Some Really Nice Things to Say

The I Love a Good Mystery Blog has some really nice things to say about THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE.

Imagine sitting down with someone who has a wild story to tell, and manages it
to tell it with great humour.  This person quickly becomes a friend, and lets
you in on all the fun details of his adventure.  Sound good?  If so, get
yourself a copy of Lee Goldberg’s book, THE

…I tore through this book and just couldn’t put it down.  With a terrific style
that makes the reader feel part of the action, Goldberg has managed to create a
very funny book that doesn’t skimp on plot, dialogue or surprise twists.

Thanks — you made my day. It’s rainy here in L.A. and for some reason, writing today has been like chiseling at granite with a cotton ball (that labored metaphor is a perfect example how badly it’s been going).

A Valentine for BADGE

I got a very nice review for THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE yesterday from, of all places, Love  I must admit this site was new to me. The review says, in part:

Lee Goldberg is an acclaimed writer of fiction and non-fiction as well as a TV scriptwriter.  His works come across as  funny and thrilling, but THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE may well be his 
best novel ever.  His humor goes from light to rolling on the floor  laughing and may cause the people around you to wonder just what you are  reading. 

Goldberg has created a perfect character in Harvey Mapes.  He is a man who finds himself looking for more in his life, and takes the leap to find it.  When he finds himself in trouble he doesn’t run away, he goes headlong into the abyss to find out the truth behind the past.  The oversexed security guard will make readers smile and cringe before laughing out loud at his antics.

This novel comes from one of the writers of MONK,  if you think the television show is funny, this is the book for you!

What a wonderful and unexpected valentine...      

A Good Omen for the New Year

Book critic Oline Codgill of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has given me my first review of the new year… here’s an early peek at her Jan. 1st column and her review of THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE:

Anyone who has watched television during the past 10 years probably has at least
more than a passing knowledge of Lee Goldberg’s work. As an author, Goldberg’s
name may not come easily to mind. But as a writer/producer, Goldberg’s credits
include Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Nero Wolfe, Hunter, Spenser: for Hire and
The Cosby Mysteries. He has also written a couple of comic mysteries and
the thriller The Walk.

Credits aside, it’s always what can you do
for me today. And Goldberg does quite a lot in the amusingly hard-boiled The
Man With the Iron-on Badge
. In this novel about a Los Angeles security guard
for a wealthy, gated community, Goldberg delivers a clever riff on the
traditional private eye novel, resplendent with witty and dark turns.

Twenty-nine-year-old Harvey Mapes is approached by one of the residents,
Cyril Parkus, to follow his wife. The spouse, Lauren, is so perfect that even
Harvey wonders how much of her is real.

He has little illusion about his
job — "I’m there to give the illusion of security. I don’t have a gun, a badge,
or even a working stapler." But this undercover assignment will give Harvey a
new view of his work. Not knowing anything about following someone, Harvey
immerses himself in detective lore — watching a Mannix marathon on TV
Land, reading detective novels by Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Robert Crais —
and tries to pass himself as John D. MacDonald, the best-selling author of
detective fiction who’s doing research. Of course, it would help that he knew
what the D. stood for in MacDonald’s name; or realized that everyone he talks to
knows who MacDonald was.

When the path he pursues following Lauren takes
a dark, twisted turn, Harvey refuses to give up. Along the way he will learn
about the lives of others and about himself.

Goldberg’s penchant for
complexity keeps the story on a twisted keel, and with his background, The
Man With the Iron-on Badge
should make a lively movie of the week.

Thanks, Oline!

A Christmas Present from the Chicago Tribune

Yesterday,  Santa left a nice review for MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE from the Chicago Tribune under my tree:

Lee Goldberg, who novelized the Dick Van Dyke character in TV’s "Diagnosis Murder" series into an interesting human being, now bravely marches into territory already staked out by some fierce competition–Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, the early Harlan Coben–and comes out virtually unscathed in what appears to be the start of a series about an overeducated and oversexed Southern California security guard named Harvey Mapes.

Hired by one of the residents of the gated community where he works to follow the man’s wife, Mapes rises to the occasion–often. He also finds himself in deeper and darker water than the community’s oversize pool offers.

BADGE a Bestseller

Someone just sent me this list of December bestsellers from the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association:

1. CONSENT TO KILL by Vince Flynn
2. SPECTRES IN THE SMOKE by Tony Broadbent
3. THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael Connelly
4. GRAVE SIGHT by Charlaine Harris
6. SHROUD OF THE THWACKER by Chris Elliott
7. DELETE ALL SUSPECTS by Donna Andrews
9. DERMAPHORIA by Craig Clevenger
10. THE FIREMAKER by Peter May

FYI, the number one paperback on the list is SOLOMAN AND LORD by my buddy Paul Levine, so he’s buying when we have lunch next week.

UPDATE 12-22-05: I have reason to doubt whether this list is accurate. The email I received reproduced an Independant Mystery Bookseller Association bestseller list that was reprinted in the December newsletter of the Aliens and Alibis Bookstore. However, the December IMBA bestseller list doesn’t actually come out until January…so where did this list come from?

I’ve contacted Aliens and Alibis, and they aren’t sure where they got the list that they published. I’ve enlisted some friends of mine at various mystery book stores to help me figure out whether this is an early IMBA list, another individual bookstore’s bestseller list, or whether it’s a Christmas shopping list someone dropped on the sidewalk somewhere. I’ll let you know what I discover.

“Pamela Anderson, here I come!”

The Contra Costa Times, the largest newspaper in the San Francisco East
Bay, has reviewed THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE.…three weeks after my signing up
there. Oh well, better late than never!

Hero Harvey Mapes is one of those
Everyman kind of guys. Yep, he’s more than a few levels down the ol’
status totem pole. In fact, he might be one of the few guys in the
world deemed unemployable by the car wash.

"What?" you say. "Can’t even get a job at a car wash? That’s
impossible." Tut-tut. Where do you think overnight security guards come
from? 7-Eleven? Perhaps you believe the urban legend that they are
dropped off by the Great Pumpkin?

Yes, Harvey is an overnight security guard. But a guy with some
brains, good instincts, stick-to-it-ness and an encyclopedic knowledge
of TV detectives: Think everything from Frank Cannon to Magnum.
"Iron-on Badge" is the story of Harvey’s transition from security guard
to MAN.

Writer Lee Goldberg is a local success story. Walnut Creek native.
Northgate High School grad. Former freelancer for the Contra Costa
Times, UPI, Newsweek. He’s written for numerous television shows:
"Monk," "Spenser for Hire," "Martial Law," "Hunter" and — boy, he must
have done something right in his past lives — five episodes of

"Iron-on Badge" is his latest book. It is a fun read, and it proves
that as a fellow Contra Costa Times columnist, I have something to look
forward to. Pamela Anderson, here I come! Woo-hoo!

Thanks, Joe!

Author, comic, blogger and international sex symbol Joe Konrath surprised me by giving my new book THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE a plug on Amazon:

This isn’t satire or parody, even though it is laugh aloud funny.
Goldberg has written a cleverly plotted mystery– one that also happens
to be a tribute to mysteries in general, pulps and TV private eyes in

If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll find a lot to like here.
In-jokes abound, and Harvey Mapes is one of the most likeable PIs in
years. But don’t expect Naked Gun type antics. There is blood. There is
sex. There is tragedy. And there are even some bittersweet moments to
go along with the many belly laughs.

The Man with the Iron On Badge
flaunts convention while also being
a part of that very same convention, and the result is a cross between
Dave Barry and Donald Westlake. It’s a one-sitting read, and more than
worth the price of admission.

Thanks, Joe!

Deadly Pleasures finds BADGE a Pleasure

Maggie Mason gave THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE a rave in her review for the upcoming issue of Deadly Pleasures Magazine:

THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE by Lee Goldberg (Five Star,
$25.95) First in the Harvey Mapes series.  Rating A
You wouldn’t think of Harvey Mapes when asked to name a dashing PI.  Harvey
works as a night shift gate guard in a Southern California gated community.  He
lives in an older apartment complex, and isn’t what you’d call a real
go-getter.  Imagine his surprise when a wealthy resident wants to hire him to
find out what is going on with his wife.  Cyril Parkus knows something is wrong
with Lauren, but isn’t sure what. 
Harvey secures a fee a bit over what Jim Rockford used to charge, buys some
disposable cameras, and tails Lauren.  Much of his sleuthing skills are obtained
by watching reruns of classic detective TV shows.  Surprisingly, Harvey is
success full in his endeavors.  Cyril reacts in a strange manner when Harvey
makes his final report, and pays him off.  Harvey is not convinced the entire
story has been told, and continues his investigation, all the while lamenting
his lack of a big, angry, strong sidekick, and an insider at the police
department.  He does have a neighbor named Carol who begins to get involved in
the investigation, and romantically with Harvey, but that won’t help him if he
decides to put up a PI shingle.
Harvey uses his payoff money to go to the Seattle area to continue the
investigation, and does clear everything up, while nearly paying the ultimate price.  The good
news, is he may have obtained his "Hawk" on the trip. 

This was a witty, wonderful book.  It was hard to keep from chuckling out
loud while reading Harvey’s take on how to be a PI.  I remember enjoying
Goldberg’s previous novels, especially MY GUN HAS BULLETS, and this may even top
that for laughs.  The man on the cover illustration looks like a young Tim Daly,
who would perhaps be a good casting decision for the movie that is crying to be
made from this book.

Thank you, Maggie! She’s one of several critics who’ve noted that BADGE is the first in a series. It’s news to me — though perhaps Five Star is saying that it is. I certainly hope I have the opportunity to write more about Harvey but so far, nobody has asked…

I Love a Mystery Loves Badge

The kind folks over at the I LOVE A MYSTERY newsletter have given my new novel THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE a rave review.

Book Cover
For those who have never read one of Lee Goldberg’s books, you are missing some of the most enjoyable reading around. From his DIAGNOSIS MURDER series to his
stand-alone novels, Mr. Goldberg never fails to entertain. Whether he is writing about the lovable Dr. Mark Sloan, the inner workings of Hollywood, or a character dealing with his own demons, he delivers. Once again, with the release of THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE, he comes through.

Harvey Mapes is in his late twenties, stuck in a life of boredom. His job is that of a security guard at a gated community — a rent-a-cop. He has a part-time girl friend in his apartment building. He has the usual dreams of something better, fueled by his love of detective novels and detective show reruns on television. Then, one day, his life takes a change. Cyril Parkus, one of the wealthy residents of the community he “guards” ask Harvey to do him a favor. Cyril needs someone to tail his wife to see what she is up to. Mr. Parkus suspects something but has no proof. Harvey jumps at the chance even though he has no idea of what he is supposed to do. His only guide comes from the characters in novels about Travis McGee, “Dirty Harry” movies, and the “Mannix” and Rockford television shows.

Through a series of humorous actions, dangerous beatings and murders, Harvey pursues the truth – all the while throwing out the usual clichés when he is confronted with danger. Yes, he
actually tells one thug to “Make my day.”

Piece by piece, Harvey becomes a better private eye than he realized he could be. He continues his detective work for two main purposes. One, for his own satisfaction. And two, he wants to impress Carol, his part-time lover, since she seems to have become quite enamored of him now.

Harvey Mapes is the type of wannabe that many of us can see within ourselves. He is the type of fictional character who could find life in several other story lines.

Even though I know that he will find a way, I am wondering how Mr. Goldberg can continue to give us his trademark unique endings. With the conclusion of THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE he once again shows his talent to surprise and please a reader.

The causes behind all the subterfuge and secrets get turned on their heads with the conclusion of his latest work. Not many writers can make us both laugh and feel sad within the same story line.

Thanks so much to Tom Mayes and everyone over at I LOVE A MYSTERY.

M Is For Mystery

Yesterday, I signed at M IS FOR MYSTERY is San Mateo where I met some people I’ve only "known" online, like Rachel (one of my students at Writers University), Keith (the one who isn’t Keith Snyder who comments here), and Teresa (webmistress of a great MONK site). It’s a friendly little store in a charming neighborhood that feels like a small town, circa 1964. Even though I grew up in the Bay Area, I somehow never managed to get to San Mateo before. It was a nice trip. After the signing, I made the long drive back to L.A., listening to Ron McLarty do his usual magnificent job performing an unabridged reading of an Ed McBain 87th Precinct novel. This time, it was the return of The Deaf Man in HARK. Another 100 miles, and I would have finished it…but so far, I’m enjoying the book.