GW Wiki–Gabriel Ross

Posted by on Jul 9, 2017

Gabriel Ryan Ross is the main character of the Gabriel’s World stories. Gabriel is a private investigator living in New York City. 

The first novel The Hanged Man, is set in 2010. In that story, Gabriel is 36 years-old and living in the Alphabet City neighborhood (on Avenue A) in the East Village.

Gabriel’s History

Gabriel was born in the Bronx, NY on February 15, 1974. His mother (now deceased) was Kate Sheehan Ross, his father is Jeffrey Ross. Jeffrey Ross   is a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army; he was stationed in Ft. Hamilton, NY at the time of Gabriel’s birth. The family moved from the Bronx in 1978.

Gabriel developed self-sufficiency at an early age due to frequently moving and therefore being the new kid in school. Kate, a librarian, imbued him with a love of reading and cats. Gabriel is very fond of books and libraries. His father taught him to shoot handguns, rifles and shotguns, and also made him practice military-style wargames on occasion.  Gabriel is an excellent shot. His Uncle Dominic (Kate’s younger brother), a Golden Gloves boxer and art history professor, taught Gabriel to appreciate art, and opera, and also schooled him in the sweet science of boxing. A childhood friend taught Gabriel street-fighting and and the martial art of Baguazhang.

As a youth, Gabriel was skilled in baseball and basketball (he still plays as an adult). As he became older, his relationship with his father–never really easy–deteriorated due to Jeffrey Ross’ alcoholism and verbal abuse. The fighting between his parents lead to frequent separations between Kate and Jeff. At times, Kate and Gabriel were on welfare and even temporarily homeless. Kate moved around with Gabriel in the Midwest–to Ann Arbor and Saginaw, Michigan when he was 12-13, and Moorehead, Minnesota when he was 13-14.

Dominic convinced Kate to move back to New York in 1989, when Gabriel was 15, as he could help them. They lived in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. When Jeff Ross was stationed again in Ft. Hamilton, Kate reconciled with him, which caused Gabriel to be estranged from her for a while. He stayed with Dominic in Dominic’s Alphabet City apartment on and off during his teens. Dominic continued to be a significant influence on Gabriel’s development–teaching him more about being a good man and to be confident and proud in his sexual orientation.

Gabriel attended John Phillip Souza High School in the Bronx, where he met his best friend Danny Martinez. He and Danny tended towards skipping school and getting in trouble, finally dropping out at 17. Dominic made them get their GEDs and helped get them enrolled in CUNY Midtown where he taught. Danny studied public policy, Gabriel studied history and psychology.

Gabriel wanted to get into private investigations from a love of old mystery books (Nero Wolfe, Lew Archer, The Continental Op, Phillip Marlowe). He had a natural instinct for investigation and skirting the edges of legality, liking to trespass as a habit. He continued to develop research and investigation skills in college. In a summer break, he worked as a paralegal and investigator in Rochester, NY for defense attorney Bettina Carver. After graduating in 1996, Dominic (resigned to Gabriel’s choice of profession) used his contacts to get Gabriel a job  from a local agency. There he learned interviewing, locating missing persons, and tracking down frauds and cons. One of the agency’s owners, Manuel Smith, was very fond of Gabriel and acted as his mentor–teaching him patience and inductive reasoning, helping Gabriel hone his capabilities. Manny’s partner was Gerard Doniger, who often clashed with Gabriel. Manny died suddenly of a heart attack in 2005. This was part of a tough time period for Gabriel. Gabriel’s mother had died of cancer six months previous, which devastated him emotionally. A few months after Manny died, Dominic was killed in a strange accident at CUNY Midtown.

Dominic had a two-bedroom rent-controlled apartment in Alphabet City for many years. Dominic put Gabriel on the lease when Gabriel was a teenager. At time, Gabriel didn’t realize the value of this gift. When Dominic died, Gabriel was appreciative of having a decent two-bedroom place for a reasonable rent. The property management company would like to have Gabriel evicted to raise the rent to market rates, but for the most part does not try because Gabriel is legally savvy.

With Manny gone, Gabriel knew Doniger was likely to fire him, so he decided to strike out on his own, having developed several contacts in the legal and insurance industry. He used the proceeds from his mother’s and uncle’s life insurance to fund his own investigation business. He is a certified fraud examiner, ACFE, licensed private investigator in the States of New York and New Jersey, Certified Legal Investigator, National Association of Legal Investigators, and Professional Certified Investigator, ASIS.

Gabriel’s Personality

Gabriel is Buddhist and sometimes attends a Nichiren temple in his neighborhood. He also practices Taoism and is very familiar with the I Ching. Nonetheless, he also has a bit of a temper and hates to be told what to do or nagged. He loves kids, animals (especially cats), and underdogs. He owns a cat named Archie. Not helping someone is hard for him–tough on the outside, he has a heart easily led by a sad story. He has a code of honor but also breaks rules when needed. Physically, he’s 5’9, medium build, and in very good shape and muscular from his boxing and martial arts training. His hair is brown, usually medium-length; he has dark Irish coloring. He’s an attractive man with charisma, but is not vain about it, and often discounts his looks. He knows how to dress well but prefers casual clothes except for good jackets and boots. He sometimes uses reading glasses (far-sighted), with John Lennon-style frames. He loves reading about history and art–but also conspiracies and the occult. He has several tattoos: Kanji characters on his left leg–Strength and Character, a Yin/Yang Sun on his left arm), a tiger on his back and a phoenix on the back of his right lower leg. The latter two Joel designed. He knows how to read tarot cards, having learned from his mother.

Gabriel loves movies (James Bond is a favorite), good TV shows and music of all kinds. He’s a good dancer, can play keyboards and speaks fluent Spanish. He’s an avid sports fan–Yankees, Giants and Knicks and more. He plays poker and softball very well. He’s a dedicated fan of Eddie Izzard and David Gray. 


Copyright 2012-2017 Alex Fiano

Page updated 7/9/2017


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