Benjamin Katz is a private detective who sets up shop in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. His girlfriend, Cassandra, joins him in the business; she and Benjamin marry at the end of the second novel. Since the two main characters eventually work for the US intelligence service, history plays an important role in the plots. The initial setting is Los Angeles, but Benjamin and Cassandra both move to Atlanta, Georgia.
Each Kats novel begins with a murder to be solved. The novels, after the initial first chapter describing the murder, flash back to events leading up to the murder. Somewhere in the first third of each book, the action catches up with the murder, then proceeds to the conclusion.
Benjamin Kats was recruited by the CIA while he was still in the Marines; Cassandra is recruited just before they marry. The detective business is their cover for their occasional government assignments.
Throughout the Cold War, the CIA maintained a large number of contract agents to be “eyes and ears” in foreign countries. These agents fed raw information to analysts who would then provide reports for American diplomatic and military policy makers. Benjamin Kats, ostensibly working for international corporations, actually gathers information for his government. In order to maintain plausibility as a private investigator, Benjamin must work regular cases as well as government cases.
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