Sunday, January 20, 2008

Benjamin M. Schutz Passes

Though we’ve not seen anything official yet, word has been coming in today about the loss of Shamus- and Edgar-winning author Benjamin M. Schutz. Schutz was the creator of what The Thrilling Detective Web Site calls one of “the better post-Spenser P.I.’s, Leo Haggerty,” a mustachioed, Washington, D.C.-based detective with “enough little quirks to make him worth remembering.” From The Thrilling Detective:
Like Spenser, he’s a bit of a renaissance man, obsessed with the moral dilemmas of his profession, a literate jock-type with a sometime sidekick who’s more ruthless and has less scruples than he has (Arnie Kendall, a Vietnam vet/martial arts expert/bounty hunter) and a smart, sexy girlfriend who helps our hero understand himself (Samantha Clayton, a successful novelist). Even better, though, is that Leo tends to be a little less smug and flippant, and a little bit harder and more cynical than his Beantown rival. Unfortunately, while Spenser keeps rolling on, Leo seems to have disappeared.
Schutz’s most recent novel was 2004’s The Mongol Reply (Five Star), which was well received and strongly reviewed, including in an earlier incarnation of The Rap Sheet, where Kevin Burton Smith said:
This is not a comfortable novel, and many a reader might squirm with an unpleasant shock of self-recognition. But I think that Schutz, a forensic psychologist himself and the author, in the 1980s and early 90s, of a Shamus Award-winning hard-boiled series starring Washington, D.C., private eye Leo Haggerty (Embrace the Wolf, A Fistful of Empty), has returned to fiction after an absence of more than a decade with arguably his most angry and potent work yet. The Mongol Reply is an unrepentant, take-no-prisoners assault on the twisted and selfish games people play in the name of love, and the sometimes very brutal price that children (and ultimately, all of us) have to pay for their parents sins. Welcome back, Ben.
It’s too soon to have to say good-bye again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that it is official...noted in the obituary section of the Washington Post on Saturday, January 26th.

Truly sad.