Lee Goldberg is an author, TV producer and co-founder of the new Brash Books imprint - focused on bringing the best of crime and thriller writing to new readers.
We all know Mike Hammer, V.I. Warshawsky and the Continental Op, so I asked Lee if he'd like to shed some light on a few lesser-known (but no less good) private investigators.
The hero of eight private eye novels set in San Francisco by Jack Lynch. Bragg is an ex-reporter and ex-bartender who is equal parts Lew Archer and Mike Hammer. He can be tough, but he's not always the toughest guy in the room, or even necessarily the smartest, but he gets the job done, though not without suffering some emotional and psychological pain along the way. He's more human than most PIs... and his cases will stick with you.
Great, obscure series set in Atlanta by Ralph Dennis, published in the 1970s. Jim Hardman is a disgraced ex-cop who teams up with his African-American buddy Hump, a former pro-football player sidelined by a knee injury, as quasi-PIs in Atlanta... and who aren't above breaking the law to make a buck. Hardman is Spenser without the self-confidence or moral superiority, and Hump is Hawk, only not so fearsome and homicidal. I love these books but they can be hard to find.
The LA PI hero of three novels by Timothy Harris. Kyd is damaged goods, barely scraping by, who inevitably gets involved in psychologically wrenching cases, often involving duplicitous women and seriously messed up kids, almost always caught in the grip of Hollywood-industry madness and avarice. Very dark, very hardboiled, very good.
Real-life PI Michael Stone's bounty-hunter hero, based in Denver. Streeter's very tough-guy exterior hides a soft heart. He's a string of ex’s… ex-linebacker, ex-accountant, ex-bouncer, and a four-time ex-husband … who excels at exacting justice… with explosive results.
What other private investigators should be made public? What authors and detectives would you recommend?