The time I met George Clooney

Thinking about Sean Connery got me thinking about the Bahamas… which got me thinking about the time I met George Clooney in Nassau.


My wife Valerie and I had just finished spending a week or so vacationing in Nassau and were the only passengers in a rickety van to the airport that stopped at several hotels along the way. At the last hotel stop, Clooney, Richard Kind and some other guys climbed aboard. Clooney was wearing a big sun hat and was very gregarious. I believe he was on SISTERS at the time. I introduced myself and told him how much I enjoyed his co-starring role in a busted pilot that my friend, and mentor, Michael Gleason wrote and produced (a series I would have worked on if it had been picked up). Clooney said he loved working with Michael and we all got into a nice conversation, first about the pilot, then into other things that had nothing to do with the business, like what we’d seen and done in Nassau, etc.


Suddenly there was a loud bang, the van lurched and veered, and the female driver pulled over to the side of the road. A tire on the van had blown out…it was shredded… and she had no spare… and wasn’t able to, or was having difficulty, reaching her dispatcher. I think we were stuck there for 45 minutes or an hour… I don’t recall. We all knew were all going to miss our flights.


None of us were upset about it, these things happen, but with each passing minute, she got more and more freaked out, eventually breaking into tears of frustration. Which was odd, because none of us was blaming her or expressing any anger. So Clooney gave her a hug, reassured her that everything was fine, nobody was mad at her, and insisted that she take his hat. Which she did, with a great, big smile on her face, and she stopped crying. I was immediately wowed by what a nice guy he was.


A few years later, when Clooney was a big star on E.R., Valerie and I ran into him again at a restaurant in the valley. He was at the next table with Miquel Ferrer. I said hello to Clooney and reminded him that we met in the Bahamas on a van to the airport. He vividly remembered the experience, introduced us to Ferrer, explained to us how they were related to one another, and then proceeded to tell the whole van story to him. We chatted for a little while and then went back to our meals. I was amazed and pleased that fame hadn’t changed him. He was still a nice, easy-going guy. I hope that’s still true.

The Time I Met Sean Connery

I’m a huge James Bond fan. I have all the Bond posters. I’ve interviewed just about everyone who wrote a Bond film between 1962 and 1987, the producers, a few of the directors, and every actor who’d played Bond up to that point…except Sean Connery. But I did encounter him once, in the early 1980s.

I went to the Plitt, a movie theatre that once existed in Century City, to see an early show of ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. I was getting popcorn when I realized the man standing next to me was Sean Connery. I was speechless. The first thing that struck me was, holy shit, that’s Sean Connery. The second thing that struck me was that he looked so, well, ordinary. He was wearing one of those sweat suits with the stripe down the sleeves and pant legs. My grandfather had one like it. And because he appeared so ordinary, I decided not to bother him by saying anything, to treat him as I would anybody else. I gave him a polite smile, he smiled at me in return, and I took my popcorn & Coke and went into the theater.


And, as it turned out, he and his wife sat right behind me. For a while, I was frozen. OH MY GOD. SEAN CONNERY IS SITTING RIGHT BEHIND ME. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do with my head or my body.


The movie started… and his wife wouldn’t stop talking. It really began to get on my nerves. I stopped thinking about SEAN CONNERY. I started thinking about that woman who was ruining the movie for me. I was about to turn around and ask her, Mrs. Sean Freaking Connery, to please lower her voice when Sean Connery turned to her and said:


“Would you please shut up? I can listen to you any time. I came here to listen to Jimmy Woods.”

It was an epiiphany for me. Sean Connery looked like an ordinary guy because he was… he just happened to be one who made his living as an actor rather than, say, a contractor or mechanic. And from that moment on, I was never intimidated or uncomfortable around a celebrity again, which has been a big benefit in my career.

He will always be, at least for me, the one and only true James Bond.

Mission Accomplished: Hardman is Back

I can’t believe this day has finally come — all 12 of Ralph Dennis’ HARDMAN novels are back in print in new ebook and paperback editions (and in audio for the first 4 titles) If I’d known how much time it would take, and how much money it would cost, I’m not sure that I would have embarked on the quest.
 
But I am so glad that I did. Not just because the books are back in print, but for the journey itself. If not for Hardman, I never would have launched Brash Books five years ago with my good friend Joel Goldman (with the invaluable day-to-day guidance of Denise M. Fields), and I never would have experienced the honor & joy of publishiing amazing new novels by Phillip Thompson, Leo W. Banks, Robert E. Dunn Phoef Sutton, Robin Burcell, Mark Rogers, Craig Faustus Buck, Michael Genelin, Warren Ripley, Gerald Duff, Jack Bunker, and Patrick E. McLean…as well as bringing back-into-print 80 other crime novels by some of the most talented and acclaimed authors in the business.
 
It’s a big day for me, but I’m just getting started. There are more of Ralph’s novels coming soon…and a lot more reprints and never-before-published new books representing “the best crime novels in existence.” It a brash claim, and one I hope to keep making for a long time to come.
 
 

LOST HILLS is coming!

I’m so excited about this! Yesterday KILLER THRILLER launched and today my novel LOST HILLS, the first in a new series, is now available for preorder on Amazon.
 
Here are just some of the pre-release blurbs:
 
Lost Hills is what you get when you polish the police procedural to a shine: a gripping premise, a great twist, fresh spins and knowing winks to the genre conventions, and all the smart, snappy ease of an expert at work.” Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of the Edgar, Anthony, Barry and Macavity award-winning Into The Woods and a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
 
Lost Hills is a tense, pacy read from one of America’s greatest crime and thriller writers. We have a sense of real characters doing real police work, not snatching answers out of the air.” — Garry Disher, the Ned Kelly Award-winning, international bestselling author of the Inspector Challis series
 
“Thrills and chills! Lost Hills is the perfect combination of action and suspense, not to mention Eve Ronin is one of the best new female characters in ages. You will race through the pages!” — Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author
 
Lost Hills is a top-notch procedural that shines like a true gem.” —Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mysteries, the basis of Netflix’s Longmire
 
“A winner. Packed with procedure, forensics, vivid descriptions, and the right amount of humor. Fervent fans of Connelly and Crais, this is your next read.” —Kendra Elliot, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of A Merciful Secret
 
“Brilliant! Eve Ronin rocks! With a baffling and brutal case, tight plotting, and a fascinating look at police procedure, Lost Hills is a stunning start to a new detective series. A must-read for crime fiction fans. –-Melinda Leigh, Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Charts Bestselling author
 
 

Lee Discounted

To celebrate the upcoming release of KILLER THRILLER on 2/12, Amazon Publishing has dramatically slashed the prices on everything I’ve ever written for them. Here’s the rundown…

THE BIG DISCOUNTS:

The ebook edition of TRUE FICTION is only $1.99 and the print editions are 50% off.

“Thriller fiction at its absolute finest—and it could happen for real. But not to me, I hope.” —Lee Child

“This may be the most fun you’ll ever have reading a thriller. It’s a breathtaking rush of suspense, intrigue, and laughter that only Lee Goldberg could pull off. I loved it.” —Janet Evanovich

King City by Lee Goldberg book coverThe ebook edition of KING CITY is only 99 cents…and the print edition is 20% off.

“I could tell you that Lee Goldberg’s King City is one of the best reads of the year or that Lee is one of my favorite writers for so many reasons—plotting, character, or his incredible sense of humor—but that might ruin the surprise of reading King City for yourself. Suffice to say that Goldberg is one infinitely readable master of crime fiction, and King Cityis Lee at his best.” —Craig Johnson

The seven volumes of THE DEAD MAN series, each one containing three action/adventure/horror novellas, are only 99 cents each…and the print editions are 25% off. You can find the entire series here.

“Buckle up! THE DEAD MAN starts at full-speed and never lets up. This is big-ticket horror with characters you care about who are driven to the very edge. Highly recommended!” —Jonathan Maberry

The Dead Man Series

 

The Thrilling Big Thrill Interview

The Big Thrill, the magazine of the International Thriller Writers, has published a detailed interview with me about KILLER THRILLER, how I write, the traits I share with my characters, and how many goats I sacrifice for each book. You can find it here. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt:

Killer Thriller by Lee GoldbergThe character of “Ian Ludlow” is based on your first pen name. If you were writing your own story, would it read like these novels?

Not at all. My life isn’t as exciting as his…

I lead a very normal, domestic home life. I’m your average husband and father…I walk the dog (and pick up poop), I go shopping at Costco, I grill a lot of meat, I buy clothes at the outlet mall, I embarrass my daughter, I exasperate my wife—nothing very glamorous or exciting. And I love every minute of it. The only difference between me and a million other dads out there is that I get paid to make stuff up.

What Ian and I share in common is our physical build, the way we dress, and what we do for a living. And, like him, I’m creeped out by how much of the stuff that I make up to entertain people is coming true.

 

Lots of Lee Coming Your Way

Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg

I’ve got lots of exciting news to share about the new books and movies that I’ve written that are coming your way over the next few weeks…

MYSTERY 101 AIRS ON SUNDAY

Set your DVRs! I co-wrote and co-created, with my good friend Robin Bernheim, the mystery movie/TV series pilot MYSTERY 101, which airs on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on January 27th. If you’ve enjoyed my work on DIAGNOSIS MURDER and MONK, I think you’ll like this movie, which stars Jill Wagner as an English professor who specializes in crime fiction…and applies what she’s learned from the great detectives to solve murders herself. You cam learn more about the movie, and see some sneak previews and behind-the-scenes interviews here. If the movie does well in the ratings, you can expect to see more MYSTERY 101 movies later this year.

 

THRILLING REVIEWS FOR KILLER THRILLER

The reviews have started coming in for my new novel KILLER THRILLER, the sequel to TRUE FICTION, which will be released on February 12th.

“The pleasure here is watching Goldberg mock the thriller form while creating a first-rate one, boiling with chases, fights, sweaty-palm tension, snappy dialogue, and glamorous, exotic locations—this time, post-Maugham Hong Kong and its stunning outdoor escalators. It’s really a sophisticated exercise in metafiction: commenting on narrative while creating it.” Booklist

It grabs you from page one with brilliant wit, sharply honed suspense, and a huge helping of pure originality.” —Jeffery Deaver, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Goldberg’s thrillers are some of the wittiest around, and his newest doesn’t disappoint…a meta-thriller that’s genuinely heart-pounding but also clever enough to keep you smiling and reading on.” Crime Reads

Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg is an action-packed treasure filled with intrigue, engaging characters, and exciting, well-rendered locales. With Goldberg’s hyper-clever plotting, dialogue, and wit on every page, readers are in for a blast with this one!”—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg“A solid thriller that moves fast and is tons of fun. It’s rare for a sequel to be better than the original, but Lee Goldberg’s Killer Thriller takes Ian Ludlow to new heights. Diehard fans of the genre should definitely check this one out.” The Real Book Spy

“A delight from start-to-finish, a round-the-world, thrill-a-minute, laser-guided missile of a book.” —Joseph Finder, #1 New York Times bestselling author

You can pre-order the book here. [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079L6Q5KS/lg-website-20}

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

Goodreads is giving away 100 copies of KILLER THRILLER. You can sign up for free here 

SIGN UP FOR DISCOUNTS & DEALS

The imminent release of KILLER THRILLER means there will soon be some big discounts and special offers on my “backlist” titles like TRUE FICTON and THE WALK. Don’t miss out! Be sure to click “follow” on my Amazon Author page to be alerted to all the upcoming discounts and special offers on my books.

SEE ME ON THE ROAD

I’ll be hitting the road to spread the good word about KILLER THRILLER, starting on February 12th. You can find my tour/event schedule here.

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.