Robert Greer

Robert Greer

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
August 19, 2008

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write a novel on the speculations of who killed JFK?

A.    I have been intrigued by the Kennedy and the Kennedy mystique ever since the Cuban missile crisis. I was a college sophomore when the missile crisis occurred and most college students at that time had the feeling that Kennedy was about to get us into a war. I can remember my roommate, who fancied himself something of a political activist, and a man who eventually became Director of the Paul Roberson Center at Penn State University, yelling, as several of us sat around and listened and watched events unfold on TV and radio. "That white boy's either gonna end up getting himself killed or all of us killed." I never forgot that statement and when Kennedy eventually was killed in Dallas just over a year later, my roommate's comments seemed prophetic. From that time on I had the sense that one day I would write about Kennedy.

Q.    Will you define for the readers how you came about the title THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION.

A.    During his presidency, JFK okay'ed a plan to overthrow Fidel Castro. The code name of the plan was "Operation Mongoose," a loose connection of actions directed at Cuba by JFK with the aim of over-throwing Castro. It failed. I decided to name my novel, THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION in homage to that failed effort, and to connect the reader to the deceptive activities of the CIA, FBI, and US Government, in general.

Q.    How did you come about the idea of finding Antoine's arm at the Eisenhower Tunnel?

A.    I wanted the novel to start with a bang and therefore, I decided to begin by cranking up the suspense-having an earthquake occur in a most unusual spot, (by the way, earthquakes do occur in Colorado) As in all good murder mysteries, turning up a dead body or at least parts of one early on is considered good form.

Q.    How did you develop Franklin Watts (aka Napper)?

A.    The idea of Franklin Watts came about because I have always been interested in the lives and the duplicity of double espionage agents. Watts, a person who you meet early in the novel, turns out not to be the person that he seems at the start. In essence my development of him was an attempt to turn the idea of the good guy/bad guy as a double agent on its ear.

Q.    For those who have not read your previous novels, would you give them a brief description of Mario and Pinkie's relationship?

A.    I would be delighted to. Mario Satoni is an aging, 84-year-old former Mafia Don who has now appeared along with Pinkie Niedemeyer in four CJ Floyd novels. He is modeled after the patriarch of a famous Denver crime family (all dead now, by the way). I attempt in defining him to show a man caught in a quandary. A man who forty years earlier tossed his mafia connections aside after the death of his beloved wife, Angie, and a man who has never been able to fully sever his connections to the mob.

Pinkie Niedemeyer is a contemporary of CJ Floyd's who along with CJ served in Vietnam. Pinkie, like CJ, carries some of the demons of that war with him and will forever. He is Denver's number one hit man but he is aging, and always nervous about staying at the top of his game. His connection to Mario relates to the fact that Mario once did him a favor that saved his life and kept a group of crime family jackals away from his door. Because of that, Pinkie will forever be indebted to Mario. When Mario needs someone to pull underworld strings for CJ Floyd, Mario frequently calls on Pinkie to get the job done. Mario and Pinkie are colleagues in a strange good cop/bad cop sense but there is always a feeling of tension between them.

Q.    Will you give the readers a brief description of the Alden character and his relationship to Flora Jean.

A.    Flora Jean Benson, of course, is CJ Floyd's business partner in his bail bonding business. She has been his right hand now for a total of six novels. She is a former Marine intelligence sergeant who served in the first Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. During that war she ended up having an illicit affair with a Colonel in army intelligence, Alden Grace. Grace eventually became a General and retired to Colorado Springs, 75 miles from Denver, where he is still involved in clandestine military activities. He and Flora Jean have continued their relationship and they are very deeply committed to one another, however, their relationship carries with it certain forbidden fruits because (1) Flora Jean and Alden carried on an affair that is against the code of conduct in the military; (2) Grace is more than a decade Flora Jean's senior; and, (3) he is white and she is black. All of this provides for tension between them as they try to reconcile the fact that they come from two different worlds and are in love.

Q.    How did you come about Sheila Lucerne and Willette Ducane's characters?

A.    I developed Sheila, the love interest of the deceased Antoine Ducane because I wanted a character who could relate to Antoine's southern roots and his Louisiana's sensibilities and I also needed a character who would be there long after he was dead. Someone who could provide the reader with a road map to who he was. I wanted to make her a caring person but also someone who has lost their way.

Willette Ducane, Antoine's mother, was developed to be a character who could provide readers with insight into the past and the present. A woman who would give anything to have back her son and a woman who has made some bad choices in life and is now forced to live with them. She was in bed with the mob in Louisiana, is a very small time sense, but it is that connection that caused Antoine to go astray.

Q.    Is the conclusion of THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION an introduction of a novel that will be centered around Julie's son, Damion?

A.    The end of THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION is intended to be telescopic, providing the reader with a cliff hanger ending that I hope will make them want to read more about Damion, who is in fact, the lead character in my newest novel, BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL.

Q.    Will you give the readers a brief description of your next novel?

A.    BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL features Damion Madrid in the lead role. Damion, a basketball star at Colorado State University and his best friend, Shandell Bird take Colorado College basketball to new heights when they finish second in the NCAA tournament. It turns out, however, that the team and its members are accused of point-shaving after their loss to UCLA in the NCAA finals. When Bird is killed just after signing a multi-million contract with the Denver Nuggets, Damion is left to find out why he was killed and who killed him.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from reading THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION?

A.    The principle message that I would like readers to come away with is that things are not always as they seems, ala, Alice in Wonderland. We've been told over and over who killed JFK, and as a nation we've been forced to accept the Warren's Commission report on who killed him. THE MONGOOSE DECEPTION is set up to tell readers why he was actually killed and to identify who the real killer may have been. Of course, my novel is a work of fiction and I don't expect people to take it absolutely to heart, but the names of the people I provide as possible killers are real and if the reader comes away with the sense that perhaps Lee Harvey Oswald didn't really kill Kennedy or that perhaps things aren't exactly as we've been told, I've done my job of trying to offer insight through fiction.