I’m often asked who is my favorite character I created and why? It’s a great question and I’m going to take Marty Cabot, Josh Haman and Derek van der Jagt out of the discussion because they’re in every book.

Sooooo, with three books out – Cherubs 2, Big Mother 40 and Render Harmless out and Forgotten scheduled to be released by the end of this month and Inner Look sometime in January 2017, I’m going to stay with the three that are published. As a teaser, Forgotten has one of my all time favorites but more about this individual in a later blog after the book is published.

Each of the characters listed have an internal conflict that affects their behavior. Here’s seven who may surprise you in alphabetical order by last name:

            Heinrich Grenfels (Render Harmless) – He was too young for World War II and there were things in his childhood that didn’t make sense or what he suspected, not told. Grenfels doggedly pursues the investigation of Dieter Stiglitz and Red Hand and is stymied mostly by a lack of evidence. Slowly but surely he finds out that Nazis are involved and it is not until the end, after Red Hand is put out of business does his mother come clean about her past and his ancestry.

            Stephen Higgins, (Cherubs 2) – After he graduated from Annapolis, he realized that the Navy and flying wasn’t for him. Now he’s stuck. He allows his internal anger at himself, his situation, the Navy for sending him to Southeast Asia and the war to warp his view of the world. Higgins is a martinet and his OCD about neatness is simply a symptom of what is wrong with him. In the end, it ruins his life. The rest of the Higgins story will play out future books.

            Alexei Koniev (Big Mother 40) – He’s disillusioned with the Red Army and the Soviet Union. He sees it as a failed state through the lens of the death his wife and daughter to a flu epidemic. In the back of his mind is how could a country that could put men in orbit fail to provide adequate medicine for a common disease. Koniev is brilliant at what he does but he is stuck in a world he does not like. Josh Haman, in the raid on Venom Base gives him a way out.

            Nguyen Thai (Big Mother 40) – He’s war weary, wounded, burned but still an effective leader. Thai is given a plum assignment but deep down, he knows his karma is that this base will ultimately kill him. Like Koniev, he’s got to deal with the pressures of their individual governments who have different agendas for what Venom Base is supposed to do. While the stated mission – shoot down American fighter-bombers – each government has a different interpretation on how it should be executed. It leads to conflict between he and Koniev, the base’s co-commanding officers.

            Friedrich Starkeholz (Render Harmless) – He was a policeman before World War II and captured in France in 1944 while he was a lieutenant colonel in an SS Panzer Grenadier division. Starkeholz was never associated with any war crimes and after the war, he is reluctant to associate with his SS comrades. Their values are no longer his and does not hesitate to bring them to justice.

            Klaus Von Ritter (Render Harmless) – He was a Fallshirmjäger (parachutist) in the Wehrmacht’s 1st Parachute Infantry Division which was one of the Wehrmacht’s most elite units, even more so that Hitler’s favorite SS panzer divisions. Von Ritter finishes the war honorably, but the only way he can make money is to become a mercenary before he joins the new post-war German army. After he retires, he still needs money and takes on work as an assassin for whom, he comes to realize are Nazis who are killing their political opponents. He likes the new, democratic West Germany and turns on his employer. Von Ritter is an honorable soldier who loses his moral compass, does some things he regrets and the rights the ship so to speak.

So why so many from Render Harmless? Actually, I could have added two more – Colonel Grünewald from the Stasi and Colonel Krasnovsky from the KGB – from that book. And, Rebekah Haman (Render Harmless) and Natalie Vishinski (Big Mother 40) along with another female character will be covered in another blog.

That’s the list. I could add more. And like I said, there are some in Inner Look and Forgotten that would make this list if it was written in about six months.

Marc Liebman

September 2016