By George Ebey
Every great series needs a springboard, that first outing where readers are introduced to the exploits of a new and exciting hero. Author Steve Besecker’s forthcoming thriller, The Samaritan, is that springboard.
Meet Kevin “Little Crow” Easter, a highly-trained CIA operative with a score to settle. Tormented by rage and revenge, Easter takes aim against New York City’s most powerful and sophisticated crime family, igniting an underworld war and inadvertently threatening to expose a secret the United States government cannot afford to be made public.
Besecker is a graduate of Orchard Park High School and St. Bonaventure University where he was trained in philosophy, business marketing, and creative writing. With guidance from retired Doubleday editor Bill Thompson, he managed to put his skills to good use by crafting this story along with two completed sequels. New York Times bestselling author James Rollins calls The Samaritan, “…a debut novel sure to keep many readers up until the wee hours of the night.”
Hard at work on future installments, Steve took time out of his busy schedule to offer some insight into the stunning world of Kevin Easter.
Tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in writing this story?
The protagonist in THE SAMARITAN–Kevin Easter–is a Seneca Indian who grew up on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation in Western New York. Ironically, my best friend in the 3rd-5th grade was a Native American. Although I’ve lost touch with my childhood buddy, he helped create a character who seems very real to me. I’ve always been interested in Native Americans, their heritage and culture, and there are few books with an “Indian” lead. THE SAMARITAN opens with Kevin Easter, who is working as a tracker/photographer for the CIA, dealing with his wife’s murder, then retreating to his family, his people and the reservation for answers.
The Samaritan deals with a highly-trained vigilante. What type of research did you do in order to write about the character’s training?
The research for the vigilante came from a number of sources: A good friend on the Orchard Park Police Department, a shooting instructor who teaches at infamous Farm for the CIA, a retired FBI agent, my uncle, who is a parole officer and got me access to an inmate at the Attica State Correctional Facility. The Internet is filled with information on weapons. The employees of the Erie County library system, specifically those working at the Orchard Park and East Aurora branches were/are incredibly helpful.
Your character takes aim at New York City’s most powerful crime family. Why did you choose this setting as a backdrop for your story?
It might be an old and tired cliché but New York City is so diverse and rich with story lines. And there are so many landmarks that readers can relate to. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve spent a lot of time in the five boroughs of New York and the neighboring states. I also have a number of college friends who grew up in and around the Big Apple so I tapped into their individual perspectives and experiences. It’s hard to not love New York City. And because the city is so big–twelve million people–there will always be a darker element looking to control certain industries, especially the illegal drug trade. I also painted my Mafia don, Anthony DiFilippo, as an educated businessman, who believes diplomacy trumps violence, but when his organization comes under attack, by some unknown threat, Tony D is not afraid to take the gloves off.
The Samaritan is the first in a new series. Tell us about the next two installments, Executive Power and The Architect.
A few months after THE SAMARITAN ends, EXECUTIVE POWER picks up, and my protagonist, Kevin Easter, now has a partner, Gray Taylor, who happens to be the CIA field operative assigned to find and eliminate Easter in book one. EXECUTIVE POWER is a true political thriller. When the President of the United States finds himself in a very bad place just a few weeks before the November elections, Kevin Easter and Gray Taylor are assigned to identify this unknown threat. The third book in the series, THE ARCHITECT, involves the alleged cure for autism, and certain people and organizations that will do just about anything to keep that information a secret. Kevin Easter, Gray Taylor, and a Western New York detective, Nick Benedetti, must find an eleven-year-old child prodigy who has been abducted.
Now that your much anticipated debut novel is about to hit the shelves, what are you most looking forward to?
It’s always interesting to get feedback from readers. Over the years I’ve handed out different manuscripts (stories) to friends and family members, yet they really don’t have an objective POV. In fact, many have a dog in the fight–editors, information, etc.–so hearing from people I don’t know has me incredibly curious. A few years ago, at the annual International Thriller Writers Association’s ThrillerFest, in New York, one author–David Baldacci–read a few nasty postings he received on his Website. And it was hilarious. I loved that Mr. Baldacci could laugh instead of taking these rude comments so personally. It was a lesson in restraint that I hope to embrace.
When he’s not fly-fishing, skiing, or spelunking, Steve can be found researching. Currently he is working on yet another chapter in the Easter saga, The Kinder Transport, in which Easter uncovers a plot that takes root in 1941 and involves events that saved nearly a million Jewish children before World War II.
Every great series needs a springboard, and from what I see, this one is sure to fly high.