TV Tropes in the Works of Joel Jenkins

This article comes courtesy of Morgan Abbott who has analysed my fiction with a far more ordered mind than mine, and compiled a list of tropes which occur in fiction (especially in TV).

Warning: This article is replete with Spoilers!

Creator / Joel Jenkins

  • Action Girl: A staple of Joel’s books. In fact, it is probably a small minority of his recurring female characters who are not Action Girls.
  • Anachronic Order: The Gantlet Brothers, Killingsworth and Lone Crow stories.
  • Anyone Can Die: A staple of Joel’s books, and how!
  • An Asskicking Christmas: All the tales written for the Pulpwork Press Christmas Specials
  • The Atoner: Frederick Whalen in Devil Take the Hindmost and Naegrik from the Dire Planet books, the latter who is a recovering cannibal
  • Author Appeal: Joel likes his guns and describes them especially well in his stories. He is also known for his descriptive and colourful prose, and for writing across multiple genres.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Max Damage, which in-story is the Anglicized version of Max’s French birth-name Maximillion Dommage.
  • Back from the Dead: Max Damage’s father Pierre, presumed dead when his yacht was caught in a hurricane, and later presumed even deader after an assassin bragged to have killed him, is surprisingly found alive and well living in a tropical paradise.
  • Badass Bookworm: Seth Armstrong of Damage Inc
  • Badass Crew: The Specialists, and the crew of The Scavenger in the Barclay Salvage books
  • Badass Family: The Gantlets in the Gantlet Brothers series naturally, and the Dire clan in the Dire Planet books.
  • Badass Longcoat: Damon St. Cloud wears one, filled with his vampire slaying gear.
  • Bar Brawl: Happened in several Gantlet Brothers stories
  • Battle Couple: Garvey and Ntashia Dire, especially in the first three Dire Planet novels. Also the werewolf husband and wife duo of Jack and Maura Scarlet.
  • Becoming the Mask: Monica Killingsworth adopts multiple identities throughout her stories and Monica Killingsworth itself is an alias she uses the most, presumably for business purposes.
  • Beneath the Earth: Lone Crow inadvertently enters the Hollow Earth in Gunmen of the Hollow Earth and Damage Inc enters this same realm during The Mother Earth Expedition
  • Betty and Veronica: Shawna and Amber in the Skull Crusher series.
  • Black Sheep: Seth Armstrong is considered this in his family.
  • Blessed with Suck: Max Damage’s incredible eyesight leaves him so sensitive to bright light that it blinds him and he must wear shades during the day. He also has a Photographic Memory but is dyslexic.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Damage Inc, the Gantlet Brothers, the gals of the Dark Star Detective Agency to name but a few
  • Bittersweet Ending Six-Gun Susannah Johnson dying at the end of the Eye of Ulutoth and Damon St. Cloud’s sacrifice at the end of Devil Take the Hindmost are just a couple
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Telepathic bonds form between Muvari couples in Dire Planet, sometimes even before they are a couple in the rare case of Garvey and Lana. Also Hank’s multiple eye stocks that provide him various types of perception in the Barclay Salvage series including infrared and x-ray vision.
  • Brains and Brawn: Many of Joel’s characters fit this description such as Sly Gantlet.
  • Building of Adventure: The Damage Inc Head Quarters
  • Bulletproof Vest: The Gantlet Brothers, Killingsworth and Damon St. Cloud all wear them, as well as full-length coats insulated with ceramic plates.
  • Carnival of Killers: Several Killingsworth stories feature bands of murderous cutthroats working at cross-purposes
  • Casino Episode: Five Rounds in Vegas
  • Cold Sniper: Killingsworth, most especially in the opening of The Christmas Eve Killers
  • Continuity Nod: All over Joel’s novels and short stories.
  • Cool Car: Max Damage’s tricked out Chrysler Prowler is probably the coolest
  • Cool Guns: A staple of Joel’s books include realistically detailed descriptions of firearms. Some notable cool guns include Matthias Gantlet’s .454 Cassul, Damon St. Cloud’s .50 calibur Desert Eagle, and Lone Crow’s eagle-butted Peacemaker. Also of note are all the imaginatively conceived futuristic guns featured in the Barclay Salvage series.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ikarian from The Ikarian Connection, Josephus Brand in The Madagascar Hole.
  • Crapsack World: Samuel and Katie struggle to survive on an earth overrun by hordes of flesh-eating zombies in their Zombie Apocalypse series.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Max Damage inherited a wealth of useful technological wizardry amassed over the years by his eccentric billionaire father. Monica Killingsworth also has various safe houses, weapons and expertly forged identification stashed about the globe.
  • Criminal Mind Games: Averted. The Gantlet Brothers mock Hal Alden’s pathetic attempts at lyrical cleverness when he leaves them a taunting note in Nuclear Suitcase
  • Crossover: It’s not quite so consistent as for there to be one entirely integrated “Weird World of Joel Jenkins,” but Joel enjoys throwing in a lot of relatively subtle cameos or shout-outs in his novels and short stories. Damon St. Cloud drinks a Sly Gantlet beer in Devil Take the Hindmost and as revealed in The Specialists, Dillon supporting character Wyatt Hyatt is apparently the inventor of the ClipPad device issued to Garvey by NASA in Dire Planet. Lone Crow has also had a couple of brushes with the Dire Planet universe, including a fight against two Sinthral that crash land on earth in It Fell from the Nighted Sky.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A running theme in the Gantlet Brothers novels and short stories culminating in Matthias attempting to finally break the cycle in The Christmas Hit by going so far as to fake his own death.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lone Crow and Killingsworth.
  • Doom Magnet: The Gantlet Brothers. They cannot go anywhere without mayhem and carnage fast ensuing. Their CIA ally Jensen once lamented about how much time and effort it takes to cover up their fiascoes, and that a full-time government team is required to spin the news.
  • Downer Beginning: Sold Out opens with the death of the youngest Gantlet Brother, who is blown to smithereens before a live concert audience.
  • Downer Ending: The Coming of Crow and Sold Out
  • Dream Team: John Velvet pulls together some of the most skilled and dangerous individuals on the planet in The Specialists.
  • ’80s Hair: The Gantlet Brothers, who are a hair metal band from the 1980’s
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Head Quarters of Damage Inc
  • Eldritch Abomination: Ulutoth and Bralkivenous to name a couple.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Jensen in the Gantlet Brothers series hides the fact that his first name is Cromwell, and has led those he works with to instead think it is Cole. After Sly pokes fun at this in front of his CIA partner Meriweather, Jensen addresses Sly in parting as Slatko, Sly’s true given name.
  • Episode on a Plane: The Mile High Killers.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Vietnamese crime family of Duoc Tang responsible for the deaths of Otto and later Fritz. They keep coming after the Gantlet Brothers until there is eventually little remaining of them except for Mai Tang, the 93-year old grandmother who from her nursing home bed manages to hire a biker gang to kill Matthias in retaliation for the deaths of her son and later grandson at the Gantlets’ hands.
  • Evil Overlord: The Warlord Shaxia in Dire Planet and Emperor Damian in the Skull Crusher series
  • Evil Twin: Max Damage met his evil clone in The Sea Witch.
  • Famed In-Story: The Gantlet Brothers are highly popular musicians complete with a gun-toting celebrity stalker in the form of Hal Alden
  • Female Gaze: Many women including Minnie are often checking out Max, and Courtney was quite taken aback when she saw Matthias with his shirt off in The Ikarian Connection.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Sly and Dillon. Matthias and Blake. Max, Minnie and Seth.
  • Five-Man Band: The Gantlet Brothers, literally.
  • Genius Bruiser: Strommand Greattrix who has a genius for battle.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Strommand Greattrix in Skull Crusher and Rise of the Skull Crusher
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Reporter Sasha Benbow St. Cloud is almost killed on numerous occasions investigating government and police corruption in Denbook.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Pretty much every protagonist in Joel’s books.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Gratuitous and vulgar profanity is nonexistent in Joel’s work.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: John Velvet’s American Intelligence Machine
  • Happily Married: Sly and Sheila Gantlet. Matthias and Courtney. And Garvey Dire and his steadily increasing number of lovely wives.
  • Hard Head: Matthias in Point of Destruction. An Islamic terrorist tries to punch him in the face when he is bound to a chair but gets a broken hand when Matthias lowers his head so the man’s fist impacts with his forehead instead.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mildly. Blake Hawkins starts out as a Punch Clock Villain, killing rival drug dealing gangs. He later becomes a stand-up good guy who Matthias can always rely on to have his back.
  • High School Sweethearts: Jake and Cassie in the Indoctrination of Cassie and The Teeth of Necropolis
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Joel introduces dozens of highly unique phrases and expressions in the Dire Planet books that are rooted in Muvari tribal history and culture.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Sved in Dire Planet.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Barclay Salvage series portrays the mind-bending chaos of warp jumps as so traumatic that special medicine (warpine tablets) are required to survive it.
  • Immortality Inducer: Formula 23 in the Damage Inc series restores a person’s youth and extends their lifespan if they keep taking it, and in Dire Planet books there is a serum derived from the glands of the monstrous vackri beast that can provide eternal youth.
  • Interspecies Romance: Aaron Barclay and Ursula Vench
  • Intoxication Ensues: Happens when Sly Gantlet tries to drink Dillon under the table in Deadbeat in La Esca.
  • It’s All My Fault: Strommand Greattrix in Skull Crusher blames himself for the slaughter of his family due to his careless indiscretions. Fritz Gantlet also blames himself for the death of his brother Otto in Sold Out when he fails to finish off a dangerous foe when he had the chance.
  • It’s Personal: In The Specialists when John Velvet supplies Sly with the identity of the man who killed his (first) wife and child. Also in Sold Out when the Gantlet Brothers set off to avenge Otto’s murder
  • Join or Die: Garvey is given the choice of joining the Muvari tribe or being thrown into a pit of fire. Spoiler: He chooses wisely.
  • Kill the Cutie: The death of Six-Gun Susannah Johnson.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Many of Joel’s protagonists are so noble and heroic they fit this metaphorical description. And Balin and Balan of The Island of Lost Souls are literally knights in shining armour.
  • Lady Land: Muvari society in Dire Planet is more than a bit matriarchal, with women in military command and doing almost all the fighting with the prized males being kept away from combat situations due to their scarcity. The technopriests are all women and are unwilling to allow even the renown Sar Savaht into their ranks.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The Dire Planet series has loads and loads, for sure.
  • Love Interest: A staple of the books. Quite a lot of Joel’s characters find love.
  • Macguffin: The Eye of Ulutoth is perhaps the most notable
  • Mad Scientist: Sar Savaht of Dire Planet and Dr. Valentine of Damage Inc to name but a couple
  • Male Gaze: Another staple of the books with many beautiful women that will only naturally draw a man’s eyes. Sly Gantlet notably has a photographic memory when it comes to shapely feminine figures, which he puts to good use in tracking down his brother’s killers in Sold Out.
  • Master Swordsman: Max Damage is an Olympic-class fencer. Fritz Gantlet is highly adept with a Japanese katana, and Ntashia and Lana Shar Dire are both accomplished swords-women.
  • Mexican Standoff: Matthias and Dillon get into one with Killingsworth toward the end of The Hard Luck Killers
  • Odd Friendship: Max and Seth. Garvey and Naegrik. Matthias and Blake. Sly and Dillon.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted. Gunshot wounds incapacitate and kill or nearly kill several main protagonists.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Well they don’t call him Max Damage for nothin’. Also the Gantlet Brothers, Monica Killingworth, and Strommand Greattrix would certainly all qualify.

    Playful Hacker: Otto Gantlet, who was quite the cyber prankster in his day. Also Wyatt Hyatt in The Specialists.

  • Police Are Useless: Averted with Officer Gregon who is the only detective on the Denbrook police force that Damon and Sasha are able to trust.
  • Power Trio: Max, Minnie and Seth who comprise Damage Inc.
  • Purple Prose: Joel’s prose can be as purple as a bruise under a bullet-proof vest.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Several times.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The crew of the Scavenger in the Barclay Salvage series
  • Rated M for Manly: Joel’s writing oozes pure concentrated testosterone.
  • Really Gets Around: Sly Gantlet…
  • Redemption Equals Death: In The Specialists, Whalen finally convinces a sceptical Dillon that he really has reformed only after selflessly taking a hail of bullets on Dillon’s behalf.
  • Religion of Evil: The Baalbrock worshipping cannibalistic Galbran to name one.
  • Rescue Romance: Matthias Gantlet and Courtney in The Ikarian Connection. Lone Crow and Abigail in Against the Gathering Darkness/Wyrm Over Diablo.
  • Rivals Team Up: Sly Gantlet and Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon team up on numerous occasions to fight common enemies.
  • ’70s Hair: The women of the Dark Star Detective Agency
  • Space Pirates: Loads of them in the Barclay Salvage novels and Ursula is an ex-pirate herself.
  • Shout-Out: Derrick Ferguson, Josh Reynolds and some of Joel’s other friends have turned up in his stories. Also Sar Savaht is named after Ras Thavas, the brilliant Martian scientist created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Barclay and Ursula
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sasha Benbow St. Cloud
  • Unusual Euphemism: Characters in the Dire Planet series often use “By Farona’s girth!” as an oath, and the Gantlet Brothers are known for the occasional German utterance.
  • The Smart Guy: Seth Armstrong
  • The Verse: Joel’s novels more or less share the same universe as Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon series. Frederick Whalen, who was one of the main antagonists in Dillon and the Voice of Odin later turns up in Devil Take the Hindmost where he begins his path toward redemption, eventually becoming a close ally to Damon and Sasha.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: The Gantlet Brothers have had their homes attacked many times and Killingsworth was once tracked down to one of her safe houses. Damon St. Cloud has special UV emitting lights installed outside his house in order to fend off vampires who might follow him home.
  • Walking Disaster Area: The Gantlet Brothers tend to leave them in their wake, usually strewn with lots of mangled, bullet-ridden bodies
  • Walking the Earth: Lone Crow’s adventures take him all across North and South America
  • Warring Natures: Jack Scarlett and his wife Maura have to contend with their cursed werewolf condition, especially on a full moon.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Lone Crow. He either attracts or is attracted to an endless stream of Weird.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Many of Joel’s protagonists continue to kick ass literally until the moment of death, and certainly some time after the moment of mere fatal wounding. These include Fritz Gantlet in Sold Out, Sly Gantlet in The Specialists, and Killingsworth after her fatal poisoning in Dead Blonde Walking.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: In the Samuel and Katie stories a zombie plague has erupted due to an re-engineered strain of Ebola. Also the Gantlet Brothers’ tour bus is assaulted by what the guys initially believe to be a horde of real-life zombies in One Night Near Black Rock
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