In The News section

Following are the most recent articles about Brendan DuBois.

Below is a story from Gina Carbone which appeared in the September 8, 2002 Portsmouth Sunday Herald.

Portsmouth Sunday Herald - September 8, 2002

The Mysterious Universe of Brendan DuBois

By Gina Carbone

There are quite a few dimensions to the mysterious universe of author Brendan DuBois.

For one, the quiet life of a small town former Dover boy with five brothers who stayed local by graduating from the University of New Hampshire, marrying his sweetie, Mona Pinette, and settling in Exeter with her and their attention-seeking cat, Oreo.

"I’m very much a homebody," says DuBois (pronounced DU-Boyz, not Du-BWA). "(Some people) think authors jet down to New York or L.A. I’m content to be in the area with my wife and our neurotic cat."

Then there’s the ambitious writer who always wanted to be a fiction author but needed to pay the bills. So - before taking a job at Seabrook Station - he became a reporter, working at Foster’s Daily Democrat and the Hampton Union back in the 1980s.

"Even at that time, I knew the Hampton Beach area would be a great place to set a novel," DuBois says.

"One of our favorite activities was riding around with the Hampton cops," remembers former Hampton Union photographer Ralph Morang, also DuBois’ former roommate. "He worked really hard - writing, writing, writing. He was very disciplined, writing every night."

Then there’s the optimistic cancer survivor who went through surgery and painful treatments to rid himself of a tumor in his lower back, but kept on writing and has been cancer free for 20 years. Though almost detached in the matter-of-fact way he speaks about this part of his life as a small portion of who he is - "I’m a writer, I have a beard, I’m a cancer survivor" - his struggle did not go unnoticed by friends.

"I must tell you that he is one of the bravest people I have ever met," says Libby Grimm, a former reporter with the Newburyport Daily News who roomed with DuBois and Morang in their reporter days. "When he moved into our rental ‘beach shack’ on Hampton Beach in the early summer of 1981, he was still recovering from his cancer treatments. He was reed-thin and nauseated for much of the day and night, yet never complained for one minute. He was so upbeat and good-natured. I was astounded and my admiration continues to this day.

And best of all, no matter how much his body was (at that time) letting him down, mentally and emotionally he was totally enthusiastic and energetic about becoming a writer. He had complete hope for the future. I know that drive and love of writing carried him through such tough times."

Then there’s the telescope toting astronomy buff who owns the soundtrack and both the letterbox version and regular VHS copies of "Apollo 13" and counts "one of the greatest thrills of my life" as meeting real-life "Apollo 13" flight director Gene Krantz at a conference in Arizona that Mona organized while working for a computer software company.

"That was a little bit of magic that got facilitated between my work and his desire," laughs Mona, who currently works for an e-commerce business in Exeter.

Another time he tagged along as her "assistant" for a job in Florida so he could meet the space shuttle astronauts.

"It’s a passion in his life - astronomy and the space program. It’s a real passion that he has," says Mona.

Then there’s the guy who came this close to working at the National Security Agency after interviewing for three top secret positions and later used that experience as an opportunity to write about the government.

"That experience always stuck with me: How my life would have been different if I actually worked for the National Security Agency," he says.

Then there’s Lewis Cole - DuBois’ signature character - the protagonist of five novels, the fourth of which, "Killer Waves," was released earlier this year. A Department of Defense agent pensioned off to the Seacoast, N.H. area after a tragedy, Cole lives in a thinly disguised Hampton Beach called "Tyler Beach" and is good friends with a reporter at the "Tyler Chronicle" (Hampton Union).

In "Killer Waves," Cole discovers a man’s dead boy in a car at Samson Point State Wildlife Preserve (Odiorne Point State Park in Rye) and must go to the Porter Naval Shipyard (guess what that one is) to track down information on German U-Boats who came to the shipyard during World War II with several hundred kilograms of processed uranium.

Reading about this true, little-known WWII story in the Boston Globe sparked DuBois’ own research, which became the meat of his latest Cole thriller.

"I said, ‘Hmm. Missing uranium from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, still worth something years later - there’s a Lewis Cole novel right there.’ It was an easy idea. I wish all my ideas were that easy."

Though DuBois is the author of myriad short stories and a couple of stand-alone thrillers such as the popular "What if?" Cuban Missile Crisis thriller "Resurrection Day," the mystery/suspense author is best known for creating Lewis Cole and his Seacoast universe.

So, is Cole an extension of his creator?

"I’ve always said he’s better looking than I am and he’s much braver," DuBois laughs. "He and I share some interests - a love of the area, love of history and astronomy. But he has this drive to get involved, to see justice done and that’s not me."

The two don’t always see eye to eye on issues.

"He has opinions and sometimes his opinions I share, and sometimes I don’t," DuBois says. "The fun thing about Lewis is he finds a problem and it gets resolved," DuBois says. "I think that’s the appeal of many mystery novels. It’s very clear-cut. Usually the bad guy gets his."

DuBois describes Cole as "quiet but stubborn. He’s not a macho man. He does not get into a fist fight in every book. He’s pretty low-key."

The author is pretty low-key himself, speaking quickly but quietly and often chuckling self-consciously when talking about his various agents across the country.

"This book is being shopped around Hollywood. My agent in New York has their agency - that sounds so pretentious doesn’t it, ‘my agents’ - my agent in New York has their agency in L.A. that he works with trying to place manuscripts with screenplays."

Though some have floated Richard Gere as a possible Cole candidate, DuBois originally wrote the character as tall and lanky, like a young Sam Shepard, but now favors someone like Edward Norton or "The Practice" co-star Ron Livingston.

If anything happens on the film front, it won’t be DuBois’ first brush with showbiz.

"With ‘Resurrection Day’ there was actually a movie option where a production company was going to make a movie. Unfortunately the option was signed last August 2001, and then 9/11 came aboard. In ‘Resurrection Day’ a good part of the book takes place in a New York City that’s been devastated by nuclear war. Too close to home. So that never went anywhere."

The events of 9/11 affected "Killer Waves" as well.

"The spooky thing is, this book was written more than two years ago, long before terrorism came into the forefront, long before 9/11. There was a scene in this novel in the first manuscript where someone is talking to Lewis about why it was so important to find this uranium. And his character said, ‘Imagine what would happen if terrorists went to the World Trade Center with a suitcase of nuclear bombs, what would have happened.’ I had to take it out. It was too spooky, way too spooky."

It’s too fresh to write about 9/11 he says, and he’s not sure if he’ll ever address it.

"People have asked me, in future Lewis Cole novels will he make reference to 9/11? He might, I don’t know yet."

DuBois plans to keep writing Lewis Cole stories "till I run out of ideas" though it may surprise readers to know that he does not read mysteries himself and started out as a science fiction/fantasy writer.

"I read thrillers, history - I love history - suspense novels."

His latest Cole novel, "Buried Dreams," is at his agent’s office in New York, another suspense thriller, "Betrayed," is coming out next June and in the next couple of months his first short story anthology, "The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries," will be published.

He encourages readers to check out his Web site, which is run by his biggest fan - the webmistress who probably knows all sides of him best: his wife.

"He is actually fairly shy except when it comes to his characters and when he’s talking about his books or his characters - there’s a part of his personality that just sparks," Mona says. "There aren’t that many adult men anymore that have the passions of children. Usually about the time they get to be adults they get jaded. There are things that Brendan is still in many ways a little boy about - but in a good way. It’s very refreshing."

Though his work can be found on bookstore shelves around the world - "sometimes I’m near Arthur Conan Doyle, which is pretty freaky" - DuBois’ writing bug doesn’t appear to be taking him away from Hampton (Tyler) Beach or anywhere but his home office in Exeter (Exonia), creating new worlds for readers.

"You’re by yourself most of the day and there’s a lot of distractions," he says, "but when it goes well, it’s the best feeling in the world."

Copyright © 2002 Seacoast Online. All rights reserved.

Below is a story from John Clayton which appeared in the June 15, 2002 Union Leader.

Union Leader - June 15, 2002

John Clayton:
Who gets the role
of Lewis Cole?

Union Leader Staff

When they issue the casting call for the role of Lewis Cole, is there any star in Hollywood who can withstand the demands of “Killer Waves”?

YOU LIKE mysteries? Here’s a good one.

When Hollywood finally gets its act together and produces a film about New Hampshire’s favorite mythical private eye, who gets the role of Lewis Cole?

Harrison Ford? Tom Cruise? Richard Gere?

It says here that it should be Gere, but the vote that matters most belongs to Brendan DuBois. After all, he’s the writer who created Lewis Cole, who has become, quite simply, the most enduring fictional character in New Hampshire literary history.

Brendan recently cemented that claim with the release of “Killer Waves,” the fourth novel in his Lewis Cole series.

This time out, Lewis is caught in a web of intrigue that’s spun in part from Nazi U-boats off the coast of New Hampshire. (Hey, it’s based on a true story!) That doesn’t sit well with the mysterious resident of Tyler Beach, a community which, incidentally, bears a striking resemblance to Hampton Beach.

So who is Lewis Cole?

He was once employed as a research analyst by the Department of Defense. He was to be the sole survivor of an illicit biological weapons test gone horribly awry and to buy his silence, the government gave him a pension and a seaside home — in Tyler Beach, natch — and a plausible front as a magazine writer.

So who is Brendan DuBois?

He’s a magazine writer, at times. He’s also a Dover native, a UNH graduate and a one-time PR writer for Public Service Company of New Hampshire who walked away from his day job to do the novel-writing thing on a full-time basis, thereby realizing every writer’s dream.

So how did Brendan dream up Lewis Cole?

“When you decide to do a first-person, traditional detective novel,” he said, “you come to realize the majority of these characters fall into two or three sets. There’s the private eye who’s hired to look into things, the lawyer who’s hired to look into things or the cop who’s hired to look into things. I figured there were enough of those guys out there. I wanted someone different, so I made him a writer.

“I was a newspaper reporter, so I know a newspaper reporter can be nosy and ask questions, but as a newspaper writer, he’d have a lot of things going on and an editor would be suspicious if he didn’t write stories, so I thought ‘I’ll make him a magazine columnist.’ That gave him free time. Then you ask, ‘What’s driving him?’

“Most people who stumble upon a body just leave it to the police, so he needed something to motivate him. He needed a past, something that compelled him to look at these things and sometimes things just click. When I was in college, I’d applied for a job with the National Security Agency. I took some tests and flew down for interviews and I said, ‘Hmm... What if Lewis worked for an intelligence agency?’”

By the time Brendan answered all of his rhetorical questions, he had a fully realized character that Booklist — in likening Lewis to Robert B. Parker’s “Spenser” — described as “rugged, clever, ethical, erudite and lovable.”

One thing I love about reading Brendan’s books — by the way, he pronounces his last name DU-boyz, not Du-BWA — is trying to decode local names and places.

See, when he’s doing his gumshoe thing, Lewis Cole speaks of his trips to the Porter Naval Shipyard (could that be Portsmouth?), about boat traffic on the Piscassic River (the Piscataqua?) and his walks along Samson Point (which sounds like Odiorne Point to me). He makes the occasional drive past the nuclear power plant in Falconer (Seabrook?) and the odd road trip to Exonia (Exeter?), which begs a question.

Why the subterfuge?

Why alter those names when the Isles of Shoals are identified just that way — as the Isles of Shoals. There’s no alias for Foster’s Daily Democrat and the state capital is in Concord, so why change some names and places and not others?

It all goes back to the carefully wrought creation of Lewis Cole.

“When I started out, it was like, ‘Let’s keep things real,’” Brendan said, “but I grew up on the seacoast and I have a lot of friends here, so let’s say I’m a friend of the Hampton police chief and I have to cast the Hampton Police in a not-flattering light? Suppose I’m writing about a hotel where something shady is going on” — (as was the case in his first novel, “Dead Sand”) — “and someone says, ‘Hey, that’s my hotel!’

“That’s when I decided to fictionalize Tyler Beach. Eventually, everything in Rockingham County was changed. That became Wentworth County. Everything outside Rockingham County is unchanged. It’s still New Hampshire.”

And I’m still wondering who gets the role of Lewis Cole.

“My wife and I have been bouncing it around for years,” Brendan laughed. “If you read a description of Lewis off the police blotter, he’d stand just under six-feet tall. He’d weigh about 175 to 180 pounds. Thick brown hair, blue eyes, clean shaven and he’d have a lot of interesting scars on his body.”

And what actor fits that bill?

“We both liked Charlie Sheen, but he’s too smart-alecky,” he said. “Christian Slater’s too small. At first, I thought Sam Shepard, but he’s too long in the tooth now. Maybe Edward Norton.”

It still says Richard Gere here — he’s got that existential angst you need in a private eye — but unlike me, Brendan doesn’t feel a burning need to place a face on the character of Lewis Cole. It’s his character, yes, but in many ways, the character belongs to the readers and he’s happy to let them fill in the blanks.

“I want every reader to picture him in their own eyes,” he said.

If you want to see Brendan DuBois with your own eyes, your next chance will be June 29. He has a signing set up at 4 p.m. at White Birch Books in North Conway.

In recent years, an occasion like that gave readers a chance to tell him how much they wanted another Lewis Cole mystery. He kept them waiting three years (while he did three other novels) but there won’t be any prolonged wait this time.

The fifth Lewis Cole novel, “Buried Dreams,” is under review.

“It’s already done,” Brendan smiled. “It’s in my wife’s capable hands. She’s my court of first review. If she says it’s OK, it’s OK.”

And everything’s OK in Tyler Beach, N.H., thanks to Lewis Cole.

(For more information on the New Hampshire-based novels of Brendan DuBois, visit his website at

Copyright © 2002 Union Leader Corp. All rights reserved.