As last month’s column ended with a debut male author’s military fantasy, it’s fitting that the focus of this month’s column is a powerhouse female author who writes romantic thrillers with military heroes…and her very first foray into the world of paranormal romance. Suzanne Brockmann’s ‘Born to Darkness’ is a brilliant book which centers around three different couples. As luck would have it, Brockmann has managed to write a textbook on this month’s subject, as four of the characters in these couples are prime examples of the best ways to write strong male characters.
We start with the scientist behind the story, the genius with that bit of strength that wants to get let out. He does not have the abilities that the rest of the characters do, but what he does have is heart. And intelligence. And strength when it counts. In Brockmann’s book, this role belongs to Dr. Eliott Zerkowski. This particular type of mental strength and intelligence can also be seen in Catullus Graves, the hero of Zoe Archer’s ‘Stranger’. Yet another factor that unites these two amazing characters is that both of them win their loves despite so many obstacles standing in their way.
Then there is the tortured hero with more secrets than he can really handle. He is strong, quiet, commanding when necessary, and must learn the hard way that his love is stronger than he thinks. In Brockmann’s book, this delicious and heartbreaking role belongs to Dr. Joseph Bach. I only hope that it takes him much less in the torture department to win his love than ‘Mean’ Joe Green in Cindy Gerard’s ‘Last Man Standing’. And I desperately hope that neither he nor his heroine must face the kind of torture that Taylor Jones and his love in Shiloh Walker’s ‘The Departed’ do.
Third on our list is the wounded man who is ready to make a difference despite what he sees as the trouble in his past. He is strong despite what he thinks of himself. In Born to Darkness, this role belongs to Shane McLaughlin, the central male character of the book. This lovely combination of physical strength and an unbreakable spirit also belongs to Jonah Walker in Jessa Slade’s ‘Vowed in Shadows.’ You can also see it in Zach Angelino, the hero of Roxanne St Claire’s Edge of Sight. Though both Jonah and X have physical issues, they do not let them stand in their way, in the same manner as Shane’s views on his dishonorable discharge.
Fourth and finally, there is the powerful man who knows what he wants, and goes after it once he is given the chance, or the cue. Stephen Diaz plays this role in Born to Darkness, and like Lucas Hunter from Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation, he gets who, and what he wants…once they give them the okay.
Four different types of strength. Four different types of characters given shape, form and story by so many brilliant authors. Which is your favorite? Let me know! Until next month, happy reading!