Mea culpa: I’ve been shamefully quiet on the blogging front. It’s high time I reformed, and in penance, I’ve decided to start a series of short pieces about Frank Adversego that will reveal further details about your favorite (quasi? anti-? sort of?) hero. And where better to start than by sharing the origin story of Thor, Frank’s enigmatic, armored companion in the last two books.

But first, a little back story to the back story.

In the first Frank Adversego thriller, titled The Alexandria Campaign, the story begins with Frank unhappily waiting in the pouring rain for Lily, a morbidly obese corgi foisted off on him by his mother, to answer nature’s call (there’s a back story to this back story to a back story, but I’ll save that for another day).

Anyway, Lily resonated well with a surprising number of readers, so I decided to provide Frank with a new animal in my next book (that would be The Lafayette Campaign). The chosen beast was Molly, a ill-tempered, thoroughly spoiled cat belonging to Frank’s ghostwriter. Molly predictably took an instant (and reciprocated) dislike to Frank, unwelcomely distracting Frank as he struggled with his co-writer’s over-zealous approach to his previous adventure. Once again, readers responded favorably.

That was all well and good, but what to do for an encore? The answer was found outside (and sometimes inside) the patio of the place where we winter in southwest Florida: a tortoise. Specifically, a gopher tortoise, quite a few of which live nearby. The one pictured above lives just a few yards away, and is easily identified by the damage to the outer covering of his shell.

Well, why not? Both Frank and the various tortoise species maintain formidable defenses. Both present a crusty, curmudgeonly demeanor. And each exudes a haughty aura of immutability, defying the world to make them change their ways by even one iota. What animal could be a better match?

Father Frank, of course, had a decidedly different reaction when daughter Marla gifted tortoise Thor to him on his birthday in The Doodlebug War. But eventually, Frank adjusted. Once again, readers were pleased. Several of my beta readers even expressed great concern when it appeared that Frank had left Thor alone with no one to feed the animal when Frank headed off west. As with many other beta reader comments, this one was gratefully accepted. The slip was rectified, and other readers would were spared any cause for concern. By the end of The Doodlebug War, Frank and Thor were peacefully coexisting.

By book four (The Turing Test), the two were getting along famously, and it was time to introduce a new faunal companion: Julius, the felonious crow. Julius plays a vital part in the resolution of the story, and perhaps in a future sequel as well.

So there you have Frank’s menagerie to date. Should you be so inclined, suggestions for future animal Friends of Frank are most welcome.

If you enjoy the adventures of Frank and his friends, please consider recommending them to your friends. An how about the paperback versions of the books – they would make wonderful holiday presents, don’t you think?


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