Below is a look at my character, Cole Ustick, the star of my first detective novel, Slime Incorporated,\ Slime Incorporated is now available in paperback or for the Kindle. (available for a free borrow through the Kindle Lending Library for readers with Amazon Prime.)
Name Origin: Ustick Road is a major road in the Treasure Valley where I live. I thought it’d be fun name for a detective, so I named the character Johnny Ustick in “An Ounce of Prevention.” Andrea changed the detective’s first name to Cole. Cole Rd. is another major street in Boise and in fact the two roads intersect and I think of my character every time I drive by there. Most people just call him Ustick.
Cultural Background: The story is set in Boise, but Ustick wasn’t actually born there. Ustick was born and raised in Philadelphia for his first fifteen years. His mother had an Italian background while his father’s heritage is English with several generations of Ustick men having served in the Navy. Ustick didn’t join because of motion sickness and trauma over the death of his father.
He’s lived in Boise for a little less than 10 years. He doesn’t have a negative attitude towards the area. For the most part, it suits him with enough big city conveniences to keep him happy and with shows and concerts to go to but without the high crime or overcrowding. He doesn’t look down on Boise, but sometimes the ways of Idaho’s capitol do amuse him.
Position: As the book opens, Cole works for Jerry Newton, private detective and decorated former Boise Police detective. Newton’s style of tends to be very methodical while Ustick tends to be more inventive, intuitive, and look for shortcuts. While Newton tends to be very much a straight arrow, Ustick will be more willing to try something deceptive or sneaky to achieve his ends. The two have a close relationship and their often snipping at each other is just part of their relationship.
Look and Mannerisms: Ustick’s usual outfit is a suit but often wearing a Color like plum, or or orange. Part of the look was inspired by Timothy Hutton’s portrayal of Archie Goodwin where he wrote a lot of vibrant and very colors. I’ve seen these sort of things in other places do. Nampa Mayor Tom Dale actually had a band and they wore similarly colored suits. I was also inspired by someone I worked with who regularly wore fun suits.
Ustick has longer hair. Initially, I imagined it as red, but when I mentioned this to a couple of ladies, I got negative feedback when I described some of the outfits because the hair and the outfits would clash. I opted black hair which goes better with most clothes.
He chews gum frequently, though Newton doesn’t allow it around clients or potential clients. Ustick loves music of most types (not really into rap or most 90s music) and if he’s not doing anything in particular, he’ll have music of some type playing in the background.
His smart phone is his constant companion and if he is waiting somewhere he’ll probably be doing something on his phone such as playing Angry Birds.
To learn more, check out Slime Incorporated, available now in paperback or for the Kindle.