The Return of Hardman

I’m excited to announce that I’ve acquired the rights to all of Ralph Dennis’s work — his published and unpublished novels. Brash Books will be re-releasing his 12 Hardman novels, starting with the first four in December, and the rest through 2019. The Hardman books include a terrific introduction by Joe R. Lansdale. The first two titles in the series, Atlantla Deathwatch  and The Charleston Knife is Back in Town are already available for preorder in paperback and ebook on Amazon, iBook, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
 
We’ll also be re-releasing in 2019 a substantially revised version Ralph’s WWII thriller MacTaggart’s War, which we’ve retitled The War Heist. It was his last published title and didn’t do as well as he, or the publisher hoped. I believe i know why… I’ve gone back to his original manuscript, rearranged chapters, deleted chapters, and made other revisions to heighten suspense, sharpen characters, etc… cutting the book by about 35,000 words along the way (it still clocks in at 100K words).
 
And we’re also going to be releasing many of Ralph’s unpublished novels…which, if they need revision, I will be doing myself. One of the manuscripts is going to be slightly reworked as a sequel to his previous published novel Atlanta (which we are likely to retitle before re-publishing)
 
Boucheron 2013: Joel Goldman, Lee Goldberg and Jeffrey Deaver
Joel Goldman, Lee Goldberg and Jeffery Deaver at Bouchercon Albany where “Brash Books” was born

This has been a passion project for me ever since Bill Crider and Paul Bishop introduced me to the Hardman novels five years ago. I immediately decided I had to get them back into print, so I sought out the advice of my good friend Joel Goldman…and as a result of those discussions, a partnership and a publishing company were born. Now, after the publishing nearly 100 titles together, we are finally putting out the novels that we’d hoped would be our first releases.

Ralph Dennis isn’t a household name… but I believe that he should be. He is widely considered among crime writers as a master of the genre, denied the recognition he deserved because his series of twelve Hardman books, which are beloved and highly sought-after collectables now, were poorly packaged in the 1970s by Popular Library as cheap men’s action-adventure paperbacks with numbered titles.

Even so, some top critics saw past the cheesy covers and noticed that he was producing work as good as John D. MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, Dashiell Hammett, and Ross MacDonald.

The New York Times praised the Hardman novels for “expert writing, plotting, and an unusual degree of sensitivity. Dennis has mastered the genre and supplied top entertainment.” The Philadelphia Daily News proclaimed Hardman “the best series around…”

Unfortunately, Popular Library didn’t take the hint and continued to present the series like hack work, dooming the novels to a short shelf-life and obscurity…except among generations of crime writers, like novelist Joe R. Lansdale (the Hap & Leonard series) and screenwriter Shane Black (the Lethal Weapon movies), who’ve kept Dennis’ legacy alive through word-of-mouth and by acknowledging his influence on their stellar work.  

I can’t wait to hear what you think of the books as they roll out… and I hope you will spread the word. We want Ralph Dennis to get the recognition and readership he’s long deserved.

The Other Lee Goldbergs

Sunny with 200% chance of Lee Goldbergs

For years, I’ve been getting emails, tweets, and posts meant for Lee Goldberg, the WABC weatherman, and for Lee Goldberg, also a  novelist, both of whom happen to live in New York, where Thrillerfest was held this past weekend and I was booked to be a panelist. So while I was at the conference, I decided to sneak away to finally meet my doppelgangers.

Weatherman Lee graciously invited me to the WABC studios on the upper east side. When my wife Valerie and I arrived at the front desk, I introduced myself to the security guard — “Hello, I’m Lee Goldberg, this is my wife Valerie, and we’re here to see Lee Goldberg.” The guard took our IDs, picked up the phone, and called the newsroom to let Weatherman Lee know that “his parents are here to see him.”

Valerie and I looked at each other in horror. Do we look that old? 

Weatherman Lee bounded out to meet us, full of good cheer, and brought us back to the Eyewitness News set, where we took some photos and had a nice chat about the surprising parallels in our lives (for example my father Alan was the anchorman on Eyewitness News on KPIX in San Francisco). Weatherman Lee introduced us to the afternoon anchor David Navarro… and then he asked me if I’d like to join him on-camera to be a guest on his live “on the street” weather report. Of course I said yes.  You can see the Facebook Live version here.  It was a lot of fun. 

These two Lee Goldbergs write thrillers. One of them wrote TRUE FICTION.

The next morning I met up with Novelist Lee, author of The Mentor, for breakfast. It turns out we also had some interesting parallels in our lives. For example. were both published by the Thomas Dunne imprint at St. Martin’s Press (they originally published my novels My Gun Has Bullets and Beyond the Beyond). We had a great time sharing stories about our experiences in publishing and in Hollywood.

Now I’ve got to meet Lee Goldberg, the TV sportscaster in Maine, and Lee Goldberg, the technology writer…and maybe we Lee Goldbergs can figure out why there are so many Lee Goldbergs in publishing and television.

 

 

Lee and Craig Johnson at the Spur Awards

Okay, this is weird. I meant to simply upload this photo to my website… and that headline was supposed to be the caption… but somehow it accidentally became a blog post instead. Well, now that it’s here, I guess I better hurry up and say something about it.

I just returned late last night from Billings Montana, where I attended the Spur Awards, which are the Oscars of western writing. I’ve always been a huge western fan and I’ve been looking for an excuse to attend the Western Writers of America conference for years. I finally got one:  DOUBLE WIDE by Leo Banks won two Spurs — for Best First Novel and Best Contemporary Western — and it was published by Brash Books, the company I co-founded with Joel Goldman four years ago. So I jumped on a plane to be there for Leo and to bask in all the praise he’d be getting.

I was delighted to discover that my old friend producer Rob Word was there, too. Rob and I teamed up some years back to turn Bill Crider’s OUTRAGE AT BLANCO into a TV mini-series. The project fell through, but we had great fun casting and scouting locations in California and Calgary (we haven’t given up hope on filming it someday). He’s a true western lover and historian and is the host of A Word on Westerns. We headed out to Little Big Horn for the day, which we really enjoyed, and hung out at the conference with western literary legends like Craig Johnson, Loren D. Estleman, Preston Lewis, and Johnny Boggs, among others. Rob even convinced me to buy a cowboy hat for the Spur Awards banquet. And it’s a good thing I did, because it turned out that Brash got matching Spur Awards to go along with the two that Leo won. 

Here are some more photos from the event…

Lee with Loren D. Estleman and Preston Lewis

 

Lee, actor A. Martinez, and Leo Banks with their Spur Awards.

 

 

Lee Goldberg is Out-and-About in New York, Tennessee and Kentucky

Lee on the set of his “fake office” in NYC

I’ve been out-and-about a lot the last few weeks and I’m just getting a chance now to catch you up on all the latest news.

Two weeks ago, I was traveling in Memphis to research a new book, and visited Owensboro Kentucky, for a TRUE FICTION booksigning and a screening of the two short films, BUMSICLE and REMAINDERED, that I shot there. At the same time, I delivered the script for a new Hallmark Mystery Movie that I co-wrote with the amazing Robin Bernheim, whose many credits include REMINGTON STEELE, QUANTUM LEAP, and WHEN CALLS THE HEART.  

Speaking of Hallmark Mysteries, my friend Phoef Sutton just scored raves, and big ratings, for his latest Hallmark movie, DARROW & DARROW: IN THE KEY OF MURDER. You can read an interview with him about it at Kings River Life magazines.

I was only hone for a few days before I had to jet off to New York, where I was shot some new TRUE FICTION promos for Amazon Publishing. While I was there, I got a chance to see Amazon Publishing honcho Jeff Belle (who has been a big supporter of me and my books for years), and Amazon-bestselling authors Robert Dugoni and Mark Sullivan, who has co-authored five books with James Patterson.

Speaking of Patterson, it’s great to see my friend, Edgar-winning author, and Appellate Court Judge David Ellis get a shout-out/acknowledgment as the ghostwriter channeling Bill Clinton &  Patterson in Janet Maslin’s review of THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING

The props dept create framed photos and other props for the fake office.

I learned this morning that Scott Brick, narrator of the five Fox & O’Hare books I co-wrote with Janet Evanovich, and HOUSE OF SECRETS (coauthored by my brother Tod Goldberg and Brad Meltzer), has been as the new voice of Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher! (The legendary Dick Hill is retiring). I’m very happy for Scott and hope he’ll still squeeze in time to narrate more of my books 🙂

And, in case you missed it last week, author/editor Steph Cha had the brilliant idea of assigning my brother Tod  to interview me for Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB)….the result is probably the most personal, and indepth interview I’ve ever done. I hope you like it. 

Mark Sullivan, Lee Goldberg and Jeff Belle

Goldberg vs Goldberg: The Interview

Author/editor Steph Cha​ had the brilliant idea of assigning my brother Tod Goldberg the task of interviewing me for Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB)​….the result is probably the most personal, and indepth interview I’ve ever done. I hope you like it. Here’s an excerpt:

Lee and his brother Tod express their delight at having books released simultaneously in June 2016

TOD: I often get asked what it’s like to have a family of writers and artists, and it’s hard to explain, exactly, because it’s the only way we’ve lived. Our sisters are both writers and artists, our mother, after her socialite period, became a newspaper columnist covering socialites, our father not that I ever lived with him as a sentient human as you noted, was a TV news journalist, and then there’re all the uncles and cousins and whatnot, too. But you were the first one, really, to make it on a national stage, which I know gave me the confidence to aim big, and which I suspect made it easier for our sisters, too. Did seeing mom’s and dad’s success and, in many ways, eventual failure both of them had these sort of big-league dreams but ended up never quite getting there, which ended up driving them both a bit mad provide some motivation for you?

LEE: There’s no question that dad being on television and mom being a writer shaped me in profound ways. There is a lot of both of them in me … though more of mom than dad. They were both comfortable in front of an audience, whether it was on camera or standing on front of people. Mom had a big, outgoing personality and great sense of humor. She was a deft schmoozer and a big ego. She was a profound exaggerator in her storytelling, for both comic and dramatic effect. She went after what she wanted, personally and professionally. She was a fighter. I have a lot of those same attributes, though I hope with less of the destructive flip side. For example, I know when I am exaggerating a story and, I like to believe, so does my audience. We’re in on the joke together. It’s like when an audience buys into the franchise of a TV series … no matter how ludicrous it might be (she’s a nun — and she can fly! A detective with OCD! A drug-addicted doctor who hates his patients!) … because they want to enjoy the ride. Unlike mom, I don’t believe my exaggerations are the truth and then exaggerate them the next time I tell the story, and then exaggerate that, until I am heading into something approaching clinical delusion. I know where the truth ends and the embellishment, for comedic or dramatic effect, begins. I’m deeply afraid the day will come, though, when I lose that self-awareness.

I haven’t talked much about dad because he wasn’t really in my life after I was 10 years old (though he was in my life more than you or our sisters). Dad grew up wanting to be a TV anchorman … despite coming from a small logging town and having zero contacts … and yet he achieved that dream. He eventually became an anchorman on KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco … a major station in a major market … and it should have been a stepping-stone to the national stage. Getting there had to take talent, drive, and confidence … but somewhere along the line he lost his mojo … or, more likely, his backbone. I was too young at the time to know why or how it happened, or if mom was somehow to blame. But he became a weak, wishy-washy, superficial man. He let people, he let life, walk all over him. He stood up for nothing and nobody and lost everything. He showed me it was possible to achieve your dream, but through his failure, he also showed me you had to be strong to keep it. That’s not all I learned from him. Seeing him on TV every night also made television — the industry and the medium — something approachable to me. He made the TV part of my family. He made it small and human. My father was a TV screen, and I knew that I was stronger than he was. So yeah, I could break into TV. No problem. And I did.

You can read the full  interview here. 

My Favorite One-Star Reviews of My Books

I like praise as much as anybody else, but I also get twisted enjoyment sometimes out of reading reviews that trash my books. Here are some of my favorite one-star reviews of my work:

Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. Skimmed through it so to save my brain cells from the most tabloid trash movie script effort of writing. My desperate need for a book still does not justify me actually turning the pages. Read the comics, you will be much better off and not have my need to flay myself for reading such trash.

Anytime it takes me four days to read a book is a sign it’s not going good.

This is such juvenile junk! The author of this trash has a sick, degraded mind.

this book is not something you can read to your mom or grandmom. The sexual references, while not too graphic, are still too embarrassing to be read aloud.

The only book I have deleted from my Kindle. Only gave it one star because there was no lower rating

This could have been a pretty good book except the author had to ruin it with the “f” word dozens of times & even used God’s name in vein a few times. Shame on you!!!!

Depressing to know the author is so widely read.

He’s about as funny as an uninvited guest standing in a corner with a lampshade over his head.

Terrible read. Dialogue was among silliest ever possibly strung together in one book. Looking forward to read the sequel soon.

This could have been a pretty good story line but the writer needs more imagination and a whole lot more English lessons. If I could give it less than one star I would. If he cleans up his act and works a little harder he may get to be a good writer but for now it’s a “don’t bother”

Mind-numbingly bad. We read books to entertain and stimulate our brains. This written by the numbers drivel will put it to sleep, induce a coma and flush all rational thought from your mind forever. Read at your own risk. You’ve been warned.

While Lee Child, Micheal Connelly and Joseph Wambaugh will never win Nobel Prizes, trash like this shows what good and articulate craftsmen they are.

Shame on you Lee Goldberg. I am done with anything with your name on it .

I haven’t read it yet — hopefully it is good

Too Daisy Duke for me!

 

TRUE FICTION Videos Hit the Web

The first of many TRUE FICTION videos and trailers have hit the web (I shared some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot a few weeks back). I really love this “movie style” trailer for the book:

And in this one, I personally invite you to read the book:

I can’t wait for the other videos to come out. They include short interviews and some embarrassing photos from my dark, mysterious past. They will be all over the web but I will be sure to share them here with you, too. I’ll also be sharing photos from my book tour, which begins April 14 at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego.

I’m Not Jack Reacher

True Fiction by Lee Goldberg

True Fiction by Lee GoldbergThere’s a great interview with me today in Publishers Weekly about my new book True Fiction, which comes out in just a few weeks. I just wish I hadn’t suggested that I’m celibate! 🙂

Ian Ludlow is me. I wanted to create a character with zero superskills. He’s not Jack Reacher or James Bond. He’s not Navy SEALs, Special Forces, or even a superlover. He’s a writer. He makes stuff up. He has to become a hero. Ludlow is out of shape and doesn’t have sex. He’s anything but the stereotypical super character. He faces danger and runs like hell—until he’s forced not to. The only person in the novel who has special powers is utterly insane.

A Brash Birthday

Lee Goldberg & Joel Goldman making a brash fashion statement

Three years ago this week, Joel Goldman and I launched our publishing company Brash Books with thirty titles, all of them acclaimed, award-winning books that had fallen out of print…and that we brought back in new print and digital editions.

Our mission was cocky and ambitious: to publish the best crime novels in existence. We believe we’ve lived up to that brash goal. We now have just about 100 titles in print, more than a dozen of them brand new books, many by first-time authors who’ve never been published before. Our books have consistently scored rave reviews from the industry trades… including three STARRED reviews from Publishers Weekly. We’ve also sorted through nearly 900 manuscript submissions.
 
We want to give our heartfelt thanks to all of our readers and especially to these amazing authors for putting their faith in us:
 
Leo W. Banks, Robert E. Dunn, Patrick E. McLean, Bill Crider, Bob Forward, Phoef Sutton, Margaret Moseley Burris, Mark Rogers, Jane Waterhouse, Jim Sanderson, Philip Reed, Robin Burcell, Gar Anthony Haywood ,Warren Ripley, Andy Straka, Dick Lochte, Craig Faustus Buck, Noreen Ayres, Michael Genelin Gerald Duff, Max Allan Collins, Dallas Murphy, A.W. Mykel, Phillip Thompson Mark Smith, Barbara Neely, Maxine O’Callaghan, Geoffrey Miller, Tom Kakonis, Jack Bunker, Michael Stone, and the estates of Jimmy Sangster, Ted Thackrey Jr. , Jack Lynch, and Stan R. Lee.
 
This year we made a big push into audiobooks and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing, super-talented narrators. So we’d like to thank Travis Baldree, Harry Dyson, J Rodney Turner, Shawn Compton and John Burlinson for their stellar work.
 
And finally, none of this would have been possible without the hard work of our office manager Denise M. Fields and graphic artist Jacqui Hair, who created our Brash logo and does all of our advertising. We’d also like to thank the many freelance graphic artists who designed our covers.
 
We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for Brash Books, our authors, and our readers.