November 17, 2013

Portland writer James Hayman releases third McCabe-Savage thriller

'Darkness First' is set in the Machias area and involves the flow of OxyContin into Maine on fishing boats from Canada.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

James Hayman writes at the Great Lost Bear, where he enjoys sitting at the bar and listening to and observing people. Hayman is in the midst of his fourth novel, a murder mystery set in Portland.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Listen to James Hayman read from his book

He and his wife, the painter Jeanne O’Toole Hayman, have lived in Portland since 2001.

They bought land on Peaks Island in 1993, after visiting friends and falling in love with the city and with Peaks. They built a house and relocated to Maine when Hayman stepped away from ad work.

From the beginning, he knew he would set his novels in Portland. He appreciates the industrial edge of the city, the waterfront, the cobblestone streets, the bars and the restaurants. He likes the art scene and all the culture that comes with it. And he likes that everybody knows everybody, and that cops are on a first-name basis with the people they serve and protect.

Ruley likes Hayman’s writing because it conveys the feeling of the city.

“The Portland he created and depicted in his book is so vivid. I thought, ‘Well, this is a fresh setting.’”

A mutual friend on Peaks introduced Hayman to Ruley.

He was reading at a Peaks festival with other island authors in June 2007. There were more writers reading than people listening. Among those in the audience was a Peaks friend who offered to introduce Hayman to her agent she knew.

Ever polite, Hayman said yes, expecting nothing. A short time later, the woman told him her agent-friend encouraged Hayman to be in touch.

On the eve of a trip to England to visit his wife’s family, he mustered up a letter and 80 pages of manuscript. Overseas a few days later, he got an email from Ruley asking for the entire manuscript.

By the end of the week, he and Ruley had a deal.

TOUCHDOWN FOR THE GIANTS FAN

Hayman has carried McCabe around in his head for many years. “He was modeled after me if I was a cop,” he said. “We’re not similar in what we do, but we are similar in the way we view the world and how we think about relationships and the New York Giants football team.”

Which is to say, Hayman and McCabe are fans.

He remembers the thrill of seeing his first book in print. “Ever see Victor Cruz in the end zone doing his salsa dance? Kind of like that,” he said, citing the Giants receiver who is known to celebrate his touchdowns in style.

Hayman consulted with retired Portland police detective Tom Joyce when he began writing McCabe.

“I want the reader to get an accurate portrayal of how things operate, and Jim, to his credit, wanted to get it right,” said Joyce, who teaches criminal justice at Southern Maine Community College.

“He wanted to know police procedures, and was interested in how the Portland Police Department operated. What are their procedures? How are crimes investigated? He had questions pertaining to forensics. He did his homework.”

Cops appreciate Hayman’s attention to detail, Joyce said, because it helps the public understand the complexity of the job.

“As a former police officer and investigator, I want the reader to get an accurate portrayal of how police work is done. People see so much police work on TV that is highly exaggerated or extorts how real-life police work is done. If the public understands what we really deal with and how we conduct business, it bridges (the) gap between police and the public.”

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE BEAR ...

Back at the Great Lost Bear, Hayman works on his next book, which is set back in Portland. In this one, he tells the story of two murders committed a century apart within the same family and featuring the same modus operandi. The first occurred in 1904.

He does most of his writing on the mainland, either at the Glickman Family Library at the University of Southern Maine or at the Great Lost Bear. He likes the atmosphere in the restaurant, and enjoys sitting at the bar listening to conversations and observing people.

If he were a cop, this is the kind of place he would frequent. People are friendly here, he said, and it’s easy to start a conversation.

The strength of his books are his characters. They feel like real people, not unlike the characters that Hayman created while working on Madison Avenue.

“They’re facing real problems and struggling with real issues, just like me and you,” he said. “They have a similar moral compass to my own. They react to crimes and criminals very much as I would. They genuinely care not just about catching the bad guy, but also about the people they’re helping and the people they love.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

Twitter: pphbkeyes

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs