Following find an interview with author John Eidswick.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
A Hole in the Head, 2022.
What’s the book’s first line?
Heart pounding wildly, the child blinked into the darkness.
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
In this third entry in the Strait mystery series, Ex-FBI special agent James Strait receives a call from his long-estranged brother, who begs him for protection from someone trying to kill him. Strait’s refusal to help triggers a chain of events that throws him into a hunt for a racist who tortured and killed eleven immigrants in the Arizona desert. Strait is also forced to confront terrible secrets about his family and prejudices he didn’t know he had.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
James Strait’s brother, Ricky Strait, is a composite of three gay men I have known. They had, simply by dint of growing up in a certain town or being raised by a certain family, been forced to either bury their true selves or be crushed. I was raised in such a town, where otherwise seemingly friendly, honest, decent folks considered it normal to hate gay people. A glance at the news will tell you that many such people still cling aggressively to their prejudices (even while denying they hold them), while other have opened their minds and striven to change. For this book, I was interested in setting up a conflict within the protagonist, wherein, despite having already set himself apart as militantly and violently anti-racist in the previous novels, his own stealth prejudices are thrown in his face when his own gay brother is murdered.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
James Strait is physically gargantuan and highly skilled at various weapons and martial arts. Many readers have compared him to Jack Reacher, albeit a more thoughtful, sensitive, and humorous one (the resemblance is coincidental. I hadn’t read any Reacher novels until after I’d finished writing the first Strait book). Another distinctive quality is Strait’s affliction with Meniere’s disease, an inner ear malady that causes terrifying episodes of vertigo.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
I’m probably the wrong person to ask! But I’ve been told that, like the previous two books in the series, A Hole in the Head is a real page-turner, addictively engaging, on one hand a fast-paced mystery-thriller that will keep you up at night wanting to know what happens next, and on the other hand, a deeply-felt human drama about the horrible effects of bigotry on families, communities, and America.