Before Spenser & Hawk, Elvis Cole & Joe Pike, and Hap & Leonard, there was Jim Hardman & Hump Evans, author Ralph Dennis' legendary 1970s PI team. They're back in the fifth adventure in the beloved and acclaimed series that influenced generations of crime writers.
Retired pro football star Ed Cross did most of his scoring between bed posts with other player's women, including Hump's ex-girlfriend. That was bad enough. But, just to rub it in, Cross sends Hump an x-rated birthday skin flick of him celebrating in bed with two women. Hump goes looking for blood... and finds it. Cross is murdered and Hump becomes the prime suspect. Hardman works to clear Hump and discovers there's plenty of murderous hate for Cross out there...from the top of the sports world to the pits of Atlanta's illegal gambling scene... and revealing it could get them both killed.
This new edition includes an Afterword from Ben Jones, the Dukes of Hazzard actor and former U.S. Congressman from Georgia.
PRAISE FOR THE HARDMAN NOVELS
"Like Chandler and Hammett before him, Dennis was trying to do something different with what was thought of as throwaway literature.” Joe R. Lansdale, New York Times bestselling author of the Hap & Leonard series
“The Hardman books are by far the best of the men’s action-adventure series.” Mother Jones Magazine
“Among the best series books around.” Philadelphia Daily News
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.
It’s June 1940. War is raging in Europe. France is about to collapse to the Nazis. England is bracing for a devastating German invasion…and the fall of the British empire. In desperation, Winston Churchill sends the kingdom’s wealth in gold bullion and securities to Canada for safekeeping. The first of these top secret shipments, traveling by sea to North America and then by train to Montreal, is worth over $500 million. A group of American soldiers are plotting to steal it… and only one man, a lowly agent for the Bank of England, stands in their way.
“A sweeping adventure spectacle.” Kirkus Reviews
“The action highballs along.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A first-rate novel of suspense.” Edward L. Beach, author of Run Silent, Run Deep
A substantially different version of this book was previously published under the title "MacTaggart's War."
Jim Hardman was an Atlanta cop until he was wrongly accused of corruption and thrown off the force. Now he works as an unlicensed PI, trouble-shooter and bodyguard…often partnered with his drinking buddy Hump Evans, a black, ex-NFL player who supports his playboy lifestyle by working as hired muscle.
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. It’s fast work for Hardman, but she’s gunned down minutes after he finds her. To hunt her killer, Hardman and Hump Evans take a deep dive into a bottomless cesspool of vice and greed that could drown them.
This new edition includes an introduction by Joe R. Lansdale, author of the Hap & Leonard novels, and an afterword by Paul Bishop, author and retired LAPD homicide detective.