Monday, December 31, 2007

Meet the new post ...

It's not quite the same as the old posts, but it does shed light on them. Recent discussions on Detectives Beyond Borders here and here touched on authors who shift protagonists and point-of-view characters from book to book in a series, bringing minor or supporting characters forward into larger roles.

Damien Gay at Crime Down Under has just cited one such shift, in Kathryn Fox's novel Skin and Bone, whose detective protagonist had been a minor character in Fox's earlier work:

"[Fox] has moved the focus away from the forensic pathology side of criminalistics and moved to the coal-face of the homicide detective office in a police procedural story that twists behind a series of cunning facades."
I'd asked for examples of authors who changed protagonists. Damien shows the practical effect of one such change. Thanks, mate.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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7 Comments:

Blogger Dana King said...

I'm a little late to this party, but Robert Crais deserves mention. His latest, THE WATCHMAN, elevates Elvis Cole's sidekick, Joe Pike, into the protagonist seat with excellent results.

This is the first time Crais has used a previously subordinate character as the protagonist, but he has experimented with POV shifts and different angles to plots to keep the Cole/Pike series fresh and moving forward. He also writes occasional standalones, which I think also helps a writer to keep his approach to a series fresh.

December 31, 2007  
Blogger Maxine said...

Hi Peter, Happy new year to you.
I have not refreshed my memory from the previous posts and I don't want to give you apoplexy ;-), but Tess Gerritsen starts out her current series of novels with the police detective (Jane someone, who is pregnant in subsequent books) and pathologist Maura Isles as a secondary character, then Maura becomes the main protag in at least two subsequent books, with Jane as a secondary one.
I've given up reading Tess G now, but for a while that series was good, and the switch of perspective interesting.

December 31, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Welcome to the party, where no one is ever turned away no matter how late the hour. Thanks for the comments, and a happy new year to you both.

Elvis Cole has an interesting quirk (the yoga, the martial arts, welcoming a client fo his office while standing in his head), of which Crais makes good use in the one book of his I've read, Stalking the Angel. Does Crais retain this in the new book?

Tess G. may be a little overwrought, but I can still take a deep breath and calmly add her to the roster of authors mentioned in these discussions. I'll suffer no apoplexy on her account.

December 31, 2007  
Blogger Dana King said...

The Pike book doesn't get a lot of Cole's quirks, as he's a subordinate character. In all of the other Cole/Pike books, Cole's yoga habits are regular occurrences, either as part of his morning ritual, or to clear his mind. Highly recommended; it's an excellent series.

December 31, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Funny you should mention the regularity of Cole's yoga habits. I realized as I was typing my answer to your previous comment that Cole is not that eccentric a creation. He's just a basic, everyday character who happens to stand on his head a lot and like Disney figurines.

December 31, 2007  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

"He's just a basic, everyday character who happens to stand on his head a lot and like Disney figurines."

Well, yeah. You don't?

Hauoli Makahiki Hou!

January 01, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

I wouldn't be caught dead with a Disney figurine. Now, a Bart Simpson action figure is a different story.

January 01, 2008  

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