Dar Minor
Created by Dan Simmons

DR. DARWIN MINOR (thankfully, everyone just calls him "Dar") is an automobile accident investigator, the absolute best in the country, who reconstructs crashes for a firm specialising in uncovering insurance fraud.

Dar is a widower, his wife and child killed in an airplane crash he himself was called on to investigate. Of course. But then again, Dar does seem to be everywhere, and done everything. On Amazon.com, reader Bobby L Underwood likens Dar to "a cross between S.S. Van Dine's Philo Vance and TV's Thomas Magnum," and he's not far off. The good doctor's C.V. fairly reeks of Great Detective-ness: he was involved in the Challenger shuttle investigation, he's got a Ph.D in physics, he was a marine sniper; he plays chess by e-mail with eleven people at the same time, he's flies a plane, he spouts long mathematical equations and obscure literary quotations at the drop of a hat, and he's a world-class authority on classical music, architecture, guns, camoflage, and Lord knows what else. Oh, and he's got a really cool car that he tools around in, an Acura NSX that will do 160 mph. He doesn't walk on water, but I assume that's next.

In his one appearance to date, Darwin's Blade (2000), Dar is just motorvating along when a couple of Russian hit men in a Mercedes E 340 unsuccessfully try to take him and his car out of the game (maybe they should have tried Kryptonite). Except Dar isn't even sure what game it is they're trying to take him out of.

He becomes involved with Sydney Olson, an investigator for the California State's Attorney's Office, who's investigating a billion dollar insurance scam that seems to link to the Russian mafia, and somehow to Dar. And pretty soon everyone seems to get a hand in: the FBI, the LAPD, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, crooked cops, crooked attorneys, crooked insurance dealers, and a whole slew of murders. But even as the amount of violence increases, it's tempered with humour and wit and even romance. Okay, the humour may be a little dark, and the wit a little groan-inducing, but it's there. Trust me.

Oh, and the romance is between Sydney, possibly the only person on the planet who is as know-it-all as Dar. She actually understands everything he says, which is probably as good a reason as any to be glad they've found each other, and out of the dating game. Makes it easier on the rest of humanity.

Prolific, chameleon-like Dan Simmons has made a career of writing edgy, often disturbing fiction in several genres, penning often ground-breaking (and award-winning) works in fantasy (Song of Kali), science fiction (Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion) and horror (Summer of Night, A Winter Haunting). Hell, he's even done vampires! (Carrion Comfort). Lately he's set his roving eyes on pulpy crime fiction and thrillers, first with Darwin's Blade, and then with the Joe Kurtz books, about an ex-con P.I. on a mission of vengeance.


Preliminary report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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