The “Point” offers some genuine bad guys–organized crime figures, a couple of corporate do-badders, a sleazy labor consultant and a politician compromised by ambition. I tried to present these “villains” as nuanced or complex human beings without romanticizing them as the Mafiaso are in “The Godfather.” I tried to avoid taking cheap shots at characters with bad-guy flaws. I did take some shots, however.

My good-guy characters tend to break down under the weight of circumstances, ambition, secrets and bad decisions.

I also have characters who reverse their trajectories or find strengths previously unknown. A mine superintendent risks his career to save trapped miners; his widow joins a wildcat strike to stop a production speed-up that caused the disaster. I like characters who surprise me.

Villains are needed in crime fiction. But if you ask me about genre, I think “Point” is a love story. The sequel may provide a happy ending.