Published by High Fever Books on February 6, 2018
Genres: Creature Feature, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Lovecraftian, Sci-Fi, Thriller
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Two Sides of a Coin
In fiction, a hero is only as good as the villain. Some of my favorite good guy-bad guy dynamics are ones in which they’re reflections of one another, two sides of the same coin. Batman is grim and serious, while the Joker is outlandish and loud. Sherlock Holmes uses his investigative prowess to solve crimes, while Moriarty is manipulating his own acts of evil genius.
I wouldn’t presume to put Antoine DeWitt and Jon Dangle on the same pedestal as either of these
more famous and beloved examples, but their relationship is built on a similar dynamic. Both are placed into extreme situations out of loyalty to their families.
When Antoine receives one of those scammy Money Carlo flyers in the mail, he responds to it out of sheer desperation and the underlying hope that he can get some easy, and much needed, money to help his family. He’s not prepared for the nightmare awaiting him when he steps foot on Jon Dangle’s car lot, but once he’s finally in the thick of it the promise of returning to his family is the only thing that keeps him going.
Dangle, meanwhile, is a keeper of deep, dark secrets. In some ways, these secrets keep him just as trapped as poor, unwitting Antoine. If he’d been born into a different family, who knows what Jon could have become. But he’s been dealt a bad hand, and his family, and the circumstances surrounding his bloodline, have ensnared him in an unwinnable scenario all its own.
I don’t think Antoine and Dangle could have, or ever would have, become friends in different circumstances. I don’t imagine they’d ever fall into orbit close enough to one another to share a beer. But, in a different place, at a different time, I do believe they would have one hell of a discussion about family, and the price we pay, and the lengths we go to, to keep our loved ones safe. I’m sure they could find plenty of common ground on this topic, despite coming from two very different worlds and backgrounds.
Family unites both of these men, but it is also what separates and divides them.
Family, ultimately, is what places them on opposite sides of the same spinning coin.