Clear and Present Danger/Characters

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Admiral James Cutter

The National Security Advisor to the President.

  • Armchair Military; To the point he's shocked when a BOMB, of all things, hits unintended targets since they were nearby, even after it's reasonably pointed out bombs are not precise instruments and collateral damage is to be expected.
  • Dirty Cop: Becomes one by the end of the book by cutting a deal with Cortez to avoid the US and himself being blackmailed for illegal acts by leaving soldiers to be murdered by the Cartel in exchange for Cortez handing him what will look like victory in the drug war.
  • Dirty Coward: Literally and metaphorically is averse to putting himself in danger, a fact commented on by parties like Bob Ritter and Felix Cortez, though not to his face.
  • General Ripper: He advocates this, but when it blows up in his face he's happy to pretend he didn't.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He tries to be, but usually blows up in his face.
  • The Neidermeyer: Acts like a blustering buffoon and pulls rank to bully lower ranked soldiers in other branches into doing what he wants, which backfires spectacularly, forcing him to stop to actually get anything accomplished.
  • Smug Snake: Only until he outmaneuvers himself.

Ernesto Escobedo

A drug lord of the Medellin Cartel, as well as Felix Cortez's primary employer.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He deems himself much more worthy of respect by the world, and is rather annoyed his profession makes him shunned by most of the world.
  • Smug Snake: Cortez astutely notes that while Escobedo isn't an idiot, he is incredibly prone to being blinded by his own arrogance.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Cortez plays him like a fiddle for most of the book.
  • Wicked Cultured: Not as much as he'd like to believe, but he is educated and much more refined than some of his even more brutal colleagues.

Felix Cortez

An ex-Cuban intelligence officer now working as the chief intelligence chief for the Cartel.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: While still a villain, he has genuine disgust for the wanton brutality shown by most other members of the Cartel, is much more farsighted and wants to change the Cartel to still be able to do business without being so reviled by its enemies. He's still amoral, greedy, and to a considerable extent, cruel, but in comparison to the members of the Cartel, he's got the most conscience and decency in a group where those qualities are in short supply.
  • Badass: He doesn't go out of his way to prove himself one, but he's definitely no coward when it comes to facing his own death, even having the balls to set up an assassination attempt on himself as part of a plan to dupe half the Cartel into not realizing he plans to sell the other half out.
  • Manipulative Bastard: It's even noted in his intelligence file at Langley as one of his specialties.
  • Wicked Cultured: Unlike Escobedo, he's a much closer fit for this trope, though even he admits he had to work to become this trope, having grown up in poverty.