Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday's Thugs: When Good Guys Turn out Bad

How do you feel when the people you expect to heroic turn out to be the thugs? We've all seen it done in real life and fiction. It isn't hard for me to believe in rogue cops. After all, I live in Lexington, home of the Bluegrass Conspiracy. Freewheeling practices with undercover police in the 1970's drug trade did a lot of damage to the reputation of the Lexington-Fayette County Police. In the era when I write, the Lexington Police were up to their eyeballs in graft and corruption. Many officers and city officials were members of the Klan. Still, there are times when I just hate what a writer does with their heroes.

One of the most disappointing turns in a story involved Thomas Harris' character Clarice stopped chasing Hannibal and joined him in cannibalism. Really? After all she had done to stop Hannibal, Harris has them join forces? What was he thinking?

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the tarnished badge as a plot line. Some of the best thugs have been wearing a uniform. L.A. Confidential did a wonderful job with bad cops as the villains. What I hate is when the good guys turn bad. For me, taking someone who has done years of fighting crime and turning them to the "dark side" is a disappointment I won't forgive. Write your plot that way if you must, but as a reader, you've lost me.

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