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Ralph Dennis Books In Order

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Publication Order of Jim Hardman Books

Atlanta Deathwatch (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Charleston Knife's Back in Town (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Golden Girl and All (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pimp for the Dead (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Down Among the Jocks (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder Is Not an Odd Job (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Working for the Man (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Deadly Cotton Heart (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The One Dollar Rip-Off (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last of the Armageddon Wars (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Buy Back Blues (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hump's First Case (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
All Kinds of Ugly (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Deadman's Game (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
MacTaggart's War / The War Heist (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Broken Fixer / Atlanta (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Talent for Killing (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Spy in a Box (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dust in the Heart (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wind Sprints (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ralph Dennis was a noteworthy novelist hailing from The United States, who was famous for writing suspense, mystery, and detective novels. He was born in North Carolina, U.S., in the year 1931 and passed away in 1988. Author Dennis had completed his academic studies from the North Carolina University. Later, he was involved in teaching television and radio. Author Dennis was particularly well know for writing the Hardman series of novels. This series was first started in 1974 with the book titled Atlanta Deathwatch. Its immense was followed by a few more in the later years and all of them together completed the 12 novel detective series. The chief protagonist depicted by author Dennis in all the books in the form of Jim Hardman, who was shown as a private investigator practicing without a legal license. Jim Hardman was described in each of the books as a former policeman from Atlanta. The other primary character introduced by author Dennis is Hump Evans, who is shown assisting Jim Hardman in his investigative cases. Hump Evans is also a former football player from America, having played the game at the proportional level. Three of the books from the series have been translated and released in the French language in the form of a collection called Black Super. All these translated novels have been regarded as classic hard boiled novels by the literary critic named Claude Mesplede. The style of writing of author Dennis is stated in Mickey Spillane’s continuity and Jim Hardman’s character can be easily compared with the likes of Spenser, who is the fictional detective character created by author Robert B. Parker. In 1976, author Dennis tried to develop a new novel series featuring the main hero named Kane, with the book called Deadman’s Game. In this novel, it is explained that the CIA had erased the memory of Kane. However, the book was not able to gather much of an audience and hence, author Dennis was not successful in carrying the series further. But, he did attempt to write one more book known as Mactaggart’s War. This book was published in 1979.

The Hardman series written by Ralph Dennis is comprised of a total of 13 books, which were released between the years 1974 and 1977. Each and every novel in this detective fiction series depict the chief character as Jim Hardman, who is a detective living in Atlanta and an ex-police officer. Jim Hardman does not posses a license for carrying out detective work still he does not hesitate to take up work related to private investigation. He feels that he can overcome all the obstacles that come in his path for not possessing a valid license. He knows very well how to handle his clients as well as the government agencies to try to make things difficult for him. Whenever Hardman takes up a case, he makes sure that his clients get all the attention. He keeps them updated about the developments in the case and in the end, goes on to solve the case almost all the time. Only sometimes the results do not come in his favor, but such situations seem to be out of reach even for a hardworking detective like Jim Hardman. The debut novel of the Hardman book series is entitled ‘Atlanta Deathwatch’. It was released by the Popular Library publication in 1974. At the start of the story, Jim Hardman is introduced as a private eye who does not fuss about the kinds of work he gets indulged into. The only thing he cares about is the price and seems willing to work only he feels that the price is right. He makes his own laws of good and bad, and is determined to risk his life to abide by them. The latest case that arrives on his desk appears as if Jim Hardman will really have to give away his life. He and his black assistant, Hump Evans, get into a case that involves a Mafia Leader from the black community, a beautiful woman, a murder, and a politician from the white community. The murderer looks to take the lives of his victims irrespective of their sex, race, or creed. The game keeps getting tougher with each passing day and stakes become too high for everyone involved. If Hardman does not take the right step at the right time, he might end up in a coffin buried six feet under. But, Hardman seems to like such a level toughness in his work. He knows how to play the game in such a situation.

Another interesting book published in the series is called as ‘The Deadly Cotton Heart’. This book was also released by the Popular Library publishers in 1976. Author Dennis has introduced the main characters in this story as Hum Evans, Jim Hardman, Xaviera Hollander, and Rebecca. At the beginning of the book, it is revealed that the policemen force Jim Hardman to agree to play a part as a hired gun in their attempt of trapping a stud, who seems to have a big bankroll and an even bigger mouth. This stud appeared to have arrived for murder. The cops give Jim Hardman such a hard time that he reluctantly agrees. Later, Hardman’s income saw a giant boost from a little rich man, who hires Jim Hardman, the hard nosed detective, and his partner in the investigation, Hump Evans, to look for his missing wife. Jim and Evans are informed by the man that the woman, Xaviera Hollander, whom he loved so much had a past because of which she had become like Rebecca from the Sunnybrook Farm. Now, from the point Jim Hardman began working on this case, he was running with his life while trying to chase a non-stop killer. But, there was a big trouble for him in the process. He kept coming across numerous corpses and also kept running into deadly violence. It appeared that Hardman was headed towards the grave of his own. But, given the smart detective that Hardman is, he is capable of finding his way out of troubles. His dedication and determination keep him going and finally becomes successful in hunting down the serial killer. Again, he uses his own intelligence and wit rather than depending on the deductions of others. He follows the rules laid down by him and this helps him in solving the mysterious case once and for all. The little man shows his gratitude in helping him solve the mystery about his way and loads Hardman with a lot of money. Hardman becomes very happy by earning so much money together and thinks of retiring from detective work and live a peaceful life. However, fate had something else planned for him, forcing him to indulge in another difficult case just when he was planning to leave on a long holiday.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ralph Dennis

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