Celebrity author Child the master of Villa thrillers
Graham Taylor is a suspected kidnapper. McGrath and Milosevic are FBI agents in Chicago. Teale is a bent mayor. Yorke is an abandoned mining town in Montana.
You couldn't make it up, could you? Then again, maybe you could, particularly if you're a best-selling author.
The names of Villa players and managers appear frequently throughout the novels of Lee Child, whose thrillers have sold 40 million copies in 75 countries and have been translated into 38 languages.
He lives in New York and his stories about giant ex-military policeman Jack Reacher couldn't be more American.
But Child, real name Jim Grant, was born in Coventry, brought up in Handsworth Wood - and is a staunch Villan.
As his vast army of readers get to grips with his 16th novel - The Affair - which has been just been published, Child admits one of his own biggest thrills was taking a peek inside a deserted Villa Park.
"One day in the 1980s I called into the ticket office to get tickets for the next home match," he recalls. "The main gate into the stadium was open so I sneaked in and walked all around the pitch. It was fantastic to be inside an empty stadium.
"And however many games I've been to, I love that feeling of coming up the stairs and seeing the pitch. It's a feeling you never get over. I'm still a helpless fan."
As an adopted New Yorker, Child mostly has to settle for catching Villa on TV these days, getting his live sporting fix from baseball at Yankee Stadium.
But his devotion to the claret and blue cause is as strong as ever.
Hence the frequent Villa references in his books.
"The hardest thing I find is coming up with names for characters, so in a sense it helps me out of that difficulty," he says. "It started with Mayor Teale in my first book Killing Floor and went on from there."
The second book - Die Trying - featured Paul McGrath, Yorke and Milosevic, although many of Child's readers wrongly presume the latter is based on the Serbian war criminal Slobodan rather than the Villa striker Savo!
Since then we've had Withe, Shaw, Scimeca, Angel, Vassell, Carbone, Docherty, John Gregory, Graham Taylor and Mark Burke, who may have played only eight times for Villa but who impressed the author as an industrious midfielder.
Child has been hooked on Villa since the early 1960s, yet he might easily have supported Albion.
"Where I lived was almost equidistant between The Hawthorns and Villa Park. I was about eight or nine and I had a friend called David Harris. He and his dad were Baggies fans.
"There was a run of games where David's dad was working overtime on Saturday afternoons so I used his season ticket.
"On my third or fourth visit it was Albion v Villa and there was just something about Villa that captured my imagination. They were like a swaggering bunch of pirates!
"From that point Villa were the team for me and I went to Villa Park all the way through primary school and high school.
"In my early days I always stood on the Holte End, around two-thirds of the way down. Later I sat in the bottom section of the old Trinity Road Stand.
"I had a seat on the end of a row, which was great for standing up when they scored."
Not surprisingly, Lee's fondest memories of the heady era when Villa won the League Championship and European Cup.
"That was an outstanding team. Gordon Cowans was my favourite player. Apart from his skill he always seemed to be a modest, unassuming guy. I would love to meet him, just to tell him how much pleasure he gave me over the years.
"I have so many memories of Villa games. That first one at West Brom was an iconic moment and I clearly remember the 1977 League Cup final replay at Hillsborough too. I was at Sheffield at that time, just finishing university.
"I also loved the 1994 League Cup final against Manchester United. I was working in television by then so I watched the 'live' feed in the studio and it was the same for the European Cup final.
"I stayed at my brother Andrew's house in England recently and we watched a DVD of the final!"
It was after Child was made redundant by Granada TV in 1995 that he wrote his first book, creating the hero Jack Reacher, who stands 6ft 5in and fears no man.
Reacher's fictitious CV also states he was born in October 1960, which makes him 50 this month.
"Will he ever retire?" says Child. "He will have to at some point because he's a very physical guy and he can't carry on doing it forever.
"When that happens, I will retire as well, take it easy - and get myself another season ticket."
Click here to pick up tickets for the West Brom clash.
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