A mystery series full of crime and unsolved cases that will be handled by Detective Cadillac himself! H. Max Hiller has created an interesting character that would be the lead of this series, with his ability to create a descriptive tale down to the scenery and the dialogues, this sure is a book that will be a feast to the readers.
How did you come up with this story, and what compelled you to write about Detective Holland?
The character of Cadillac Holland actually began as a concentration exercise I have used on long drives. Many highway exits have names that sound like real names, and I like to imagine backstories for these imaginary names as means of staying awake on long drives. I used to drive between New Orleans and Kansas City multiple times a year and was always drawn to Exit 4 on I-55 in Missouri, titled Cooter Holland. I kicked him around for years before I sat down to write my first book and chose him as my detective. His nickname comes from an actual situation brought about by Hurricane Katrina, wherein the local police emptied a local Cadillac dealership of automobiles to replace the patrol cars lost in the floodwater. Cooter is assigned a used one when he joins the force and the other officers give him his nickname as an insult because he comes from a rich and powerful family. I try to have readers see the city through his eyes, memories, and thoughts as a means of drawing them into the deeper parts of each book.
Tell us about the most interesting part/s of the books that you’ve written (pertaining to this 5 Book Series).
Each book deals with very real social situations and even incorporates real events, in a creative fashion meant to draw attention to them without mounting a bully pulpit. The early books also address the troubles of our Gulf War and War on Terrorism veterans as the central character is a former Tier One operator and intelligence operative who is trying to deal with his history and PTSD in a city full of people who suffer from their own nightmares and stresses from surviving the storm and its aftermath.
Do you have other books that you’ve written? Tell us about them?
I have published a total of five books in the Cadillac Holland Mysteries series. The first book is an introductory novella, which actually began as the opening chapters to another book in the series that didn’t mesh with the eventual story. Each of the books is meant to address some issue brought about either by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina or by the seriously failed recovery effort. The city’s worst problems have only been exacerbated by a combination of FEMA and long vested local interests. Folding the problems into a conventional mystery is a better way of engaging discussion about them than a straightforward non-fiction book that would likely miss the human tragedies being played out daily. The second through the fourth books in the series are part of a long story arc meant to introduce the central and recurring characters in the series, but each book stands on its own as well. The latest book addresses another horrid social issue, but one that is not related to Hurricane Katrina and requires the detective to leave the familiar turf of New Orleans for a very troubled coastal parish. This book is the first in the next long story arc, which addresses the place and one’s sense of belonging and home.
Which book, among those that you’ve written, is your favorite and why?
Can’t Stop The Funk is my hands-down favorite. It has the most convoluted plot, one even the best armchair detective is unlikely to solve until the last page. It also addresses gentrification, an issue that has a special place in New Orleans, in a manner that illustrates its effect and how easily it can be dressed to look like a good thing to people who won’t be bearing the brunt of its effect.
Tell us more about yourself and your hobbies.
I initially took jobs in the restaurant business because I was naïve enough to believe it would give me a flexible schedule so I could support myself while I wrote. The lifestyle I led instead merely gave me a thousand characters and stories to populate my books with. I had thirty years in the business before I opened a restaurant that failed, which was perhaps the best thing that ever happened. I wound up with a job training cooks for a towboat company, which gave me a schedule where I am paid to not work for twenty-eight days at a time and then paid to work only a few hours a day while taking a leisurely cruise on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Illinois Rivers. I finally had the time to write and have now averaged one book a year for the last five years.
Cooking is both my occupation and my favorite hobby, but I also enjoy photography and reading.