Ever since I was given my first Hardy Boys book, I’ve loved American crime fiction. In my younger years, I mulched my way through the canonical books of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, then moved on to the likes of Dorothy B. Hughes, Chester Himes, and Charles Willeford. I felt sure I’d read at least one book by everybody that’s good.
I was wrong. I didn’t know the work of Joseph Hansen. Back in 1970, Hansen began a series of 12 novels about an LA insurance investigator named Dave Brandstetter. The novels were something daring and new: featuring a tough guy detective who was also gay. Now in 2022, Soho Syndicate Books has just begun republishing the entire series, beginning with the first three—Fadeout, Death Claims and Troublemaker. Having just read them, I’m a bit embarrassed it took me so long to discover him.