I was writing down some things about the Bad Guy when suddenly, the ending came to me and I jotted it down in rough outline. Now, I already knew that the BG and Joshua would tangle in the end, but I did not know any of the real underlining motivations for it.
My villain suffers from the misguided notion that he is smarter than anyone else. After all, he can kill people with code and nobody can figure out how he did it. Once he’s crossed over that mental bridge, he has disassociated everyone from himself. He lives in a universe where only he really exists. He is also insanely jealous of the success of others. After all, if he’s so darn smart, how come he doesn’t have so much success?
This jealous mentality reared it’s head years ago, when he arranged for his coworker to be killed in a car accident. It was difficult to determine if the accident was intentional, and there was no real motive for anyone to have committed murder. Which is why he got away with it. The police never suspected he was out to get his coworker. He hid his emotions and got away with it.
Skip back to present day. Joshua and Dancia figure out how he’s killing coders. They unravel the clues and figure out how he was able to do it. But more importantly, they figure out WHO is doing the killing. And at some point, the BG realizes that Joshua knows he’s the one. That’s when Joshua comes clean with the Police and decides he had better get out of town. But the BG has ways to find out things and he finds out where Joshua runs to. His mother’s cabin in McCall. That is where the ending takes place.
An isolated area, a killer and two kids alone. Plenty of opportunity for pacing, suspense and thrills. In the end, the killer tells Joshua that he was the one who killed his parents. This news makes Joshua emotionally more involved in the BG’s future. When after a scuffle, Joshua has a gun to the BG, he decides that he will not use violence to kill a killer. Joshua is better than that. Telling the BG that you are better than him because you figured out his secret way to kill people and you will not kill him, is like adding fuel to a fire. Joshua has lowered his guard and he gets attacked by the BG again.
He is saved when Dancia shoots the BG. Bad Guy defeated, hero innocent, hero’s girlfriend acted in self defense. Why would Dancia be the one to shoot the BG? She was a Marine and she was in the war and she has killed before. To her it is justified and nothing about it bothers her conscious.