FIRST, A LITTLE ABOUT MYSELF:
Sum id quod sum-I am what I am-and make no apology for it. With a B.A. Sc. in Mining Engineering (1958), an M. Eng. in Geology (1967), and having been a petroleum engineer, a research scientist in minerals beneficiation, a field geologist, a high-school teacher, and finally a university lecturer, even to doing the first year of my doctorate in Pleistocene Geology, I put it all behind me, and with four young children, turned to full-time writing in June 1970. And certainly I know how difficult it can be, but am known for what I do best and have done for well over the past 20 years, and that is to write about France under the German Occupation. Even years after the 12th in the St-Cyr/Kohler series came out, Marilyn Stasio, of the New York Times, very kindly stated on 8 Oct. 2009: 'Who's left to give the brides away? Who investigates civilian crimes like robbery and murder? Those are the kinds of questions posed by J. Robert Janes in a brilliant series of policiers set in Vichy France during the German Occupation.'
I've been a panellist or moderator at every one of the many Bouchercon World Mystery Conferences attended. I've also read at Harbourfront and been interviewed by Peter Gzowski on Morningside and countless times by others and have held what has to have been the most memorable of launches at the Rand Institute in Niagara-on-the-Lake. My archive is at McMaster University's Library, but as to what drives me, let me just state that I think story all the time and have at least three or four in my head even while actively working on another.
Now let me tell you about St-Cyr and Kohler, then add a little more about myself, and give you a list of my books.
THE ST-CYR/KOHLER SERIES
NEWS IN 2013, MORE EXCITING NEWS!
THE HUNTING GROUND, a thriller that covers much of The Occupation.
Please watch for these and also for THE ALICE FACTOR, another thriller. Richard Hagen, a salesman of industrial diamonds, sends secret messages out of The Reich using bits and pieces of The Alice in Wonderland poems.Update: The Hunting Ground has now been published by The Mysterious Press in print and as an eBook on 30 April, 2013 ; Tapestry, and The Alice Factor , on 4 June. "Story Behind the Story" essay about The Hunting Ground.
News, news, lovely news update:
On June 5, 2012, the St-Cyr and Kohler series will be available as eBooks from major retailers such as Amazon, iBooks, Sony, Kobo, Google and Barnes and Noble. Bellringer, the 13th and latest, will also have print on demand. All will be published by the Mysterious Press in New York, along with Open Road Integrated Media, so please watch for them.
Click here to see eBooks.Further Update:
-BELLRINGER, Kirkus Reviews, 29 May 2012.Click here to read full interview.
-The Rap Sheet, 30 May 2012, has an outstanding interview. Click here to read full interview.
-The recent quarterly of The Mystery Readers Journal has my France on Berlin Time.
- BELLRINGER, Globe and Mail review, 20 June 2012. Click here to read review.
A review by Robin Walz, University of Alaska Southeast.
The "Fiction and Film for French Historians".
It's German-occupied France during the Second World War. Two honest detectives, one from each side of that war, fight common crime in an age of officially sanctioned crime on a horrendous scale. Gangsters have been let out of jail and put to work by the Gestapo and SS; collaborators welcome the Occupier and line their pockets; ordinary citizens struggle to survive; inflation hits 165% while wages are frozen at 1939 levels; but most of all, German servicemen come on leave to Paris, ‘our friends' to some, ‘the Green Beans' to others, the ‘Schlocks, the Boche'.
Paris, unlike all other cities and towns in war-torn Europe, is an open city, a showcase Hitler uses to let his boys know how good things can be under Nazi rule. French Gestapo are everywhere and definitely don't like these two detectives since St-Cyr put many of them away before the war, but Kohler is all too ready to tell them this and is fast becoming a citizen of the world under Louis' influence and also has no use for the Occupier, even to ridiculing Nazi invincibility. Hated and reviled by the Occupier and often by the Occupied, the two constantly tread a minefield.
Paris is home territory but as the only two honest cops around, they are sent throughout the country, so we see aspects of the Occupation from different perspectives, yet everywhere there is the nightly ink of the blackout and the nail-down of the curfew. Muggings, rapes, purse-snatchings, murders, break-ins, prostitution, juvenile delinquency and acts of outright vandalism all see huge increases. It's blackout crime-time and there are thirteen in this series.