I’m going to take a slightly different angle on this week’s question. Rather than discussing the hardest character to kill, I’m going to provide you with a useful tool that will help you determine for yourself just how death-defying your favorite character is. With the help of the Killability Index (trademark pending), you can judge for yourself whether it would be easier to kill Jack Reacher or Dave Robicheaux. How about James Bond or Harry Potter? Batman or Spiderman?
If Reacher were ever to apply for life insurance (which, of course, he would never do), these are the questions that the actuary might ask.
THE KILLABILITY INDEX
1. Do people firing weapons at you always seem to exhibit extraordinarily poor aim? Give yourself 10 points.
2. Are you able to survive a high-caliber bullet in the chest? 15 points (note: you may be the undead).
3. Do you have Special Ops training? 10 points.
4. Does it require a specialized weapon to kill you (i.e., wooden stake, silver bullet, etc.)? 10 points.
5. Do you wear prescription eyeglasses? Subtract 5 points.
6. Do you have a sidekick with a high Killability quotient (see Joe Pike)? 10 points.
7. Is there someone who considers you their “nemesis” or “arch-enemy”? Is there someone who you consider your “nemesis” or “arch-enemy”? Subtract 20 points.
8. Do you have a habit of sleeping with beautiful women (or men) who are affiliated with your nemesis or arch-enemy? Subtract 10 points.
9. Does your job involve the constant stress of jurisdictional turf wars (i.e., private eye vs. police, police vs. feds)? Subtract 2 points.
10. Do you have a superpower or paranormal ability that would allow for either early detection of, or rapid escape from, danger? 15 points.
11. Do you have any severe allergies or are there substances that have a debilitating effect on you (i.e., holy water, Kryptonite, garlic, crucifix)? Subtract 5 points.
12. Do your enemies have a tendency to “monologue” rather than getting down to the business of killing you? 10 points.
13. Are you the primary character in your book? 20 points.
14. Are you a character that appears in the book solely to convey information about how much danger the protagonist is in? Subtract 40 points.
80 – 100 points: Supreme Badass. However, your high killability number may be due to the fact that you are not, in fact, alive.
60-80 points: Tough Guy. A mere mortal, but not someone to be messed with.
40-60 points: Deer in the Headlights. You may be in over your head as the protagonist of a thriller, but you’re fairly likely to survive a mystery.
20 points or less: Toast. You do have not the makings of a lead character in a series. You are probably not even the protagonist. The only way that you’re going to survive more than one book is if you provide comic relief.