Some authors look especially suited to their genre — political thriller novelist Daniel Silva looks like he could be an international spy. Horror writer Anne Rice has sported a decidedly stark, supernatural style on occasion. And Ben Coes, the author of the Dewey Andreas international espionage thrillers, looks like a rough-and-tumble former Delta commando.
“I got accepted into the Navy SEALS program,” the New York Times bestselling Coes tells us. “But they found a heart condition that kept me from completing the training. Who knows if I would have finished the program, but, yes, as a young man, that’s what I wanted to do. Since I couldn’t do that, I decided to write about it instead.”
Still, that's a pretty good scowl Coes has going on in his most recent author photo (seen above). "That photo was taken by a friend one morning," Coes tells us laughing. "We were sitting out on the beach and it was six in the morning because that's when the light was best she said. So it's six in the morning and we had been up late the night before. She tried to get me to smile and I just wasn't interested in smiling. I do smile - I smile a lot, just not at six in the morning on a beach when I'm barely awake."
In Coes’s latest release in the series, Independence Day, lead character Dewey Andreas, a newly fired intelligence agent, is on a rogue mission of his own. With no official authorization and no backup, Andreas faces a powerful and deadly enemy alone.
As a character, Dewey reflects many of the traits Coes aspires to. Dewey is patriotic, hard-working and self-sacrificing. And he sees serious threats to America looming large around the world. Dewey's best weapon? Patriotism, says Coes.
"From my first book, I wanted to write about patriotism. With all my books, I look at current events and think, 'what are the greatest threats that face our country right now?' With Dewey, even when no one's looking, when there's no resume building going on, he's still willing to fight for his country.
"Patriotism is the heart and soul of my books. In today's world with all the threats we face, it's the most important asset that we have as a country. It's more important than how big our military is or what weapons we have."
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For all of his super-hero accomplishments, Dewey Andreas is still just a normal guy. "Well, a normal guy with a unique set of skills," Coes says. "Like me, like everybody, he has personal problems and flaws. I think that's one of the reasons that people can relate to him, because while they see someone doing the right thing, they also see someone who has phantoms and ghosts that haunt him."
Coes says his readership includes a lot of active and ex-military service men and women. It also includes a fair number of people who aren't "rah-rah America" all the time but like the action or the humor in the Dewey Andreas books.
"The books discuss actual threats to the country, national security issues, infrastructure problems, yes, but they have down-to-earth characters and a lot of humor, too. They discuss serious topics and they're fun to read. Despite all of the threats that I see in the world out there, I remain very hopeful about the United States, about the life my children can have here. I think that's one of the main traits Dewey and I share."
Coes reads from and signs Independence Day at 6:30 p.m. June 4. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713?524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free.