wit, grace under pressure, and his ability to mentally keep up with the 1/7th-ton genius himself.
John Clark, Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy. John Clark is the prototypical bad-ass. The character also has an excellent moral compass, and has a surprising sense of fair play, allowing the villains of the book go free, but only under a certain condition.
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, Star Trek: New Frontier by Peter David. A starship captain cut from the same bolt of cloth as Jim Kirk, but way better.
John Corey, The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille. Smart detective, and an even smarter mouth. Best character ever created by DeMille.
Henry the butler, Black Widowers Society short stories by Isaac Asimov. Henry is the most observant (and humble) man alive in literature; his ability to see through the clutter and solve the mystery ranks with the greats- Holmes, Queen, Poirot, et al. Finding him in the library is a toughie; the reader will have to dig through back issues of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine or Asimov’s literary collections to find him. Well worth the effort.
Harry Dresden, The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. Tough, compassionate and a little slow on the uptake when it comes to women, Dresden is another all time favorite of mine. If you like a little horror with your mystery, Chicago’s only professional wizard is a great read. (Read the books in order, though, if you can.)
Coming soon: My favorite female characters.