cover image Atlanta Deathwatch

Atlanta Deathwatch

Ralph Dennis. Brash, $14.99 trade paper (230p) ISBN 978-1-732-06566-6

Originally published in 1974, the hard-hitting first in Dennis’s Jim Hardman series introduces Hardman, a disgraced cop turned private investigator. On the side, Hardman runs contraband with Hump Evans, a former NFL star, who serves as his dented moral compass, deep in the Atlanta underworld. A new client, a white businessman, hires Hardman to trail his 19-year-old daughter, Emily Campbell, who, after a strong freshman year at college, has become distracted by something off-campus. Hardman follows her to a bar where all the other drinkers are black. Soon Emily winds up dead, with a string of other corpses trailing behind her. When the local mob boss, who was Emily’s lover, employs Hardman to solve her murder, Hardman plays both sides of the law. The noir shifts into deeper shades of gray as Hardman survives a bloodbath in a Mafia nightclub that results in the bad guys drawing a target on his chest. Dennis (1931–1988) pulls no punches in this lightning-paced crime story packed with irreverence and loads of action. Joe R. Lansdale provides the appreciative introduction. (Dec.)