Brash Blog

Big Ideas and Big Names in suspense from Brash Books

Get the big ideas from the biggest names in suspense on the Brash Books blog. Here, you'll find posts by some of your favorite mystery authors sharing their views on crime fiction - along with inside stories about everything from how they wrote their bestselling thrillers to what inspires them.

You'll also hear from experts in the mystery and suspense genre, along with fans, publishing insiders, and of course, Brash Books. Posts will range from informative to controversial - but you can bet every one will be a compelling read. This is your destination to explore great crime fiction writing - past, present and future - from the authors, readers, and publishers who keep it alive.

I bought Ernest Tidyman’s novel Shaft in 1970 at Iowa Book & Supply in Iowa City, on my way to class at the University of Iowa. I bought the first edition hardcover primarily because its black private eye hero was described in the jacket copy as making “Mike Hammer look like a sissy.” When the film Shaft came out in 1971, Barb and I were there. We were perhaps unlikely fans of blaxploitation movies (then in their earliest stages), but we went to scads of the things, from Cotton Comes to Harlem to Coffy, from Slaughter to Super Fly. For us, Shaft topped them all, due to the perfect marriage of the opening Isaac Hayes theme, Richard Roundtree’s charismatic performance, and... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins: Talkin’ About SHAFT

There are times I get the odd review from readers and critics that my characters are too glib or too articulate to be tough guys.  Or, “real people don’t talk like that”.  Early in my writing career, I wrote a Young Adult novel that was rejected because, “young people aren’t this articulate or humorous” (now you know why more teens don’t read). If you met my four kids and their friends you would find that some people (those with intellect and a sense of humor) do talk like that.  Why? Because they are well-read, articulate and intelligent and each possess a well-developed sense of humor. Second, if you met my friends, you would likewise acknowledge... more

Read More of Real People Don’t Talk Like That

Ralph

Today we're publishing  The Buy Back Blues, the 12th and final book in the Hardman series by Ralph Dennis. To mark the occasion, we're sharing the revealing, deeply personal essay that author Cynthia Williams wrote about Ralph as an afterword for Murder is Not an Odd Job, the 6th book in the series. I knew Ralph Dennis first as a teacher, and later as a friend and mentor. Eventually, he asked me to marry him, but I refused, and our friendship ended. Obviously, I will remember Ralph differently from the men who knew him, because he was, in some ways, a different person with me. I met Ralph Dennis in 1966. I was in my junior year at UNC- Chapel Hill, majoring in... more

Read More of Ralph

For decades, collectors have searched for copies of Ralph Dennis' paperback original DEADMAN'S GAME. It was the most difficult of Ralph's titles to find...and rumors of an unpublished sequel became something of an urban legend.   Now DEADMAN'S GAME is back ... and paired with the long-lost unpublished sequel...to create a new novel, A TALENT FOR KILLING, which is now available for pre-order in paperback and ebook editions (for release on Sept 2, 2019).   Ralph is, of course, is best known for his legendary Hardman series of twelve crime novels, which were published in mid-to-late 1970s. But seven books into Hardman, Ralph walked away from the series to try... more

Read More of A TALENT FOR KILLING

Paul Bishop is a huge Hardman fan and in this essay,  from our reissue of Pimp For The Dead, he talks about the cultural forces that shaped the creation of the series...and the market forces that doomed it to obscurity. Paul is 35-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. His career included a three year tour with his department's Anti-Terrorist Division and over twenty-five years' experience in the investigation of sex crimes. He currently conducts law enforcement related seminars for city, state, and private agencies.  In 1974, Atlanta Deathwatch, the first Hardman novel by Ralph Dennis, debuted as a paperback original from Popular Library. It was done... more

Read More of A Hardman is Good To Find

Lee Goldberg has written an essay for the CrimeReads website about how his love for Ralph Dennis' incredible Hardman series of crime novels led to him co-founding Brash Books. Here's an excerpt: Jim Hardman is in his 40s, a pudgy, balding ex-cop with a steady girlfriend…who does odd jobs with his drinking buddy Hump Evans, a black ex-NFL player who supports his playboy lifestyle by hiring himself out as muscle. They are functioning alcoholics, drinking booze morning, noon and night as if its mineral water, doing whatever they have to do, short of murder or bank robbery, to make a living in the seamy underworld of 1970s Atlanta, as equal partners and, although it remains unspoken,... more

Read More of Lee Goldberg’s Obsession to Republish Ralph Dennis