It is my task here to describe a transformation in character without giving anything away. Let’s see how good I am.
I just finished reading The Geronimo Breach (more on that in a minute) by Russell Blake, who was one of the first people I started following on my first day on Twitter, July 1.
In fact, one of his other books, Fatal Exchange, was the second Kindle book I bought. It convinced me that there are Indie authors that are quite good. While I’m not a huge thriller reader, I was pulled into the story by a strong, captivating female protagonist and just general good writing.
So, when my reading schedule freed up, I bought The Geronimo Breach and cozied up with my Kindle. About six pages in I was astonished, revolted even, by the character, Al Ross, who I hoped with all my heart wasn’t the protagonist. It isn’t giving anything away to tell you, his first impression on me, and those in his fictional world, was of a drunken, selfish, no-account loser. I wondered what in the world Blake had in mind, but the story was interesting and I trusted him as a writer so I kept plugging along, never really changing my mind about Al.
And then I did. After careful consideration, I’ve figured out the turning point, at least for me, when I began to care what happened to Al. Suffice it to say, I cannot reveal what happened to change my mind – no, my heart – or I’d give part of the plot away.
Somewhere in the last third of the book, I no longer just cared a little about Al - I was suddenly rooting for him. Blake had accomplished the toughest part about writing even when you have a likable main character – making the reader care what happens to him or her – and he did it in spite of starting out with a reprehensible human being. Al is ultimately redeemed, but in keeping with Blake’s style, not in an overly sentimental way. He doesn’t experience a gigantic epiphany and suddenly become good. He does what normal people do. He changes slowly.
I firmly believe Russell Blake will become a literary force, like Elmore Leonard or Walter Mosley. In the meantime, I’ll support him by purchasing his books and, as a writer, I will pay attention to his skill. It’s massive.