The Maraude Quandary
A serious question posed by one of critique partners (my very capable an honest brother, Chris “Mozzaratti” Keith) while reading Dale Pennington’s second mission in Astronomical.
The back ground (okay shoot me for the spoilers but it won’t matter if this is a problem!):
Dale has been forced into commission from a secret society who seems hell-bent to make him their next enforcer. He is career Air Force with several tours in Korea and Vietnam (story is set in 1974), and now sits as an active CO at one airbase while sitting as an adviser at another.. This society is forcing him to resign from his career stake to follow orders for them. He takes and extreme exception to this, because if he wanted to be ordered around he would still be flying.
His wife likes the obscene amount of money that these guys have offered.
All goes well during his first mission, to wipe out four heads of various drug cartels during a meeting at one of their humble villas in Colombia. But he decided it really isn’t for him and wants to stay at his position at the airbase. The Jerome Society does not take no for an answer. They order his own man (one of the guys he took with him to Colombia) to kidnap his family to ransom him to the next mission.
He is only to kill the “business man” in Hawaii and leave the rest of the family alone. Dale goes berserk and kills the entire household, including maids, gardeners… And even tortures the young mother of the house by threatening harm to her daughter. All before killing them too, then blowing the house to ruble with plastic explosives.
The back story, which was actually slated to be explained in the third book of the series, is he was shot down again (after Astro opening with a dogfight in Korea) in a helicopter in Vietnam and had to fight his way back to the allied line losing nearly all of the men he had just tried to rescue. The action did something to him (we know it as PTSD now) that broke him. He has a switch of sorts that under severe stress causes him to lose control of his evil massacring ways.
So my question is:
Would you quit reading a story if the guy you thought was the hero, turns out to be flawed beyond repair?