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Harlan Donnally Books In Order

Publication Order of Harlan Donnally Books

Act of Deceit (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Criminal Defense (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Night is the Hunter (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The name Harlan Donnally refers to a series of novels written by Steven Gore. Harlan Donnally is also the name of the author’s protagonist. Like every other Steven Gore book, the Harlan Donnally books are crime novels.

+The Story

Harlan Donnally was once a competent Detective working for the San Francisco police department. However, his life ended, more or less, when he was shot while on duty. Forced to retire on disability, Harlan Donnally decides to do what many of his contemporaries in the crime/mystery genre rarely do.

He actually embraces his retirement. Where other former detectives would choose to seek the thrill of their previous careers by tackling the criminal elements of their city, Harlan decided that he would embrace the quiet life.

This meant finding a cozy place in Mount Shasta, Northern California where he could operate his café in peace. Harlan doesn’t actively seek out danger. However, danger is exactly what he finds when he promises to find his dying friend’s younger sister.

Before long, the former detective is mired in a dark and dangerous world filled with nefarious characters who want nothing more than to do him harm.

Harlan Donnally is a fairly mysterious individual. Excluding the broad strokes of his past that the author sometimes provides, Steven Gore isn’t always keen on expounding upon the details of who Harlan is as a human being and where he came from.

The Harlan Donnally series is distinct from the Graham Gage series. Even though Graham Gage is a private eye, his books are more action-oriented, designed to thrill and excite by pitting the hero against larger than life threats with far-reaching consequences.

Harlan’s books are a little more cerebral and thought provoking. Steven uses the Harlan Donnally series to shine a bright and sometimes intrusive light upon the Justice System in the United States, and what he reveals isn’t always pleasant.

The cases Harlan encounters tend to elicit deep thought and contemplation. And more often than not, Harlan is drawn into situations he would rather avoid. Harlan isn’t as anxious to revisit the dangers of his past as a police officer as many of the heroes that inundate the crime/mystery/thriller genres.

While that doesn’t exactly set him apart, Harlan is definitely a more introspective detective and that makes him more interesting to analyze.

+The Author

Steven Gore is no stranger to murder, fraud, and organized crime. The author spent a notable portion of his life as a private detective. Steven has seen it all, and he has an intimate understanding of the criminal elements that plague the United States, not to mention Asia and Europe.

Steve’s understanding of the criminal arena is such that he is often invited to consult on television shows about crime, and even give lectures to certain organizations about forensic science and its merits.

Steven’s insider knowledge shows in the Harlan books, specifically the manner in which he plots his books and drags readers into the mindset of his weary protagonist.

+Act of Deceit

Harlan Donnally thought that he would be safe in Mount Shasta, far away from the demons of his past and everything he lost in San Francisco. But even in Mount Shasta, Harlan is not nearly as far from crime as he initially hoped.

Harlan, who thought his perilous days were behind him, cannot refuse the request of a dying friend who needs him to deliver a letter to his sister. Upon learning of her demise, Harlan cannot quite comprehend the notion that her killer has yet to be prosecuted.

Harlan is no stranger to the broken nature of the justice system; he isn’t afraid to face that brokenness either as he traverses a land in which the poor are routinely abused by the wealthy.

Harlan knows the dangers that wait ahead but he cannot stop until he uncovers the truth.

This Steven Gore book is more grounded in reality than the Graham Gage books. Harlan is introduced as a figure with a mysterious past, a past he would rather keep hidden. Harlan is hardly the picture of an action hero, more interested in staying out of the fray than engaging in difficult battles.

But once he finally engages in the mystery of the book, Harlan shows a surprising amount of diversity. Harlan is a shrewd player, capable of outthinking his opponents and seeing the truth of things.

However, if the need calls for it, he can be brutal. Harlan is like a hound. Once he sets his mind to the task, he won’t stop until justice is done.

Harlan’s tale begins when his dying friend narrates a story that sees him kill his father when he is caught molesting his young daughter. Because the friend was 15 at the time, he couldn’t take care of his sister, and had little choice but to abandon her to a commune.

As Harlan watches cancer steal his friend’s life away, he cannot ignore his request to find the sister, a task he accomplishes relatively easily, only to learn that she had been murdered some years prior.

Harlan’s fury is ignited when he learns that her killer is walking free. He decides that there is nothing he won’t do to see justice served.

+A Criminal Defense

No one will miss Hamlin. His practice was involved in everything from witness tampering to money laundering. When his corpse is discovered, the police are gleeful, certain that justice has been done, regardless of whether Hamlin was murdered or fell afoul of a dangerous sexual encounter.

Harlan Donnally doesn’t care either way. He wants nothing to do with Hamlin’s situation. However, fate conspires to throw him into the midst of the case, leaving Harlan exposed to all the grudges and betrayals Hamlin left behind.

The second book in the Harlan Donnally series finds Harlan trying and failing to maintain his quiet life in Mount Shasta. When a crooked attorney dies, Harlan is assigned the task of investigating the case, this throwing him back into a world he was sure he had left behind.

Harlan cares little for the Hamlin case. But as he begins his investigation, the detective cannot help but become engrossed in Hamlin’s life and the decisions that led him down his dark past.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Harlan Donnally