Although my main focus and genre as a writer is existential and high-concept thrillers – early in my writing career I decided to write a crime-series which would exploit and spotlight the merits of a Canadian crime-fighter. Being born and raised in Canada, and then having spent most of my career working and living south of the border in America, I came to realize that Canada, for all its wonderful merits, didn’t have an iconic action hero to extol this nation’s inner-self. You see, in America, a wonderful nation and people, they sometimes had a strange perception of Canadians, and in traveling about the world, I noticed that some people clumped us in with our American friends. In my experience, people tend to perceive Canadians as mild-going, easy people, and certainly they are. Canada is not an aggressor. It is tolerant of ethnicity. It has assimilated and welcomed people from all over the world. But here is where the rubber meets the road, and this was the very threshold that made me realize that Canada needs its own action hero and crime-fighter: CANADA IS NOT THE SAME AS AMERICA. I know that people like to mush them together because they are neighbors and Canada has McDonalds, 7-Elevens and Nikes, all the earmarks of America (who doesn’t these days) – but a Canadian is NOT the same as an American. When I grew up in Canada, there was an unstated but pervasive and powerful dynamic that vibrated through our bones – and while Canadians rarely stand up and declare it, tending to be passive and certainly less bombastic about their relativity in the world, calling a Canadian an American or casually comparing one to our fine neighbors to the south, was a slap in the face. Okay, that said, what’s the difference? Well … it’s a national secret, and one that I could be ostracized for exposing to the world, but under that smile and that affable and amiable outer layer is a person you simply don’t fuck with. It isn’t that Canadians are hostile or anything of the like. They are nice people for the most part, through and through, but that said, they don’t take any shit from others, and the way Canadians deal with it, if it comes their way, is not through violence, but in fact, they just shut you off. There is a rebellious thread in their souls, an impertinence, a sort of “fuck you, I’m Canadian”, which they don’t chant or rave about, except when it comes to Canadian beer and hockey, but which, and given the right circumstances, they WILL resort to using, like a glass wall that suddenly is erected in front of you and which makes the outsider, the aggressor, or whatever, suddenly feel like they just screwed the pooch.
So, back to my crime series, the Keeno Crime Novels – what makes them different than, let’s say Ian Flemings’ Bond, or the countless American action heroes of crime and military and intrigue genres? Well, Keeno McCole, the main figure in this series, who heads up the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Anti-Terrorism-Unit, is the go-to-guy when cases pop up on the radar which require an indelicate approach. McCole is part Indian (Canadian First Nation – the original class of people who occupied Canada before the English and French invaded it for beaver pelts), part Irish, part – who knows. At the ripe young age of just four, Keeno hears his mother screaming, runs into the kitchen and finds a man strangling the life out of her. The boy picks up a pair of scissors and stabs her attacker and saves his mother from a brutal death, and from that moment on, Keeno knows that there are monsters in the world and that he will spend his life fighting them. By the age of seven, under the tutelage of his uncle, on a remote farm where his mother placed her son to protect him from the man he stabbed, Keeno becomes a master at throwing knives and using guns and by the time he returns to civilization to live with his mother, he is a walking lethal weapon. Now, add to this mix his inherent Canadian, “don’t fuck with me” attitude, and you have a man who becomes the RCMP’s sharp edge, the man and his team, who are sent out to deal with the bigger sharks circling the waters, and who engage criminals which not only threaten the entire nation, but the world. As I said, on the outside, and like other Canadians you may meet, Keeno is chocolate covered candy – but scratch below that surface, and piss him off and Keeno McCole will bite – in fact, he’s got a long line of criminals who felt the sting of his knife. So there is the backstory. I will continue to publish Keeno Novels, because I think Canada needs to have at least one crime fighter standing on the front line, smiling, and waiting for the next monster to come his way.