Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On the making of a character

I have been asked by friends about the main character of the novel, Guillermo Lombardo. And here is a summary of the answers I have usually given:

Lombardo is based, physically at least, on a police captain who came to investigate the burglary of my office. He was a peculiar person for a Mexican cop. He wore a black mackintosh, had very dark hair and mustache, was very thin and dark skinned, spoke very little, and smoked those strong, cheap cigarettes known in Mexico by their brand, "Delicados", which means "delicate ones" (what a misnomer!)

He quickly saw that the burglary had been an "inside job" and guessed that one of the city policemen assigned to be night watchmen of the science center where I was director, had gotten drunk and had taken office equipment to hock and buy more liquor, so he quickly got my stuff back without any fuss or bother.

To the "framework", I added the demeanor and lifestyle of a police captain I was acquainted with when I was asked to trace the emails of the dean of a University who had left the country after being accused of fraud.

A friend of mine worked for the Public Ministry's computer department and when asked if he could trace the dean's emails he said he didn't have the expertise but that he knew who did: he directed them to me.

At the time, I was working as an independent computer network consultant and was setting up and ISP in Monterrey, Mexico. The cops came to me and asked for my help. That experience and the police inspector I met then, helped me round out Lombardo's character and demeanor.

I added a few things from my experiences and from things I heard here and there, and the man came alive.

1 comment:

  1. The arrest of the "Grim Sleeper", a serial killer linked to murders occurring over more than 20 year in South Los Angeles, confirms or rather substantiates what I argue in my novel: that is, that DNA evidence is proving crucial to police investigations.

    In the "Grim Sleeper" case, DNA samples gathered from a piece of pizza was used; in my novel, the detective finds cigarette butts that help him identify the culprits.

    I hope the "civil liberties" people don't make such a fuss as to disallow such evidence in criminal cases.