While I was preparing the post immediately below, I managed to find Chuck Knief on Facebook and contacted him. I asked him a few questions about his John Caine books. He sent me a long note about what he’s been up to the last 15 or so years.
It turns out that Chuck made the decision to end the Caine series, not his publisher St. Martin’s Press. It came after a potential deal to turn John Caine/Diamond Head into a TV series fell through, c. 2001. He subsequently spent several years doing contract work for the military—including providing handgun training in various branches of the service. Chuck also owns a construction management company. In 2010 he supervised the construction of the world’s largest MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain)—a 469-acre faux urban environment for training USMC and USN operators. He is just now breaking ground on a hotel project in Los Angeles.
Nonetheless, through the years he has felt the call of the fictional tough guy he left behind.
“I did have a plot in mind,” Chuck wrote me. “In fact, two plots with titles: Ruby Dawn, which is half written, and Gold Coast, which is currently being rewritten. Ruby is a total loss thanks to world events. Think Caine in Europe going after Bin Laden. Yep, that was the pre 9/11 plot for Ruby Dawn. Thought with all the time off the job while working for someone else I would have time to complete a novel every three months. Turned out I didn’t have time to write anything at any time about any subject. After a 16-18 hour day, I could barely find my bed.”
Chuck confirmed that the rights to John Caine stories still reside with his publisher. But he was sure he could regain them easily.
“I continually get checks [for the Caine books], but very, very small ones,” he continued. “I’ve been speaking with Lee Goldberg [for whom Chuck provided information for Lee’s recent novel The Scam (WITH Janet Evanovich)] about Gold Coast, subtitled ‘The Year of the Rat,’ as it takes place in 1972, when Caine returns from his last tour of Vietnam. It’s the prequel for the series. I also have a half-sketched Caine novel that takes place in 2001, starting on 9/11. All of those could be self-pubbed, if I took the time to learn how to do it.”