Lee Harms
Created by Aleister Foxx (Alan Annand, 1957 --)

Your typical rundown P.I., complete with shabby office, healthy sense of cynicism, etc., LEE HARMS has a few things that help him stand out from the crowd.

First, he's a little more domestic than many eyes -- he's got a ten-year old daughter, Alana, who visits regularly (her mom has custody) and a cat, Eric. And although he's now single, he takes pains to assure us he has an active sex life.

Even better, his turf is Montreal, my old hometown. Lee has an office overlooking Phillips Square, and there's a nifty rendering of the corner of St. Catherine and Aylmer on the cover. He drinks Moosehead beer, presumably smuggled in from the Maritimes. Heck, he even drives too fast and smokes. (I think I'm getting homesick).

But mostly, it's his preoccupation with the occult that sets him apart -- he burns incense, he chants, and all that other groovy New Age stuff. And he consults his astrologer/lady friend Celeste who checks out the stars to aid Lee in his investigations.

No wonder he calls his agency Stellar Investigations.

Even more refreshing -- and surprising -- is that Lee at least occasionally displays a healthy skepticism -- or at least gleeful irreverence -- towards the whole New Age.

Beyond the trappings, though, Harms Way (1992), his only appearance to date, is a solid P.I. thriller, a nastier-than-you'd-expect slab of pornography, cocaine, gangsters, child abuse, madness, torture, vengeance and incest. It's too bad there's never been a sequel -- it would have been interesting to see where Foxx would have taken this.

I say surprising because Lee's creator, Aleister Foxx, is actually Alan Annand, a practising astrologer and palmist since 1980, with experience in both eastern and western astrology. A past president of The Astrological Society of Montreal, he's got a diploma from the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, studied Hindu astrology at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico and palmistry at the Vedic Vidya Institute in California, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Jyotish. He resigned from his corporate job in 1999 to "devote himself to astrology and writing." He currently specializes in relationships, career guidance and forecasting, and has published five novels so far under assorted pseudonyms including The Antenna Syndrome, a sci-fi thriller about space age gumshoe Savage; Scorpio Rising, about a criminal profiler, and Hide in Plain Sight, a thriller about a man who poses as his brother when his brother is murdered. Currently, he divides his time between writing, astrology and meditation.

Oh, and for those of you just dying to know, Foxx (or at least Annand) is an Aries.

UNDER OATH

  • "For Canadian writers setting hardboiled stories in Canada, the closest approximation yet to a US-style private eye is Montreal private eye Lee Harms."
    -- David Skene-Melvin,
    Rara-Avis
    .
  • "While (Harm's Way) has all the ingredients ythat we have come to expect of the private eye genre, there is something else... (a) tongue-in-cheek flavour as if Annand is really laughing at it all -- or at least at himself."
    -- Deena Grier, Autumn 1992,
    Ascendant

NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith (original report, November 2003).


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