Russell B. Parker
Russell B. Parker, a widower who runs a barbershop that has no customers and who lives upstairs with his daughter and two sons. Parker is not an ambitious man, but he is amiable and ordinarily honest, at least until he is talked into going along with Theo’s schemes. He loves his children, and his attempts to recover his youth are touching.
William Jenkins, Parker’s friend and checkers opponent who finds himself drawn into the crooked dealings that Parker’s sons undertake with Blue Haven. He and Parker obviously feel deep affection for each other as they engage in badinage over their checkers games, which Jenkins always wins.
Theopolis Parker, Russell Parker’s older son, known as Theo. He teams up with Blue Haven to set up a bootlegging business but finds himself doing all the work while his father dips into the till. Theo is eager to run a con, and he has better judgment than his brother Bobby.
Bobby Parker, Russell Parker’s younger son, an expert burglar and shoplifter. As the second son, Bobby resents playing second fiddle to Theo, whose thoughtless insulting descriptions of Bobby probably help compel Bobby to perform reckless criminal acts under the spell of Blue Haven, acts that lead to his being shot by a security guard.
Adele Eloise Parker
Adele Eloise Parker, Parker’s hardworking daughter, who supports the whole family with her office job. Adele is intelligent and conscientious, but the man she is seeing beats her, and she seems doomed to be used by men.
Blue Haven, a tough man of the streets who knows how to get along and exploit weaker men such as Theo and Bobby. In his blue ensembles and dark glasses, carrying his gold-headed cane, Blue Haven can appear menacing.
Young girl, the unnamed pickup with whom Parker becomes infatuated after he gets a few dollars from Theo’s till to spread around. She is callous and exploitive, and she is a great disappointment to Parker.