One-time major players are in black letters
Recurring ones are in
Richard Carter, the wounded
Like most men and women thrust into the horrible crap shoot of combat,
he has emerged both bloodied and bowed. He sees himself as a once-decent man who has done something unforgivable, something
for which atonement is impossible. Yet, he still wants to make a difference and dreams of a career in the FBI—a dream
never to be realized.
Jill Belbenoit, the French coed
A young woman of modest means from Brittany,
she has come to the land of her maternal grandfather to finish her education at Pere Marquette University in Michigan.
Unwilling to give up her dream and disappoint the maiden aunt who raised her, she refuses to return to her native country
when she finds herself in a frightening situation. Two potentialy violent men seem to be fighting over her. Tough, intelligent,
and usually very perceptive, she finds that the most frightening thing of all is one's own uncertainty.
Mic Boyd, the alpha male
Unlike Richard, he was the perfect soldier: smart, fearless, and uncursed by
second thoughts or self-doubt. In Somalia, he seemed totally comfortable with violence, mayhem, and death. In
fact, he relished them. He comes to Cartier and presumes a friendship with Richard that never was.
Marta Florez, a friend of Jill's from Merida, Mexico.
Because of their friendship, she is drawn deeply into the craziness that evolves.
Richard Carter, the
A governor's pardon saved him from prosecution for murdering
a serial killer. He and wife Jill move to southwest Missouri to escape their "celebrity" in Michigan. Richard is
adrift, both vocationally and emotionally. He is is danger of losing his sanity and his wife until the plight of a young mother
with a missing baby gives him something to obsess on other than his guilt.
Jill Carter (Jill
Belbenoit) the wife and saviour,
Jill thinks a regular job and routine will exorcise his demons from Somalia. She longs to have the kind of family she was
deprived of as a child, but she also wants a career. She is working on her doctorate, plans to teach at a prestigious university,
do historical research, and perhaps publish. Her main concern, however, is her damaged husband.
Randolph, young single mother whose baby daughter Mancie is missing. A recovering drug addict, she sees Richard as
her godsend when he agrees to do what the police refuse to do: look into the abduction of her baby.
Reese Adams, James Mill policeman who is convinced that Molly is covering up for a boyfriend
who killed her child.
Sarah Rafferty, P.I and former Marine.
She gets upset because Richard's private and amateurish investigation is "crossing" her own on behalf of a wealthy
Richard Carter, The road deputy
It is a far cry from the FBI career he once dreamt of, but Richard finally lands a job in law enforcement when he becomes
the lowest level of full-time deputy for the Hawthorn County Sheriff's Department. The job gives him a daily routine and a
feeling of usefulness, and he comes to love the sleepy Ozark community of Blue Creek. However, he can't escape the feeling
that he has exiled his wife to the sticks, depriving her of a career at a prstigious university.
Richard's background see Bonne Femme above)
Jill Carter, the associate professor.
Jill has a job for which she is over-qualified, but in which she
is satisfied, professor at Blue Creek Community College. Richard suspects that she is wasting her talents and sacrificing
her career in an attempt to keep him from succumbing to the depression from which he suffers. He fails to realize that she
has made her choice and is comfortable with it. What she is not comfortable with is Richard's obsession with a murder case
to which he is not assigned—especially when it seems to leave no time in his life for her.
background see Bonne Femme above)
Shively is Richard's straight-laced, but politically savvy boss, perennially elected Sheriff of Hawthorn County.
He is a huge man, as rural sheriff's often are since they must look the part. He is utterly incorruptible.
Bobby Lee Paget is a spree killer
with ties to the Oregon Freemen, a separatist militia organization.
Joshua (formerly US Senator Josh Leland) is the charismatic leader of the Wilderness Church at Canaan Camp in Hawthorn
Raven Bliss, is a young woman
with a nightmare of a childhood who is trying to salvage her life in the camp. She sees the Wilderness Church as her
family, and almost worships Father Joshua.
is a young man trying to do likewise. He loves Raven, although she cannot give him what he most wants from her.
Carl Hoag, is
a doctor who runs the Blue Creek Clinic. He is a Vietnam vet and former POW who came to the hills for either fishing or absolution
(he hasn't decided which). He is a friend of Richard's
and an informal father confessor for Jill. He tries to get Richard to attend group sessions with him.
Mirabelle Carter, is born at
the conclusion of Canaan Camp. She is named after Aunt Mirabelle, who was Jill's "mother,"
mentor, and role model. Little Mirabelle is, of course, a genius. Ask her father.
Richard Carter, The
A three-fold cord is not easily broken.
Richar came fro the trauma of war needing a lifeline. Now he has a strong one. Along with his new part-time assignment as
detective and CSI, he has a supportive wife and a baby daughter. The family and his job keep the dark times to a minimum and
the ghostly boy soldier at bay—most of the time.
Jill Carter, mother, confidant, friend, lover, and career woman
Jill has settled into her role as mother with the
same diligence that she employs as professor and wife. She is ambivalent about Richard's occupation, but sees that it is something
he must do if he is to remain whole. Fiercely determined that daughter Mirabelle will have a real family with the requisite
number of fully functioning parents, she is less tolerant of Richard's obsession with his job. Now she is Raven's mentor,
as her Aunt Mirabelle was to her.
Carter, baby girl who shows every sign of being a genius just like her mother. If you don't
believe it, ask her father.
Guidry is a newly-hired deputy from New Orleans with extensive homicide experience. He
is profane, irreverent, and grates on many people's nerves. Given his extensive professional experience, why has he
fetched up in a place like Hawthorn County?
octogenarian mortician, perennially-elected Hawthorn County Coronor
Harold Porter is a recently paroled murderer who has returned to his home after
more than twenty years. He is a man out of time, friendless, and as far as the modern world is concerned, clueless.
Raven Bliss, babysitter who lives in a cabin the Carters
have bought on Blue Creek where they will run a canoe rental in the coming year.
Sanders, he lives with Raven and does repair work for the Carters as well as house-sitting the cabin. He and
Raven have an unusual relationship.
forty-something redneck sawyer (turns logs into rough lumber at a local sawmill). He and his running buddies dip snuff, drink
beer, shoot nine-ball, ogle women half their age, and observe "Hillbilly Holy Week" (deer season). He has strong
opinions, but as Shug says, "thinking ain't Stevie's strong suit."
The King Snake
the nominal criminalist
The events surrounding the case of Harold Porter have forced the Carters to move
into a small cabin on Blue Creek from which they run their canoe rental. Living with them is a young couple who were house
sitting for them, Raven Bliss and Shane Sanders. Richard finally gets a "major case" to work when he joins a multi-county
drug task force. As he investigates a series of murders along with a new friend from Ripley County, tragedy strikes, threatening
to undo years of repair to his psyche and plunge him into depression. Once again, Richard does what he does: he drives himself
to the point of exhaustion and obsesses on the case. Richard is not brilliant, certainly not as brilliant as his wife, but
he is persistent. It is his one strength.
Jill Carter, supermom and pole star
Jill is adept at handling her various roles; professor,
wife and mother, mentor to two young friends, as well as accountant and manager for the Carter's fledgling canoe rental business.
Ambivalent about her husband's job, she wishes she could feel the unqualified support and pride that her friend Katreen has
for her own cop husband. Don't think for a moment, however, that Jill and Richard have grown apart. They are closer than ever.
They will need to be.
Mirabelle Carter, two-year-old who is learning to manipulate
her doting father.
Shug Shively, Ron Guidry, and
Carl Hoag (see above).
Scott Berman, Deputy sheriff from
Ripley County who heads up the drug task force. He is a man after Richard's own heart, who wants to make a difference. He
sees law enforcement as a calling.
Katreen Berman, Scott's wife and mother to their son Scotty. The diminutive woman
is a stay-at-home mom. Unlike Jill, she has no reservations about her husband's occupation.
Pollard, insurance adjuster and computer whiz. Extremely bright police wannabe who is a friend of the Bermans and
an unpaid consultant for the task force.
Roger Gowen, suspected drug importer and "wholesaler."
He owns a slew of vending and video machine businesses along with convenience stores and truck stops. Because of the large
amounts of cash his businesses take in, he is suspected of money laundering for even "heavier hitters."
Arkansas resident who used lottery jackpot money to realize his lifelong dream of running his own newspaper, a scandal sheet
called The Wilderness Voice. His accusations of police corruption cause no end of consternation. He dubs the sniper "The
Bonnett, Ripley County deputy and former girlfriend
of Roger Gowen.
Tony Kincaid, Ripley County deputy carrying on an affair with Gaile Bonnett.
Call Her Sabine
Hawthorn County deputy and nominal
Two unrelated women drown in mysterious circumstances
in separate places. There seems no connection. When a coed goes missing during her morning jog, Richard gradually becomes
convinced that she has either been kidnapped or killed. Trying to pin down the last day she was seen and interviewing her
known acquaintances, Richard encounters a motley of odd-ball characters.
Jill Carter, life
partner and love of Richard's life.
She is the rock and sustainer
of the family, the repository of good sense. She manages her husband's obsessive/compulsive investigation, and even plays
a part in his investigation.
their precocious three-year-old daughter.
Charlie Fouts, athletic coed from
Blue Creek Community College last seen on her morning jog.
She is being held by an unseen person whom she calls "The Freak."
As Richard investigates the circumstances of her disappearance, Charlie conducts her own investigation from the inside, beginning,
like Richard, with a reconstruction of her morning jog.
Shug Shively, Ron Guidry, Clarence Greer,
Carl Hoag, Shane and Raven Sanders (see above)
Mavis Parish, Charlie's former
roommate and close friend. She reports Charlie's disappearance
Sharon Kent, woman found drowned in Saeger Pond
Bryan Sutton, former boyfriend of Charlie Fouts. They
recently broke up
Clint Hastings, classmate of Charlie Fouts
art professor at BC College
Cyrus Hopewell, physics professor at BC.
from a weather monitoring station he runs, he helps Richard determine a time line for Charlie Fouts' jog on the morning she
disappeared. He is destined to play a role in Road Shrines.
Steward, owner of Perfect Details, a self-described antique replicater.
Tink Johnson, eccentric veterinarian. Both Sharon Kent and Charlie Fouts worked
for him and his wife Blossom