Ralph Dennis

Ralph Dennis

Ralph Dennis isn’t a household name… but he should be. He is widely considered among crime writers as a master of the genre, denied the recognition he deserved because his twelve Hardmanbooks, which are beloved and highly sought-after collectables now, were poorly packaged in the 1970s by Popular Library as a 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, but they’ve got such terrible covers…”

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.

Ralph Dennis wrote three other novels that were published outside of the Hardman series —Atlanta, Deadman’s Game and MacTaggart’s War— but he wasn’t able to reach the wide audience, or gain the critical acclaim, that he deserved during his lifetime.

He was born in 1931 in Sumter, South Carolina, and received a masters degree from University of North Carolina, where he later taught film and television writing after serving a stint in the Navy. At the time of his death in 1988, he was working at a bookstore in Atlanta and had a file cabinet full of unpublished novels.

Brash Books will be releasing the entire Hardman series, his three other published novels, and his long-lost manuscripts.

Books by Ralph Dennis

Down Among the Jocks – Coming in January 2019

Down Among the Jocks - Coming in January 2019

The fifth novel in the series. Hardman works to clear Hump of a murder charge, an investigation that takes him from the top of the sports world to the pits of Atlanta's illegal gambling scene...

Go to Book

The War Heist – Coming in March 2019

The War Heist - Coming in March 2019

It’s June 1940. War is raging in Europe. Winston Churchill sends Britain's wealth in gold bullion and securities to Canada for safekeeping...and a group of American soldiers intends to steal it.

Go to Book

Pimp for the Dead

Pimp for the Dead

The fourth novel in the series. A small-town farmer hires Hardman to find his teenage daughter who ran off to Atlanta to become a model...and ended up a hooker. 

Go to Book



Reviews For Ralph Dennis

The War Heist – Coming in March 2019 5.0

His prose was muscular, swift and highly readable. Like Chandler and Hammett before him, Dennis was trying to do something different with what was thought of as throwaway literature.

Joe R. Lansdale

The War Heist – Coming in March 2019 5.0

Ralph Dennis is an underappreciated master. His Hardman series is one of the finest in the P.I. genre.

Robert Randisi, founder of the Private Eye Writers of America

The War Heist – Coming in March 2019 5.0

The most beloved obscure private eye writer who ever lived..."

Ed Gorman, founder of Mystery Scene Magazine

Books by Authors Similar to Ralph Dennis

A Long Reach

A Long Reach

Michael Stone

Flawless

Flawless

Tom Kakonis

Man Eater

Man Eater

Gar Anthony Haywood

Storme Warning

Storme Warning

W.L. Ripley

La Mordida

La Mordida

Jim Sanderson