Reece Whelan isn’t the unrepentant bad boy he appears to be. He’s a confidential informant (also referred to as a CI – a rat, snitch, or narc) selling out drug dealers to the police. Informants are often embedded within a criminal network, or involved in illegal activities, giving them access to privileged information that might not be otherwise accessible to police. But just because they cooperate with law enforcement doesn’t necessarily make them one of the good guys.About Nearly Gone:
According to a deputy I interviewed while researching the story, CI’s typically become informants for two reasons: 1) they need money, and 2) they need to get out of trouble. Which meant Reece needed a pretty complicated (and criminal) backstory. And herein was my biggest challenge in creating his character. How could I make this guy likeable? What was it about him that would make him attractive to a discerning strong heroine? In Reece’s case, there had to be a third compelling reason he was narcing… Redemption.
He had to regret his past. He had to be making up for some terrible mistake that rattled him to his core. One that indebted his conscience to a dangerous future and made him re-evaluate who he wanted to be. He needed to be redeemable in Nearly’s eyes, but also in the eyes of the reader. And yet, to the rest of the world, he still had to fit in to the subversive life he wanted to escape from. To blend in, he’d have to look like a dealer and act like a criminal, which meant he wouldn’t be the kind of person Nearly would fall for easily.
I built Reece’s character around Nearly’s, at first. I knew I needed him to be very different from her – someone she would never choose to spend time with, or even be attracted to, if circumstances weren’t pushing them together. Where she was very rigid and cautious, I needed him to be fluid and reckless. Where she tried to be unseen, Reece needed to draw attention. I knew he wore tattoos and piercings, and I knew his name. When I began searching for the perfect tattoo for his character, I found the legend of the thistle, and his backstory evolved from that metaphor.
The story of Reece’s thistle – who he was and what he did -- is one you’ll have to unravel on your own.
Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school--a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.
Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon--she'll be next.
About Elle Cosimano:
Elle Cosimano grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the daughter of a prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rides a Harley. She majored in psychology at St. Mary's College, Maryland, and set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She lives with her husband and two sons. Nearly Gone is her first novel.
Nearly Gone is out now!