52 pages 1 hour read

Lamar Giles

Fake ID

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2014

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Symbols & Motifs

Murder Mystery Character Tropes

Fake ID uses bases much of its worldbuilding on the expectations of noir detective fiction, a genre in which all the characters are flawed, morality is gray at best, loving relationships seldom work out, and the vulnerable protagonist is less than perfect. Nick’s description of Stepton as a faltering community, with polluting smokestacks on one side and an aborted new city hub just out of town is also a noir trope—a traditionally unappealing setting. Everybody in Stepton has a dark secret; no one is without a problematic past.

Giles populates the novel with classic types from noir thrillers. Nick is the antihero detective: brave, clever, willing to compromise his principles, in love with a girl out of his league, and hiding a criminal past. Reya is a more modern take on the damsel in distress: plucky, seductive, bright, but a target for trouble. Dustin is the sap who turns out to be the mastermind, warning Nick about danger and seemingly trustworthy until he is revealed to be behind all the murders. The minor characters also fill traditional roles. Zach is the meddlesome thug who interrupts the detective from an important task—as when Zach hits Nick with his SUV and kidnaps him.