Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Who is Stanley Bentworth?

Observe three book covers to the left, On the Street Where You Die, A Dead Ringer, and Clueless: The Pantyhose Slasher Cases. They are a series of e-book mystery novels about Stanley Bentworth, the soft-boiled detective. Click a cover, and see the e-book's Amazon listing.

This series is an exercise in writing a character that you would dislike on first impressions if you met him. The narrative is first-person past tense, so a reader is told the story from the perspective of the detective. I hope that you come to like him, but it isn't easy to draw readers to a character who exhibits so many social problems, which might explain why one blogging book reviewer gave the first two books in the series medium-grade scores. (The few readers who reviewed these books seem to like them.)

Here are his flaws, which his own words and his dialogue with other characters reveal.
  1. Stan isn't tough. He never starts fights, much less wins them. That might be a positive trait for a different character, but detectives are supposed to be tough. Not Stan.
  2. He's a drunk and a chain smoker, his good intentions notwithstanding.
  3. He's a slob, wearing whatever he finds in his closet or in a heap on the floor.
  4. He has a big mouth, dropping smartass comments whenever, wherever, and to whomever he wishes, whatever the occasion and no matter the consequences.
  5. His worse trait? He is a sexist, treating the ladies in his life from a purely sexual perspective. He is capable of love, but he tends to attract women he cannot love but that look good. Every time he falls in love and acts on it, the relationship comes to a bad end.
  6. He is drawn to people of questionable character. His best friend is a professional hit man.
That's Stanley Bentworth. How can you not love a guy like that?

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