Akihisa Jiro is the typical bravado-filled alpha-male... or at least he tries to be. He just graduated somewhere in the middle of his class from the FBI Academy in Quanitco and was assigned as the on-site agent for an Indian reservation somewhere in Backwoods Podunk, Oregon. The very idea of reservations and herding people of a different race into one area and forcing them to live in squalid conditions makes his skin crawl. He still remembers his grandparents' stories about their time in the internment camps in California during World War II. When a body is found on the Res, dead under very mysterious circumstances, he sees it as his ticket out as long as the case is juicy enough.
Oregon State Police trooper Buffy Peckington has lived in the area all her life -- born in the hospital just a few miles from where she lives now -- and married a local from the Confederation. Two days before the book begins, she was dealt a blow that rocked her world. Her husband is gone with no explanation and no cause of death. Nothing from the Army but an apology and an urn. She is forced, by Aki's actions, to return to work sooner than she would have liked. But when it looks like her husband's death and the death of this John Doe may be linked, she can't just crawl back into bed, her face burried in his pillow, and never leave like she wants to.
Both characters present their own unique challenges, but I think the absolute hardest is the villain. I need to write him somewhere between functioning sociopath and determined jingoist willing to break a few eggs for the greater good. He's proving to be harder than I had expected. (Yes, I know, cryptic and unhelpful, but... spoilers.)
But, maybe I just need to get this first draft done so I can focus less on the events and more on character development and motivations.