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Do all protagonists have to be GOOD guys?

Protagonist…Good or Bad?
Luke Murphy

My very first adult novel was CUJO by
Stephen King (what were my parents thinking? LOL). Like I said, I’ve never been
a horror fan, but King in a genius. That book scared the bejesus out of me, but
it was an exceptional read and it brought me in touch with a side that thrilled
me. Being scared or frightened is an emotion that appealed to my inner being
and I craved more.

They don’t make good horror movies like
they used to, but every now and then I like to watch a horror movie to connect
with my youth. I know, weird, eh?

So my real question is: Do all protagonists
have to be GOOD guys?
We’ve all read books about zombies, ghosts, ghouls and
brutal serial killers as antagonists, but what about protagonists? Is the term “bad
protagonist” an oxymoron?

One of my favorite shows on TV is Dexter.
What would you call him? Is rooting for a serial killer such a bad thing?

That’s what I had in mind when I first sat
down to write my début novel, DEAD MAN’S HAND.

Dead Man’s Hands is a crime-thriller set in
the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. It takes readers inside the head of Calvin
Watters, a sadistic 
6’5”, 220 pound African-American, Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a
murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy. He’s not a man to be taken lightly or a book for the faint of heart.

When thinking about creating the main
character for my story, I wanted someone “REAL”. Someone readers could relate
. Although it is a work of fiction, my goal was to create a character who
readers could make a real connection with.

Physically, keeping in mind Watters’ past
as an NCAA football standout and his current occupation as a Vegas leg-breaker,
I thought “intimidating”, and put together a mix of characteristics that make
Watters appear scary (dreadlocks, patchy facial hair, body covered in tattoos),
but also able to blend in with those of the social elite.

His every movement is done with precision
and a slowness that dramatizes his actions. As he’s torturing his victims when
collecting debts the atmosphere is built up by where the scene takes place. His
“workshop” has been created to scare his prey. His methods are brutal, and he
has a 100% rate of collection.

Do you think this is someone you could root
You’ll have to read it to find out, but I would bet on it. 
Because my story takes place in Las Vegas,
I wanted the book cover to have an element of gambling, but also show the callousness
of the slayings.

The term DEAD MAN’S HAND originates from
the Wild West. Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down in a saloon while playing
poker. The four cards he was holding at the time of his death were: 2 Aces and 2
Eights, and the fifth card was undetermined. Ever since that day, a card hand
consisting of Aces and Eights has been known as the “Dead Man’s Hand”
 – aces and eights and poker chips laid out on a poker
table, with a bloody knife—the weapon of choice for the psychotic killer in the


What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted
fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las
debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police,
finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent
casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale
Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the
largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To
redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer,
while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a
professional assassin hired to silence them.
Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with
his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey
before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports
columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree
(Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was
released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

Other posts by Lee Murphy on WWBB