We asked Anthony Award-winning thriller author Chris Holm about how he crafts brilliant sidekick characters and what their most important qualities are.
I’m tempted to say loyalty—but from a writerly point of view, I think the most important quality in a sidekick is that they serve as a good foil for the protagonist. Left to his own devices, my protagonist—Michael Hendricks—is a prickly, self-destructive loner. His sidekicks—Lester in The Killing Kind
and Cameron in Red Right Hand
—are funny, sociable, and surprisingly well-adjusted given the circumstances in which they find themselves. (I’d like to think they’re also quite different from one another.) Each injects their story with an interesting friction that’s fun to write, and hopefully to read. Each sees the good in Hendricks, and refuses to let him give into his darkest impulses.
Discover Chris Holm’s Michael Hendricks Series:
Book 1 of 2
Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he’s not so bad a guy. Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks now makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts–he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he’ll make sure whoever’s coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill set to make a living–but a great way to make himself a target.
Book 2 of 2
When viral video of an explosive terrorist attack on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge reveals that a Federal witness long thought dead is still alive, the organization he’d agreed to testify against will stop at nothing to put him in the ground. FBI Special Agent Charlie Thompson is determined to protect him, so she calls the only person on the planet who can keep her witness safe: Michael Hendricks. After teaming up with a young but determined tech whiz, Cameron, Hendricks reluctantly takes the job. Of course, finding a man desperate to stay hidden is challenging enough without deadly competition, let alone when the competition’s shadowy corporate backer is tangled in the terrorist conspiracy playing out around them.