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Marina Reed co-authors thrilling book with Don Hawkins: On the Edge

September 29, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Crime fiction has a new hero: Cole Buckman and he has been brought into this world under the dual talents of Marina L. Reed and Don Hawkins, a combination of author and retired undercover cop. Mr. Hawkins was a detective staff sergeant involved with international security operations. He currently owns a security consulting business. Ms. Reed explained their collaboration to the Citizen in a telephone interview earlier this week.

“Don and I created the story together,” she said. “It’s kind of his baby but we needed to do it together. I gave life to his characters and helped with what works and what doesn’t in telling the story.”

The mainstay cast of this new book, On the Edge and the next two books that are already in the works are: the Canadian Cole Buckman, an MI6 agent who is on a mission of international intrigue and who has gathered around him the team he needs to succeed, which are: Doc, an undercover cop; Charlie Tuna, a forensics specialist; 2Tall, a weapons expert; Falcon, the computer genius; and intelligence officer, Mac Gallo.

Ms. Reed herself calls on Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne as models for Cole Buckman.

The action of On the Edge is set in four different countries in the world, all of which she has visited, namely Britain, France, Italy and the USA.

“This book is fast, fun exciting read which is what people really love,” Ms. Reed assured us.

Perhaps, the biggest surprise about this book for Ms. Reed is that it happened at all and here is how.

She had three books published and wrote a thriller three years ago. Mr. Hawkins had read them and then the two met through mutual friends. They found they hit it off and had a really great rapport, able when they began to work together, to be a good team effort.

“This was not something I was planning,” she admitted. “But it’s become something for me, as a former journalist, to bring out some key things that are happening around us. There’re important points but a lot of funny things too; we’re cramming a lot between the covers here.

“This was quite a departure for me,” she commented. “I read about 30 books of crime and thriller books to learn how to write the genre. It was a different speed, rhythm in the writing. Much more to the point with rather soft description that can be a little dark.”

It was great to be able to ask these people what it is like to be in this position. Clearly, there is a lot of it one cannot make up.

She said, “In this book it’s all real; that was very difficult for me to write.”

In fact, she wrote it not just once but with four complete edits, Ms. Reed basically wrote the book four times.

Her commentary on the experience so far led us down a couple of paths.

“This is Don’s brain child but I give the characters [depth and life],” she said. “When you write a book by yourself you can get a little myopic but [when] you write with someone else that is completely different .

“It was definitely a challenge to force myself to create and learn how to write in a completely different style,” she reflected, “but really interesting. This was a world I had no idea about, talking to undercover cops and military weapons experts.” 

Such a book demands credibility and while there was definitely time when she was finding out so much, she learned there is truth.

“Fiction is fiction because it allows us to come in the back door but there is definitely truth in these books,” she stated. “Just knowing those people are out, doing what they do – it certainly makes us respond to first responders a little better than we did.”

The casual approach to the horrors and the response to those difficulties amazed her: “Sometimes Don would get talking just like what he had for breakfast but do you hear what you’re telling me?”

This had to be told as fiction.

“Only we know what is absolutely real,” she said ominously. “Protecting names and people and changing the situation to that which is slightly different but there is the possibility for all of them to be true.”

In the upcoming two books, we come to know more about the characters; we get to know a bit more about their own lives. The original five regular characters remain, three men and two women, in the field they all work with a handle [rather than names]. Each possesses their own expertise. They all have struggles and what they have sacrificed.

“Romance is tossed in there too,” she promised. “Doing those kind of jobs takes a toll on the human. There are forms of investigation; there is sacrifice. They don’t want to involve [and possibly endanger] other people.

“We explored that in the first book and we enlarge on it all in the second.”

Already the basic crime story is outlined even for the third book and Ms. Reed becomes even more present in the next book, as author, to create those different layers. She says freely that she was proud of doing this for Don Hawkins who has been working in this field for a long time.

Of the men and women in the real world who do this work, she told us, “They become dedicated. It’s above and beyond what most people think of as dedication; you have to be a specific kind of person to do this kind of work. 

“We all [are] affected by what we do. When Don was on the homicide squad, he raised a family.”

As a matter of habit. Mr. Hawkins is very careful as to how much he says; he is known as a retired OPP Sargent and still has his security business.

Said Marina L. Reed, “We are very respectful of each other’s roles [when collaborating on these books]. There’s a really clear line in the sand; trust is definitely there.”

All the reasons are there for you to enjoy On the Edge, she assured us.

“You want to get away from everyday things. Readers couldn’t put it down. It puts you in another world, a reprieve from your life; It’s fast paced,” Reed explained.

On the Edge is coming soon to BookLore and the launch for the book, as well as meet and greet with the collaborators, is on Oct. 6 from 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. at BookLore.

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