Leo W. Banks

    Leo graduated from Boston College and earned a masters degree from the University of Arizona before going to work for as a reporter for The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has since worked as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. and he has been a frequent contributor to Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal and many others.

    He has written more than 300 stories for Arizona Highways magazine and won more than 38 statewide, national and international journalism awards.

    Leo W. Banks

    In 2017, he switched from journalism to fiction. His debut novel, Double Wide, won two Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America -- for Best First Novel and Best Western Contemporary Novel. The sequel, Champagne Cowboys, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Both are mystery novels set in Tucson.

    His latest novel, The Flying Z, was published Aug. 1, 2023, by Brash Books. It is a  contemporary western crime novel that’s also part love story. It describes the lives of southern Arizona rancher Will Zachary and newly-arrived Harvard grad Merry O’Hara as they try to build a life together while battling a brutal drug cartel trying to take over the ranch.

    Blogger and novelist James Reasoner calls The Flying Z “one of the best books I’ve read this year.”

    From the Author:

    I wrote about my father's World War II service, beginning with his enlistment in April 1942, followed by training in England, landing at Utah Beach on D Day, the Battle at Cherbourg, and the Battle of the Bulge.

    My favorite story about Dad:The day before VE Day, he was riding in a jeep with a German interpreter and a driver. The night was so dark, the driver couldn't see that the bridge over the ravine ahead had been blown up by retreating Germans. The jeep catapulted into it. Dad's glasses and everything else went flying. He suffered broken ribs, a broken tailbone, and was temporarily paralyzed.

    After a night in the care of a kindly German couple, he was taken to a hospital in Paris. During his recovery, the Army told him he was eligible for a Purple Heart. Dad, who always had bad eyesight, said, "I don't want a Purple Heart. I want my damn glasses back."

    Read about him here.