Pufferfish's personality vies with a compelling tale of police corruption and a grisly killing for the reader's attention. Here's Heineken, the story's first-person narrator as well as its protagonist, on an out-of-state police chief whose first goal, Heineken suspects, is to protect his own rear end:
"(H)e's a class-A manipulator, a wielder of power, an enjoyer of authority. ... He looks inordinately clever -- based on a very quick brain -- and violently incapable of being wrong."
Owen's unusual word combinations -- "enjoyer of authority", "violently incapable of being wrong" -- lend a menacing edge to what in a less gifted writer's hands might be a stock character: the scheming boss. The character is a bit player, but those few short words make him memorable.
I said Heineken's personality vies with the corruption plot for the reader's attention. In fact, they complement one another nicely. Sure, Heineken's clashes with authority are a nice character quirk, but they also add an edge. Each shifty-eyed suit upon whom Pufferfish vents his contempt could be a dangerous man, a drug trafficker, a killer.
© Peter Rozovsky 2006
humorous crime fiction
Australian crime fiction