Newly available in print, Joseph Hansen's classic mystery series starring Dave Brandstetter, a gay private eye in 70s and 80s California.
John Oats is dead: drowned in the treacherous waves of the Pacific. He was in great pain, and reliant on morphine; it could easily have been accident or suicide.
But with thousands of dollars in insurance at stake, on a policy which the dead man had meant to change the day he died, Dave Brandstetter thinks it was murder. And between the mysteriously absent son, the bitter ex-wife and the current lover, there are plenty of people with reason to lie to Dave about what really happened that night. And why...
Death Claims is the second Dave Brandstetter novel - one of the best fictional PIs in the business, and one of the first ever gay ones. Joseph Hansen's groundbreaking novels follow Brandstetter as he investigates cases in which motives are murky, passions run high, and nothing is ever as simple as it looks. Set in 1970s and 80s California, the series is a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, with mysteries to match Chandler and Macdonald.
The most exciting and effective writer of the classic private-eye novel working today - LA Times
Hansen, one of the best practitioners of the California private-eye school...writes crisply with a lean, spare prose that echoes Hammett, Chandler and Macdonald - Washington Post
In Brandstetter, Hansen has developed a sympathetic character of depth and integrity - Chicago Sun-Times
No mystery writer is better at evoking the landscape, the light, the architecture and the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles - Time
Hansen is a strong unflinching writer and everything in his taut prose is real - Boston Globe
An exceptionally urbane literary style - New York Times Book Review
Hansen writes about Southern California with the descriptive love once given it by Raymond Chandler - Herald Examiner
An excellent craftsman, a compelling writer, he has a real gift for storytelling - for character, for scene, for pace independent of violence - New Yorker
Joseph Hansen wrote nearly forty novels in the course of a long career, but is best known for the groundbreaking series of twelve Dave Brandstetter crime novels. Brandstetter was a pioneering character: a tough private eye and happily uncloseted gay man. Hansen was an active campaigner for equal rights (though he disliked the word 'gay' and always described himself as 'homosexual'). He founded the pioneering gay journal Tangents in 1965, hosted a radio show called Homosexuality Today, and was involved in setting up the first Gay Pride parade in Hollywood in 1970, the same year that the first Brandstetter novel was published. In 1992, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America. He died in 2004.