Carl Jenson

Usually too polite to tell people he knows what they’re thinking. 

Carl appears in the novels Controlled Descent and Flight Plan, and he stars in the novellas Turning the Work and Joining In the Round.

From Flight Plan:
Carl gave Alison full eye contact and let all the  tiny physical cues that he normally suppressed crash into the interpersonal feedback loop.  He tucked a lock of Alison’s hair behind her ear. “I respect the boundaries others set because I have none,” he said. “And this isn’t comfortable for most people.”
She said breathlessly, “Comfortable? Good God, Carl. You’re like a giant-sized box of erotic dynamite. Put it away before I get too horny to think straight. Or else find me a ladder.”
The laughter burst out of him, taking tension with it.

From Turning the Work:
“What the fuck is this?” Parker said from somewhere in back of the shop, and the voices at the work table fell silent. Five of the six women looked up at Carl, and he felt a tickle of amusement at the nearly-identical expressions on their faces.
The messages were variations on a theme. Rude. Ignorant. Unwelcome. Inappropriate. Offensive. Underlying all the disapproval was a single irrefutable accusation: Male.
     Amusement grew from a tickle to mischievous impulse. Carl pasted on the best oblivious smile in his repertoire and sauntered past all the rejection with more than a little swagger in his step. “How the fuck would I know what it is, asshole?” he called back to Parker. “What the fuck are you looking at?”
The unrepentant spray of expletives won him five audible huffs and five offended glares. The sixth woman continued smiling down at the material in her hands.

From Joining In The Round:
“Go away, Justin, or I’ll—” Carl stopped the words before the ultimatum could take form.
“Or what? You’ll tell me to go jump in a lake?”
Carl looked long and hard at him. He could make Justin leave. He could make Justin pick up the axe and use it on himself, using the right few words in the right voice. Justin knew that, and yet he was still pushing. Carl held his eyes and said, “Test me. I dare you.”

Carl wrapped both arms around Felicity and leaned back, bringing her onto her tiptoes. Her hair tickled his nose. She was warm, soft and everything good in the world, she was real and solid in his arms…and she was trembling.
Carl’s throat went tight around all the things he’d spent hours rehearsing in his head. He held on with all his strength and rocked her back and forth.

Art by Daniel Govar
Art by Daniel Govar

Background: Educated in an esoteric field of psychiatry that makes him a master of emotional manipulation. After being forcibly retired from his first career, took up a second one following his brother Parker around.

Personality: Somber and slow to laugh, tends to speak in a longwinded, vocabulary-packed way that distracts listeners from his failure to answer their questions. Comes across as a bit on the uptight side–buttoned-down clothes and buttoned up emotionally. More than able to command a room or charm his way into one, whichever the job requires.

Here’s Carl in a bad mood:FCCarlH1

Art by Phil Moy

And looking distracted or pensive or something.