Thursday, August 4, 2011

Who is the kick-ass hero your protagonist aspires to be?

The man whose conscience is clear will never fear a knock on the door at midnight.
- Chinese proverb

In the opening of MIDNIGHT FEAR, my second book in the Chasing Evil trilogy, FBI agent Reid Novak is a man facing a crisis. He and his partner have tracked a serial killer and his would-be victim to an abandoned factory on the Potomac. Reid has to make the decision to shoot the killer - and risk also shooting the victim, who's being used as a human shield - or to let things play out in hopes the killer will let the hostage go.

What happens in that building will haunt Reid for the rest of his life.

You see, more than anything, Reid aspires to be the best officer and best person he can be. Soft-spoken and fiercely intelligent, a profiler for the FBI, Reid has no aspirations to embody a Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson-type character. He leaves that "kick ass" component to his partner, Mitch Tierney, who's as big as a defensive lineman for the Washington Redskins and as intimidating as a mafia don. Mitch would be the one with the Dirty Harry movie posters on his wall. He's the yin to the thoughtful Reid's yang, and together they make a good team.

In fact, if Reid aspires to be like anyone, it's his father, Ben Novak, a retired vice detective with the Washington, D.C., police. Ben had a long and successful career in law enforcement. He put a lot of bad guys away and was well-liked and respected by his peers. He did things by the book, just like Reid, and he continues to have a big influence on his son's life.

There's a Chinese proverb that says "The man whose conscience is clear will never fear a knock on the door at midnight." The problem is, Reid's conscience isn't clear, due to what happened that fateful night in that dilapidated factory building. There's something else also weighing heavily on his mind - a woman named Caitlyn Cahill whom he pressured into helping find evidence to put her serial-killer brother away for life, no matter the cost to her. The same serial killer Reid ultimately tracked to that factory building. And, when a copycat killer emerges intent on revenge and with Caitlyn in his sights, Reid's conscience goes into overdrive.

For those who chase evil as an occupation, sometimes snap decisions have to be made that can save a life or take one. Reid aspires to make the right decisions, and to not let the wrong ones destroy him.

Sometimes that's not so easy to do.

Leslie Tentler is the author of the Chasing Evil trilogy for MIRA Books. MIDNIGHT FEAR was released August 1. For more information, visit


Meredith Cole said...

Thanks for being our guest on Criminal Minds today, Leslie! Your book -- and main character -- sounds intriguing. And congrats on your recent release.

Pamela Mason said...

That's one of the things I'm loving on this series - the quiet integrity of your heroes who just want to do their job and get everybody out alive & relatively unscathed.

Nice site! Thanks for the post & good luck with Midnight Fear. Can't wait for the next one to release.

Kelli Stanley said...

Leslie, thanks for guesting today!! Big congratulations on MIDNIGHT FEAR (great title!!) and hope it flies off the shelves!! :)

leslie tentler said...

Thanks, everyone for having me and sorry for the late response. I'm on the road right now with promotional work and just now found an Internet connection (thank you, Panera Bread!) Pamela, I'm so glad you picked up on the integrity aspect - that's been an important theme for me with each of these books.