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Robert E. Bailey Books In Order

Publication Order of Art Hardin Mystery Books

Private Heat (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dying Embers (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Bang (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Small Matter of Ten Large (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Robert E. Bailey is American author, a former corporate security director. For 20 years Bailey served as a licensed private investigator. In 1998, his debut novel, Private Heat is an action-packed thriller novel won the Josiah Bancroft Award and the book was later nominated for a Shamus Award in 2003. As a Vietnam-era draftee, Bailey retired from the army as a field grader and reservist officer. He returned to his “first love” of writing after he got injured on the job which made him unable to work on the street.

Bailey has two adult sons and four grandsons. Private Heat, his debut novel was published by M. Evans & Co. during the winter of 2002. The book also marked the beginning of his long-running series Art Hardin Mystery.

Private Heat

Private Heat is Robert E. Bailey debut novel and also the first in Art Hardin series. The story introduces the readers to Art Hardin, a middle-aged guy married to his beautiful wife, has three sons, a dog, and an old black sedan. He would be happy making ends meet by taking pictures of cheating spouses and chasing fraudulent insurance claims. Anyway, that is his plan of what he intends to do after retiring from his job as a counterintelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Service (DIS), a branch of the government.

Unfortunately, on the other hand, the highest rated attorney Martin Van Pelham has other intentions for the Private Investigator. Then Van Pelham’s niece Karen whom he raised as his biological daughter has gotten herself into some big trouble, and Hardin’s task is to ensure that no harm comes her way and that she stays alive for long to answer for it.

The first problem that Hardin encounters is Karen’s unwillingness to cooperate with his plan, but instead, she chooses to attack him with a camping hatchet. The next problem that he comes across and that he has to deal with is the abusive and the crooked police officer, Randy Talon who is also Karen’s husband.
Even with the aid of his bounty hunter wife, Wendy, and also his friend Rog Craig, a former CIA agent the case proves to be more dangerous to handle.

Private Heat is a fast-paced and a well-written mystery thriller. The author, Bailey uniquely writes with a realism that showcases that he has walked the walks of a Private Investigator himself. He presents his writing with authority to create a seasoned story with lots of plot twists and red herrings to keep even the most hardcore thriller/mystery reader at the edge of his/her seat. This first novel is also an excellent example of a book that takes its readers to new places and in this case in Grand Rapids. The author has also neatly crafted the main character, Art Hardin. Hardin is not your typical Private Investigator, he is wise and cracks each single mystery brought forth to him. Bailey has crafted him in a way that makes him come into life.

Dying Embers

Dying Embers is book two in Art Hardin Mystery. In this second book, we again meet the retired military intelligence officer now working as a private investigator. He is content with his everyday caseload involving employee theft and insurance fraud. So when a rich industrialist approaches the private investigator to help him find an old flame, at first Hardin is wary of taking the case. However, Wendy, Hardin’s wife pushes him, and this makes him agree to help, but only if the decision to make contact is left to the missing individual.

The former flame, the solitary but a prominent artist who had changed her identity winds up dead several moments after the private investigator locates her. His client now ends up being charged with murder and Art finds his detective license revoked. Hardin also finds himself the subject of “professional” scrutiny, his office ransacked, and his life on the risk after a shootout emerges on the street.
However, with the FBI short on information but long on requests, they approach Hardin for his help- but only to act as bait. Hardin out of options agrees but with an ace in his hand. Assisted by an outlaw motorcycle gang, Hardin makes sure that this time the bait is going to strike back.

Dead Bang

Some secrets tend to age well, but other tends to fester. Art Hardin the, the retired counterintelligence officer now working as a private investigator is a man of many secrets. One of these dark secrets has fallen into the hands of a local television muckraker, a secret that when exposed can cause trouble.
As soon as Art locks horn with the news reporter, his wife, Wendy takes him to the airport to pick up a friend returning from a Caribbean trip. Karen Smith disembarks from the plane with a suitcase full of money, but Karen does not know a thing about the money, but his boyfriend does. Using a fake Canadian passport to enter the United States, he packed the money in Karen suitcase so that he would not have to carry it through the customs.

After a heated argument and a shootout that occurs at Karen’s house, the money vanishes from Karen’s suitcase. Lots of people desperately needed the money; some of them detonate a bomb at the television station when Hardin is on air with the muckraker reporter while others kidnap Karen, and after that things get truly nasty.

Only in Art Hardin’s world can a pickup with a friend from the airport and lunch with a reporter can result in a crazy ride of international talks of mob cover-ups and intrigue. Dead Bang is the 3rd novel in Art Hardin series by Robert E. Bailey. It is a fast-paced story that will keep you on the edge of your seat while increasing your urge to turn pages. The main plot revolves around an old friend of Hardin’s who is duped into carrying money for a terrorist organization.

Robert E. Bailey has crafted a cast of characters that are not interesting but also believable. The plot features plenty of twists and red herrings to keep you hooked to the very last page.

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