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  • Writer's pictureWalker Buckalew

The Talent Array of a Novel’s “Good Guys”

Good Guys

Television dramas like NCIS often feature ensemble casts. That is, a half dozen or so individuals “star” in the series, rather than just one or two. This enables the writers to tap an array of skills from the various major characters: one may specialize in computer analysis, another in networking with other agencies, another in hand to hand fighting.

My Rebecca novels are like that. They feature a group of protagonists – Rebecca, her family, several close colleagues – whose array of talents provides a deep reservoir from which she is able to draw as the story develops. First, she and they must identify the evil that they face; second, they must make decisions about what actions to take; third, they must actually engage their adversaries in what are often highly dangerous and highly physical confrontations. It is no accident that nearly every person who makes up the “good guys” in my novels carries with him or her evidence of prior wounds received in these confrontations. Rebecca herself, from mid second novel on, carries a dramatic V-shaped scar along the right side of her face, running from the corner of her mouth all the way to her right ear.

Aside from Rebecca’s having been selected by “the Source” to receive “special messages” from time to time, she, a former internationally ranked tennis player, uses great speed of foot and great power and strength in her legs to run or kick her way out of dangerous situations.

Her twin brother, Luke, a former Royal Navy boarding party officer, uses his enormous strength and skill with non lethal weapons (knives, ropes, other tools) to deal with adversaries efficiently, always without firearms. So far, he has not been called into play in my current novel, A Fearful Thing. We’ll see how long his non-involvement can go on.

Luke’s wife, Kory Manguson, a former Royal Navy research-and-data-analyst, works with the National Physics Lab in London to accomplish amazing feats of technological skill. She was able, for example, in my second young-adult novel, to open remotely an electronically locked door of a corporate aircraft via satellite link.

Detective Sid Belton, though physically impaired from his years in the military and in the New York Police Department, brings his worldwide network of connections to law enforcement, to intelligence agencies, and to military establishments.

Detective Jaakov Adelman, a former agent with Mossad, Israel’s formidable intelligence agency, is Sid Belton’s partner in their New York City detective agency. Adelman has his own set of worldwide connections, especially in the intelligence field. He is also nearly as conversant with technological advances as is Kory Manguson.

Having this kind of talent available at my fingertips is essential in the kind of stories I write. Even though, of the five people just listed, only Rebecca and Jaakov Adelman could be called leading characters, so far, in this novel – along with major characters Jack McGriff and Marie Campbell, whose critical talents are still being discovered by the others – any of these people can be called upon to contribute to the solutions and to the action at any time.

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