Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Who's Who in The Poksu Conspiracy

There has been an ongoing discussion the past few days on the subject of using a Cast of Characters in mystery novels. Some people think it's a great idea, others couldn't care less. My wife thinks I often have too many characters in my books. That could be true, but each  one has a specific purpose for being there.

I had thought about including a list a few times and finally decided to go through with it while revising my second Post Cold War thriller, The Poksu Conspiracy. My decision was based on the setting for most of the story, South Korea. With lots of strange Korean names, I thought it would help readers keep the characters separate.

When I mentioned the possibility on my Mystery Mania blog a few weeks ago, I received a positive response from quite a few readers. There were suggestions that the list be organized alphabetically as well as by categories. My colleague Jaden Terrell objected that labeling the last "Cast of Characters" would be "a blatant reminder that none of these people are real. It's a bludgeon to my suspension of disbelief." She suggested calling it a Who's Who.

That's what I've done. I decided there was no need to include people who only appear in only one chapter. That left me with 55 characters in my Who's Who. In the story, Burke Hill, the hero of Beware the Jabberwock, has become an official  of Worldwide Communications Consultants, an international public relations firm that is really a CIA spinoff. The Who's Who category breakdown includes:

Worldwide Communications Consultants
American Officials
South Korean Officials
Seoul Metropolitan Police Bureau
World War II Poksu Guerilla Group
North Korean Officials
Other Americans
In Hungary
Other Koreans

Since one of the main characters is a Seoul homicide detective, the book could be called half thriller, half Korean police procedural. It should be out in ebook format within the next couple of months.


Jean Henry Mead said...

And I thought I had too many characters. The book sounds fscinating, Chester. I can't wait to read it.

Earl Staggs said...

Thanks, Chester. I can see how this could be helpful if you have a large cast of characters.