Leo W. Banks, acclaimed author of the recent Southwestern mystery novel Double Wide, as well as numerous articles and books, will be appearing at the Arizona Senior Academy at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (June 6).
Banks was educated at Boston College and later earned an MA from the University of Arizona, where he taught writing. Double Wide, his first novel, is a murder mystery set in southern Arizona with lots of local color and memorable characters.
It features a fastballing baseball pitcher, Prospero Spark, whose career is in ruins. He retreats to a trailer park in the superheated Arizona desert, where he lives with a collection of colorful outcasts. When someone leaves his former catcher’s severed hand on his doorstep, he turns detective and is joined by Roxanne Santa Cruz, a beautiful, hard-living reporter. Together they work to discover his friend’s fate. They soon attract the attentions of a ruthless gang of drug-dealing killers.
The book won two Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America, one for Best First Novel and another for Best Contemporary Western Novel. It was True West Magazine’s Best Western Crime Novel of the Year in 2017. The New York Times best-selling author Phoef Sutton says, “Double Wide is as twisty and bumpy as a desert road at night. Banks displays an excellent ear for bitter, cynical dialog and an unsparing eye for desperate characters running on empty.”
The author of four books of Old West history and a book about the Grand Canyon, Banks has also written regularly for publications such as Arizona Highways, the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic Traveler. He’s won many regional and national journalism awards. He admits his book about the saguaro cactus “won’t stop selling.”
Written by Nelson Hubbell, Academy Village Volunteer