Yes, thrillers are supposed to be serious, and, yes, I wanted ET to be considered a serious thriller, but still I put some humor in the book. Why?
Well, for starters I didn’t create the character of Rulon with the intention of making him humorous, but as the character evolved the humor just came naturally. First, Rulon doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s easygoing and uses humor to defuse situations, but he also has an ironic side to him and just naturally sees the funny side of things. Here’s an example: When Rulon first runs into Yohaba, she is working in a money laundering operation masquerading as a luggage store. He already knew the store was in the red, but when he is treated rudely by Yohaba, he quips to himself that there might be another reason the store was losing money. A little dry, a little subtle – but that’s Rulon.
Also, Rulon is good at the humorous repartee. At their first meeting in Yohaba’s apartment, Dmitry, Rulon’s Russian protagonist, offers Rulon a job. But then later, at the Desperado Mexican restaurant, after Dmitry has learned that Rulon has sent several members of his team to the hospital, Dmitry menacingly rescinds his job offer. But Rulon asks Dmitry if he can afford to be so picky given his spate of recent job openings. Again, a little dry.
In any case, the humor doesn’t overpower the book, but it’s there and hopefully gives readers one more reason to keep reading to the end.
My next posting will be on two of my favorite thriller writers: Barry Eisler and Martin Cruz Smith.
Zurich, March 28, 2011