Q. Is Dirk Wyle a scientist?
A. Yes. Dirk Wyle is the pen name of Duncan H. Haynes, Ph.D., who worked as a biomedical research scientist for over 30 years. In January, 2001, he retired from the lab bench to devote himself to the Ben Candidi Series and bring out a new novel every 12-18 months.
Q. Are the Ben Candidi books medical thrillers?
A. Yes, but not in the sense of Armageddon virus stories or angel-of-death-lurking-in-the-hospital medical thrillers. Ben Candidi receives straightforward assignments which turn perplexing and then sinister. Ben is an amateur sleuth who is armed with a Ph.D. in pharmacology. The stories take place in realistically described medical schools, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies.
Q. What are the bad guys' motives?
A. Various combinations of the Seven Sins, with special emphasis on greed, lust and envy.
Q. What sort of problems does Ben face?
A. Deciding whether a professor unleashed some murderous pharmacology on a colleague, deciding whether a biotech startup is still worth its $20 million price tag after its inventor is found dead, and deciding whether a controversial professor died of something other than a heart attack.
Q. Do Ben's assignments expose him to danger?
A. Yes, every time.
Q. Is Ben's love interest, Rebecca Levis (MD), also exposed to danger?
A. In the first three books her career took her elsewhere before the lightning struck. But the next two stories will send her into harm's way.
Q. Is there some special meaning to Ben Candidi's name?
A. Yes. Ben is quite open with the reader. One of his professors compared him to Voltaire's Candide the Optimist.
Q. Do you need a science background to understand the stories?
A. No, the background science comes through as part of the story. Dirk Wyle is a great admirer of Stephen Coonts who showed in Flight Of The Intruder that you don't have to be able to read all the cockpit controls to feel the excitement of landing an attack bomber on an aircraft carrier at night.
Q. Does Ben tell his own story like the Stephen Coonts' jet pilot?
A. Yes. Wyle uses the "first person point of view" in which the story opens up for the reader exactly as it does for Ben.
Q. Why is Dirk Wyle writing this Series?
A. Wyle feels that the media are giving us the wrong picture of science and scientists. Wyle picked up the pen to describe the human side of science.
Q. Some reviewers have noted that the novels take a rather humorous view of scientists. Are the novels primarily works of humor?
A. No, they are intended as serious amateur detective stories. However, Ben's sharp sense of humor does reveal the foibles of the people and situations he encounters. And he doesn't spare himself, either. But when the situation turns deadly, there is no time for humor. Ben is fighting for his life.
Q. What else does the reader get from the novels?
A. A chance to learn some interesting things he/she might not find in the newspaper or Time Magazine — like why insulin must be injected, why a new cancer drug is so expensive or why the most dangerous time in a heart attack is when the blood clot is dissolving.
Q. If the stories are about biomedical research, why don't they take place in Boston?
A. Boston is too tweedy for Ben, and he likes to sail his boat all year round.