There’s not a dead man at the beginning of every detective story, but it certainly doesn’t hurt anything. I’ve written some about Warren Cole, the potential murder victim at the heart of this novel, but this week is dedicated to characters…so here’s a little bit more before I go to bed:
Cole, you might remember, is an American Geologist, working for Dennison-Holt’s McMurdo office as a surveyor. A native of the Virginia Beach area, Cole received his PhD in Geosciences from Virginia Tech and worked for several mining companies; right up until his increasingly obvious gambling problem ended his marriage and sent him packing for the lunar surface. The man never learned how to say no to a hand of cards. Or a game of mahjong. Or a horse race or spin of the roulette wheel. Anything, really, and it got him in enough trouble with some bad enough people that he was advised to seek a better life off-world. His wife, Marie-Jean Kerning got just about everything leftover in the divorce (including full custody of their five year-old son, James) too, so there wasn’t much motivation for him to stay.
He’s a perfectly average man in most respects; height, weight and build. Dirty-blond hair, grey eyes, thick nose, and long, thin fingers. I’ve got some pretty solid ideas about how he ends up dead (we’ll maybe see about that next week), but almost all of them involve prolonged exposure to hard vacuum, and that’s not liable to do his looks any favors…
By the time of his death, Cole has been on the moon for going on two years. He’s not particularly well liked (considered a good scientist, and friendly enough, but he drinks a fair amount and tends to keep to himself) among his coworkers and the general population, but certainly never made any visible enemies. He also replaced one addiction with another, and he’s now (I think I mentioned this once before, too) very much into amateur stargazing…to the point of starting to work on a book specifically about sky-watching from the lunar surface.
So, I guess that’s pretty much all I can share about Cole at this point. Maybe none of this is particularly earth-shattering, but I also feel like that’s good in a way. By not making Cole anyone remarkable, I feel like I’m much more free in the range of things that he can be tied up in. If it was a murder, did he see something he shouldn’t’ have? Did he sleep with the wrong woman? Cheat the wrong man at the card table (we’ve also seen that there’s some illegal gambling that crops up at McMurdo from time to time)? At this point, it could be anything—simple or convoluted, big or small.
It’s kind of comforting, having that range in front of me to do with what I like.
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As a side note, I’m now fourteen pages into the third and final of the notebooks that I bought for this project. Since I used the first ten for another purpose, this gives me sixteen pages to work with next week…which is probably fine, because in Week Four I’ll be filling in some gaps in the setting and character list, and setting myself up for some (hopefully) smooth sailing when I plot this thing out in Week Five.