My favorite protagonist is Westlake's Parker, with Hoke Mosely coming second. Leonard's Stick, Mosley's Easy Rawlins and Himes's Coffin Ed and Grave Digger are up there, too. Of the PIs, I am particularly fond of Dewey's Mac.
Following up on MarkDJ's comment, I would place Dewey on a par with Ross Macdonald. If anything, Dewey was the better writer. The writing in his fifties novels is as fresh today as when it was brand new. And he is devoid of the theatricality that sometimes invades Macdonald's novels, as if one were watching a ponderous drama. Dewey moves things along.
This post is a total hodge-podge, oh well.
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