RARA-AVIS: Leo Hagerty

From: M Blumenthal ( blumenidiot@21stcentury.net)
Date: 17 Dec 2001

Ben, I have read 5 1/2 books of your Leo Hagerty series. (All the Old Bargains fell out of my jacket pocket yesterday so I will have to find it again to finish the book.) I have a few comments and questions:

In the first book of the series, Embrace the Wolf, Leo already has infirmities and old injuries so severe that they impede his physical abilities. Spenser is in better shape after thirty years. Why did you choose to have Leo like that? Did you originally plan on Arnie having a greater role? I don't think he morally could be compared to Hawk, but he ceertainly has a lot in common with Joe Pike.

A Handful of Empty is a pretty grim book in which Leo loses the two people he cares about most. It reminds me somewhat of what Robert Crais did in LA Requiem, but was written ten years before that book. Mexico is Forever, in which Leo possibly is losing everything else, could almost have been its extension. As that is the last of the books as of now, did you plan that as a natural way to end the series? If so, do you plan on starting another?

Do you think your being a practicing psychologist. has helped you in writing the books? If so, how? Do you think of yourself as a psychologist and author in that field who happens to write hard boiled books, or a hard boiled author who needs to do something else to pay the bills?

Mark Sullivan mentioined Leo consults James Grady's Rankin at one point. Never having read that series I missed that. I couldn't miss that in Mexico is Forever Leo hires Dan Kearney's Agency to investigate in California. A nice touch is that Leo met him at a private investigator's convention. That is to my knowledge the third appearance of Dan or his employees in another author's books. He really gets around.

I want to second Mark's thanks for your agreeing to be our guest author for this month. Now that you have an email account I'm sure everybody on the list would like you stay on after 2001 if you have the time. If you did you could just contribute when you felt like it and would not have to answer to the type of intensive grilling I subjected you to above. Mark

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