Irish-born, Cleveland cop Jimmy Hanrahan is my most-frequently re-visited, fictional sidekick, not just in the Hector Lassiter series, but in my books about Lassiter forerunner Chris Lyon, journalist-turned-novelist-turned-vigilante and uneasy family man.
In ROLL THE CREDITS, Jimmy’s third of his five significant appearances in my fictional universe, reciting from government files, OSS agent Duff Sexton at last gives a little official background on the man:
“James Butler Hanrahan,” Duff said. “Born March 17, 1902, to Stephen and Molly Hanrahan in Rathgar, Ireland. Your father was an English professor who moved the family to the States when he accepted a teaching position at Western Reserve University in Ohio in—”
That tells you at least a little more about the man.
Actually, in a fictional sense, Jimmy was born about 1990 when I was writing my first novel—not first-published novel mind you—called PARTS UNKNOWN.
After many years lost ala Hector, struggling to write the literary novels I thought I was obligated to write but which I was not particularly passionate about, sparked by James Ellroy’s THE BIG NOWHERE, I at last turned my hand to so-called “crime fiction.”
For subject matter, I cast back to a historical fiend who stalked northern Ohio during the hard years of the Depression, a homicidal whack-job dubbed variously the “Torso Slayer” and the “Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.”
Taking two actual cops who chased the Mad Butcher—one of those detectives did so long-past his official badge-carrying days—I melded the two men into Irish cop Jimmy Hanrahan.
Jimmy was tarnished reporter Chris Lyon’s sidekick in two long-ago written novels a solid decade before he shouldered his way into three Lassiter novels, including ROLL THE CREDITS, THE RUNNING KIND (coming soon) and PRINT THE LEGEND.
(If you look closely, you’ll catch a glimpse of him in the latter pages of the forthcoming HEAD GAMES graphic novel.)
There’s a Website I’ve contributed more than a few pieces to, called MY BOOK, THE MOVIE. If I was to write a piece about Jimmy for that site, my ideal actor to play the role would have been Charles Durning. When I write Jimmy, when I hear his voice in his head, it’s Durning I’m seeing and hearing.
(Jimmy's other significant appearance comes in CABAL, #3 in the Chris Lyon series.)