Friday, December 10, 2010

My Guy and His Gun

No, not the Hubster. My other guy, the one I spend hours with, just the two of us, while I hang on his every word. He's frustrating, challenging, and somewhat stubborn, plus I think he's mad at me right now. But he's something else, that's for sure.

His name is Trey Seaver -- we've been getting to know each other for seven years now. I wish I could put a photo of him up here, but since he's imaginary, you'll just have to use your, you know, imagination.

In the meantime, we can talk about his gun, which is almost as smooth as he is. Almost.

This is the Heckler and Koch P7M8. It's a nine-millimeter made in Germany, and it's one of the finest firearms you'll ever shoot. Or so I've been told. H&K stopped production in 2008, so they're hard to find now, and quite expensive (about $1200).

But oh, are they worth it. The H&K P7M8 is compact, accurate, and virtually jam-proof. Plus, its squeeze cocking mechanism makes it one of the safest guns ever made. Instead of a safety that switches on or off, the P7M8 requires that you squeeze the mechanism on the pistol grip (you can see it on the photograph to the right), which pulls back the firing pin. Release your grip, and the firing pin is safely disengaged. You can then drop it, toss it, kick it between the goalposts -- not a stray bullet in sight.

Most importantly, it kicks ass, and it kick it swiftly, efficiently, with style to spare. Which is exactly the kind of weapon my guy needed tucked up under his Armani suit.

One of the themes in The Dangerous Edge of Things is power -- how we get it, why we want it, how we fight tooth and nail to keep it. A gun is power condensed to its raw elemental nature. It makes us confront in direct, concrete fashion all the philosophical ideals surrounding individual freedom, societal obligation, and the value of a human life. One of my characters says that you'd better not pick up a gun until you're absolutely certain you know what you'll do with it -- and what you won't -- and that you'd better make that decision long before you MUST make that decision.

Guns are attractive, the P7M8 especially so. It's ergonomic, created  for the human hand, balanced for the human touch. It is an extension of everything humans are capable of, our fierce protective instincts combined with our predatory cunning. Guns make us ask hard questions, and they don't provide any answers. They just mutely do exactly what we tell them to do, nothing more, nothing less.

I'm not afraid of them -- I grew up around guns of all kinds, and I happen to find them quite beautiful. It's the human finger on the trigger that gives me pause. Guns don't scare me; people scare me. To my writerly ears, that sounds vaguely like a tag line from an NRA commercial. But it's the truth. When Trey pulls his weapon, he knows exactly what he will and won't do with it. I'm not sure that I do. So until I do, I think I'll let Trey be the one to carry the gun, not me.


  1. Wow. And you're such a poised southern girl. If anyone knew how dangerous you really are they would never ever try to get on your bad side...not that you have a bad side! :-P

  2. Methinks you are more into this gun than Trey is. I can feel your passion for Trey and his gun pouring out, sounds like when your book comes out you will be re reading it along with the rest of us.

  3. Laura, when I was growing up, knowing where the closest gun was hidden -- and if it was loaded -- was a big part of being poised. But thanks for not noticing my bad side.

    And yes, Joanna, I am more into this gun than my character is. It's utilitarian to him, but to me (writery person that I am) it's a great big symbol.

    I would LOVE to re-read this book with everyone -- that is such a cool suggestion. Let me know if you end up cracking it open.

  4. Tina, Lynn suggested I drop by your blog and I'm happy I did. Love the gun. When I was writing Twice As Dead, my thriller that's currently sleeping in a digital drawer, I got totally paranoid about doing research online. I was sure the FBI KNEW I was looking up guns, ammo, car bombs, and all that. For awhile a black helicopter kept flying up and down the shore outside my house. I knew he was up there checking to see what I was currently about to blow up. I certainly know what it's like to love your character (and his gun.) So exciting that your guy will soon be out in the world!

  5. Thanks, Ann -- I'm very happy to see another crime fiction writer who worries about how incriminating her Google searches could be. I'll testify in your behalf if you'll testify in mine -- tonight I'll be looking up how to rigged an explosive to a kitchen timer, plus decomp rates and some stuff about fatal stabbings.