There's a debate that has come up occasionally among my mystery-loving friends (typically the females) as to which sidekick is cooler/tougher/sexier: Hawk from Robert Parker's Spenser series or Ranger from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. Now I actually have a way of determining an answer, albeit a totally non-scientific one.
I have posted a poll on the right side of this page that allows you to vote on your favorite: Hawk, the mysterious, wise-cracking, semi-criminal, always dangerous heartbreaker who has saved Spenser on more than one occasion; or Ranger, the mysterious, serious, ex-military, always dangerous heartbreaker who saves Stephanie Plum in almost every book.
I understand that the results could be skewed by the fact that many younger readers may not be familiar with Hawk. If that's the case, go right now and buy some of Parker's books. You won't be sorry.
As for my own vote, I made the decision this way: if I was trapped in an alley in Hell's Kitchen with only 4 bullets left and the Westies bearing down on me, who would I want by my side (at this point who's sexier really doesn't seem all that important)? Hawk, 100 times out of 100.
And just so the readers who like their sidekick a little more Victorian don't feel left out, I added a third choice to the poll: Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame.
May the best man win.