The dictionary defines a bully as a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. Synonyms for a bully are a tyrant or an oppressor. Because of his very nature, a bully is an unwelcome person in any venue. His or her very presence spoils the fun. A bully requires that attention be paid to his or her every move in order to ward off all advances. Protective forces need to be in play when a bully is in the room. In short, most people despise bullies.
However, in the best thriller novels a bully needs to be present in order for the hero of the story to shine through. In John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” the bully is Curley, a man so mean and despicable that he didn’t rate a first and last name. Just Curley. This is a diminutive man who suffers from the “little man syndrome.” As a result, in his position as son of the boss, he feels that he can bully the employees. He especially enjoys bullying Lennie, a mentally challenged worker. Had Curley, the bully, been left out of “Of Mice and Men,” the novel would have lost its intensity. A bully’s actions trumped kindness in creating the suspense in this novel.
In “A Moving Screen,” Michael, the serial killer is a bully. He uses strength and power to subdue his victims so that he can kill them in an unimaginably horrible fashion. He roams cities in the metropolitan Atlanta area for different jurisdictions to dispose of his victims, in order to keep police in the dark. Dennis Cane is a detective who is a bully when it comes to tracking and convicting murderers. Without Dennis Michael would continue to escape justice. He makes it impossible for anyone to stop him. The reader instinctively hopes that Dennis will. Michael is the spark of suspense and thrill needed to make “A Moving Screen” fit the category of a best thriller novel. The fact that the lead detective is a bully on crime makes life difficult for the serial killer in this novel. Bullying trumps complacency!