The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Roger:  Let’s begin at the beginning.  Roger Bowman and Suzanne Foster first meet in the novella, “The Empanada Affair”, which started out in life as a full-length novel and evolved to the current novella format.  The story is featured in “Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne”, and includes the detailed backstories for both characters.  Also included in the “Five Quickies” is a short story, “The Dog With No Name”, which describes Roger’s first case as a P.I.   For series aficionados, you’ll know that Roger has also been a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department and a licensed patent attorney

Suzanne:  We first meet Suzanne and learn her background in “The Empanada Affair” in the “Five Quickies”.  I’ve sprinkled bit and pieces expanding on what we know about Suzanne in most of the other novels, so trivia snippets about her life, past and present, are dribbled out through the series.  Suzanne appears in all of the stories, albeit just being mentioned in the shorter stories “The Dog With No Name” and “The Haunted Gymnasium”.  I’ve thought about letting Suzanne have a book (or novella) all her own without Roger, or with Roger in a less prominent role.  Maybe Suzanne will need to step up into the lead role when Roger gets a concussion or a bullet hole to recover from.  Opportunity beckons!  That may happen eventually, but I know not when.
 Eduardo Gomez:  Eduardo is one of my personal favorite supporting characters.  He’s also the Godfather to Roger and Suzanne’s son Robert, so is a very good friend of our lead characters.  We first meet him in “The Ambivalent Corpse”, where we learn a good bit, but not all, about his backstory.  He’s a police officer in Asuncion, Paraguay, as well as a high-ranking member of the Federal police in his home country.  I’ve been very vague (on purpose) about that job, which I portray as being a cross between the Paraguayan equivalents of the FBI and the CIA.  Finally, because I needed someone with clout across the borders of several sovereign countries in South America for plot purposes, Eduardo was also promoted to being an international undercover operative for the Israeli equivalent of our CIA, The Mossad.  He’s a busy guy with all three jobs, but handles the multiple roles with aplomb.  Eduardo has major roles in “The Surreal Killer”, “The Body in the Bed”, “The Matador Murders”, and “The Origin of Murder”.

Martin Gonzalez: A “Columbo”-like detective on the police force in Montevideo, Uruguay.  He’s a supporting character in all of the books with Montevideo settings.  We first meet him in “The Ambivalent Corpse” then see him again in “The Matador Murders” and “The Body in the Bed”.  Martin is an honest cop in a very corrupt world.  He often has his own agenda in these stories, so is a friend with some reservations, especially where Eduardo Gomez is concerned.  Martin is a composite of several actual Uruguayans I’ve known, so is a pretty complex character.

Bruce, the Nanny:  Another of my personal favorite supporting characters.  His role in the series has continued to grow since his introduction immediately after Robert’s birth, which occurred just after the events described in “The Surreal Killer”.  Robert appears in “The Matador Murders”, “The Deadly Dog Show”, “The Origin of Murder”, and in the shorter stories “Someone Did It to the Butler” and “The Body in the Parking Structure”.  He’s an off-screen presence in “The Body in the Bed”.   His backstory is first presented in “The Matador Murders”.  Bruce is the Swiss Army Knife in this series.  He has an unlimited skill set that lets him do whatever is needed for the story---Nanny for an infant, Former Navy Seal, Dog trainer, Show dog handler, Bodyguard, Private Detective (not yet licensed, but he will be one day, I think), and who knows what?  Perhaps he has some musical talent, athletic ability, or artistic talents we can take advantage of for some future undercover work?

Vincent Romero:  A former CIA agent from Wisconsin and Iquiqe, Chile.  Vincent first appears as a character in “The Surreal Killer”, where he plays a major role while we learn his backstory in some detail.  He moves to Los Angeles where he joins Roger’s detective agency shortly after the events in The Surreal Killer, initially as a bodyguard, later as Roger’s partner.  Vincent is another character I initially envisioned as a one-hit wonder, but he worked his way into a prominent role as a featured player in subsequent books in the series since he plays much the same role as Eduardo Gomez in the North American settings.  He’s a good friend of Roger and Suzanne, but still has shadowy connections to the international espionage community that give him access to people and information which may not be available to the local police.  Vincent has a major role in “The Deadly Dog Show”, as well as being part of the supporting cast in “Someone Did It to the Butler”, “The Body in the Parking Structure”, and “The Origin Of Murder”.

Juliet and Romeo:  The family dogs.  We first meet Juliet, an adult German Shorthaired Pointer, in “The Deadly Dog Show”.  She rises to the rank of supporting cast in this novel, set in the competitive world of canine conformation contests.  Her son, Romeo, is born at the end of that book.  Romeo will be the featured dog in a planned Book #10 of this series (if all goes well) set in the world of canine hunt tests.  For readers of this blog, it’s an open secret that we have several German Shorthaired Pointers at home.  By an odd coincidence J, one of these is an adult named Jolie, while another is her grandson Ries.  The real dogs act as consultants when we need to think about appropriate canine behaviors in the fictional situations of the novels.

Several other miscellaneous characters:  In an earlier post on this blog (Reuse, Recycle...), I discussed the reuse of minor characters in multiple books in a series.  I believe in doing this, so familiar names of good guys or bad guys crop up in subsequent stories with some frequency.  For example, the body in “The Body in the Bed” was fully upright and functional in multiple scenes as a featured minor character in “The Ambivalent Corpse”.

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