Friday, August 9, 2013

Dirk Wyle - The Mystery of Science

For Miami author Dirk Wyle (pen name of Duncan Harold Haynes, Ph. D.), there are few things as fascinating as the wonders of science. After receiving a degree in chemistry from Butler University, he went on to earn his doctorate in molecular biology at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent four years in Germany as a post-doctoral scientist, and after returning to the United States, spent the next 30 years working in biomedical research.  Wyle also became something of an entrepreneur after discovering a way to convert general anesthetics into injectable form. He started a small company with its own lab that grew into a thriving business he sold 13 years later for several million dollars.

In the mid ‘90s, Wyle was bitten by the writing bug. “Reading was a constant in my life, and I always thought I had a novel in me somewhere,” he says. “I guess I could have turned into a literary type, but science eclipsed that.” He noticed that none of the books he read depicted scientists realistically. Inspired by the works of John D. MacDonald, a writer he calls “one of my influences and a kindred spirit,” Wyle decided to pen a novel that would show what life as a scientist was really like. Three years later, he had completed Pharmacology is Murder, the first in what would become a five-book series Wyle describes as “captivating mystery/thrillers with a scientific background.” Pharmacology is Murder introduces Ben Candidi, an amateur detective with a doctorate in pharmacology. Wyle calls his protagonist “candid and idealistic, a guy who thinks the world could be a better place if everyone applied themselves and tried to do the right thing. He doesn’t look for trouble, but it comes to him framed in the challenging projects he’s given.”  Publishers Weekly praises the Candidi mysteries as “pleasing for both their intrigue and their intellect.”
Pharmacology is Murder was followed two years later by Biotechnology is Murder. Here, Ben Candidi is investigating a biotechnology company that claims to have discovered a cancer cure. The deeper he digs, the more enmeshed he becomes in a web of murder and intrigue. The third book in the series, Medical School is Murder (2001), has Ben in a Miami medical school where he has taken over the lab of a dead professor. After agreeing to write the old man’s biography, Ben uncovers some disturbing clues that lead him to believe that the professor did not die of natural causes. Amazon Gold (2003) takes Ben deep into the Brazilian rainforest searching for his fiancĂ©e, Rebecca Levis, who has mysteriously disappeared.

Wyle’s latest addition to the Candidi series is Bahamas West End is Murder, a novel that was inspired by his voyage to the Little Bahama Bank. “I put in at the West End Marina. It was a really funky place, full of interesting characters.  I always thought it would be natural to have Ben sail into that place and have to deal with the people there.” What starts out as a romantic vacation for Ben and Rebecca turns into an adventure complete with a dead body on a boat, a host of seamy marina characters, corrupt local police, and a new breed of pirate in a novel Booklist says, “…blends scientific smarts with quirky characters in another fine outing.”
Wyle’s latest projects include a sixth Candidi mystery that will take Ben to the Yucatan Peninsula and a stand-alone psychological thriller set in Boca Raton. Wyle finds it challenging to “fit science into exciting circumstances,” but you don’t need scientific background to enjoy his books. He hopes his novels will give readers a greater appreciation for the human side of science, and perhaps help them learn something new along the way. “I’d like to make science real enough to resonate with the reader who’s interested,” he says. And it’s easy to be interested when science blends with a healthy dose of excitement, mystery, and intrigue in an unforgettable story.

For more about Dirk Wyle, visit his website at