Boston and Badass

I just need to get this off my mind.   It’s an unfinished post I was working on about 2 weeks ago.  Butch O’Neal was going to be my next badass.  I wanted to do a JR Ward hero to add a solid dose of vampire/paranormal romance into the mix, and review a book I actually really liked.  My blog is so new; I’m still trying to get some momentum going and figure out what it’s really going to be about. What will be fun and interesting for me to ponder and post, and what might inspire some sassy and/or intriguing discussion?
BPD barrier
Even though I read Lover Revealed quite a while ago, Butch’s story was among my Black Dagger favorites and this is partly because of the Boston connection.  So there it is… I’ve been completely stalled and distracted, like everyone else who lives in the Boston area, and pretty much haven’t even thought about my new blog for over a week, since before marathon Monday and school vacation week.  When I did think about getting back to the blog, it was with avoidance,  because I knew this was the post I’d find.  Ugh.  I can’t finish it now, and I’m not sure I should post it at all, even with these fragmentary musings.
I have noticed the term badass all over the place in mainstream coverage and tweeting about the cops in Boston and Watertown.  I can’t tell if I am just noticing it more, or if it is actually being used more. For example, this from a list of media moments compiled by’s Radio BDC blog:
IF YOU WERE LISTENING TO THE SCANNER, THIS WILL NOT BE NEWS: WATERTOWN POLICE OFFICERS ARE TOTALLY BADASS.  While waiting for backup, a single Watertown police officer engaged in a shootout with the suspects early Friday morning — and employed a tactic straight out of a Die Hard movie, according to Watertown police chief Edward Deveau. The officer put his car in gear and jumped out of it, hoping they would think he was still in it as he fired from behind a tree, Deveau said.
We tell kids to “look for the helpers” when we’re forced to talk with them about violent and scary events in the news.  I think some of us grown-ups can’t help looking for badass heroes, in much the same way.
It’s interesting how quickly social media has provided the means for romanticizing key figures in the drama of the last week.  This morning I read this crazy story about how “hot” and badass the Boston FBI head is, based on tweets and other online sources of pop culture buzz.
In case you were buried under a rock, DesLauriers was at the center of the investigation all last week. He stood up at press conferences and said all kinds of badassy stuff, like this: FBI’s DesLauriers ‘We will go to ends of the earth to find those responsible for this despicable crime.”

I was inclined to just ditch my whole post, since it seems pretty cheesy and insensitive to objectify and engage in the “crushing out” on Boston law enforcement in the context of an overwrought fictional world where the Boston cop hero is a vampire.  I have not been directly injured or affected by the terrible events of last week.  I just live here, and my children live here.  The perpetrator is being treated in the hospital where they were born.  Many other strands link us to the places and institutions that have suffered devastating loss and lockdown. For me, Boston Strong is too personal; it’s not just a meme to adopt, analyze and/or deconstruct.   But then I decided to leave the post unfinished and try and make my peace with it by articulating some of this.

I had been especially looking forward to comments on the “poll” question, but now the whole thing just feels completely different.  Real life badass cops chasing and fighting warped evildoers who suddenly — given the scale and grandiose ambition of their actions — resemble nothing so much as Lessers.  Tough to make your peace with that.

Boston Badass

Badass: Brian (Butch) O’Neal, hard-ass Boston cop and long lost descendant of Wrath; re-united with his kin and his kind when he rescues Beth, a female vampire destined to be Queen.

Falls For: Marissa, aristocratic female of impeccable lineage who was not destined to be Queen, but kicks ass in her own right when she takes on the Princeps Council and defeats an attempt to impose misogynist restrictions on female rights and freedoms (the “sehclusion” motion).

Story Recounted By: the incomparable J.R. Ward, in Lover Revealed (2007)

Hangs Out In: V’s lair at the mansion, the ultimate man cave.

Likes:  Schmancy clothes, good Scotch, the Sox .  There are a lot of high end, top shelf brand names in this book.

Dislikes:  Following law enforcement rules when justice is what he’s after; sitting on the sideline when there are Lessers to be Dehstroyed.

Badass Hero Moment: Withstands torture to protect the Brotherhood and its secrets.

To Read Or Not To Read?

Tangentially Related … and Possibly Diverting:  

Pamela Poll:  Boston cops, Boston criminals… there’s a whole sub-genre now of Boston Noir, and it’s not just books.  There are so many great Boston films.  And tv — who can forget Spencer For Hire?!  So…. who are your favorite Boston badasses?

11 thoughts on “Boston and Badass

  1. Susan Targovec says:

    Butch is my fav! I love J.R. Ward’s Boston references. Not only do her heros like the Sox (and the angel-they-love-to-hate likes the Yankees), but she uses town names for street names in her books. “Framingham Street” pops to mind immediately, but there are many others that make it clear she knows Boston.

    • pamela1740 says:

      Exactly! I think she worked in Boston for quite a while, and I think she’s actually from Massachusetts originally. I’ve been trying to think of who I think Butch might look like….

  2. HollyC says:

    I’ve been taking a break from romance reading, but after the events of last week I found myself in the need of pure escapism and picked up The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall (which is not providing quite enough escapism – maybe Lisa Kleypass would have been better). Anyway, to your point – not only does romance have hunky guys, but they are often found saving and protecting people from villains of all kinds. Fortunately, most of our daily routines don’t involve evil and danger – but the fantasy that someone would be there – kicking ass- is a powerful part of the hero archetype. And just like we need that archetype in story (starting out with fairy tales), we need to believe its there in real life too. I’ve noticed the focus in the media that you mention also playing out in regard to doctors. We all might gripe about medical care or police policies, but when the chips are down, we need those people (men or women) in a visceral way – who else are really lifesavers? The fact that so many went above and beyond their jobs is inspiring and comforting. And on a lighter, but related to Butch, note: yesterday I saw a pizza place named Omega, and thought – I guess they don’t know about JR Ward, cause that is not very appetizing sounding at all!

    • pamela1740 says:

      I hadn’t thought about the doctors this way, but you’re right — there is an element of hero-making in the way the media is portraying them. I think they may be cast as a slightly different flavor of hero, though — more godlike, as healers, and less badass in the brute force, ruthless cunning sort of way…. Also, they don’t wear uniforms, so they don’t have that kind of “glamour” which can be so appealing in some contexts!

  3. MacPudel says:

    With recent events in Boston, I have been struck by how it appears that police officers are drawn from a particular segment of society (here in the Boston area, maybe elsewhere?): salt of the earth, hard working families, probably Irish or Italian, who might be called “working class” in some places. Butch fits squarely into that demographic, which I perceived as a cliche when I read it, but which has its origin (as do so many cliches) in reality. If it had not been for your post, I wouldn’t have made that connection, so thanks.

    • pamela1740 says:

      It’s a fine line between a character who’s a bit of a cliche and one who is iconic… 😉 I have a feeling that my take on Butch may have changed over the years since I first read the book, and perhaps also in light of recent events and the coverage of first responders. You’re right — there’s something “true blue” at the core of this character type. And thanks for stopping by and commenting! I’m trying to figure out Goodreads… and Twitter!

    • pamela1740 says:

      Also…. a friend just tweeted this, which picks up on the iconic status of Boston cops….

  4. Nicola O. says:

    Welcome to bloglandia! Lover Revealed really is the best of the BDB, imo. Did you hear that Butch may be getting another book? it’s the buzz after Ward’s recent signing in Cincinnati.

    • pamela1740 says:

      I had no idea – another book about Butch?! I do think he’s gotten even more interesting. I just finished Lover Released, which was almost equally about Butch, V, and Jane, as it was about Payne and the doctor. Thanks so much for the warm welcome; I have been reading your reviews for a long time! has been a source of inspiration but it’s taken me a long time to feel brave enough to make the transition from long rant-y emails with my romance reading friends, to blogging. I still feel that niggling what-can-I-possibly-add-to-the-conversation feeling! So many many thanks for visiting, and commenting, and tweeting!

  5. Neyra says:

    As you know, I wasn’t particularly a fan of Butch, even less of Marissa. But I do love that he’s willing not to follow the law in order to get justice served. I loved even more his interactions with Vishous, although to be honest I didn’t want him any where near MY V.. can we say possessive? yes. yes i am LOL.

    about the events in Boston.. i wasn’t directly affected by them either, but it was hard to watch. i really hate how humanity is turning out, especially these last few years.

    Great post BAR 🙂 and I love your blog I’ll be following you via email now too ^_^

    • pamela1740 says:

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! I loved finding your recent review of this book, because it reminded me that many of the things I really liked about Lover Revealed had nothing to do with the central romance! Many thanks for the encouragement! I need to work on my next post… 😉


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