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Atlanta Deathwatch

Hardman, Book 1
Narrated by: Shawn Compton
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)
Regular price: $19.95
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Publisher's Summary

The first novel in the unforgettable, long-lost series by Ralph Dennis is finally available…after being coveted for years by collectors of the very best in hard-boiled fiction. 

Jim Hardman was a mediocre Atlanta cop until he was wrongly accused of corruption and thrown off the force. Now he works as an unlicensed PI, trouble-shooter, and bodyguard…often partnered with his drinking buddy Hump Evans, a black ex-NFL player who supports his playboy lifestyle by working as hired muscle. 

Hardman is hired by The Man, a black mobster, to investigate the murder of his white girlfriend, a college student. It’s a case that plunges Hardman and Evans into the center of a violent street war that stretches from Atlanta’s seedy back alleys to the marbled corridors of power. 

This new edition includes an introduction by Joe R. Lansdale, the New York Times best-selling author of the Hap & Leonard crime novels.

“His prose was muscular, swift and highly readable. Like Chandler and Hammett before him, Dennis was trying to do something different with what was thought of as throwaway literature.” (Joe R. Lansdale, from his introduction)

©2018 Adventures in Television (P)2018 Adventures in Television Inc.

Critic Reviews

“The Hardman books are by far the best of the men’s action-adventure series.” (Mother Jones Magazine)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Hard-Boiled PI

I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

This book was first published in the 1970's and has the vernacular of that time. It is a really well written book with great characters and a very good mystery -- think Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade type hard-boiled detective stories. The author, Ralph Dennis, was never a household name for this series as the books were marketed as cheap men's adventure schlock and quickly disappeared from book stores. However, many crime novelists, including Lee Goldberg [screenwriter of Monk among other shows and writer of True Fiction], have espoused how these books have influenced their writing and Dennis should have been acclaimed with the likes of Raymond Chandler. Now, Brash Books has republished the series.

Jim Hardman is a former cop, who was forced to resign from the police in a corruption scandal, who now works as an unlicensed PI with his friend Hump. Hump is a former NFL player who serves mostly as the muscle in Hardman's operations. As Hardman puts it, he considers Hump a friend but doesn't know if Hump feels the same way. Hardman is initially hired to follow a college student who has gotten involved with the wrong crowd but he is dissuaded from continuing after being beat up. Soon, the college student is murdered and Hardman is back on the case but the investigation quickly escalates as more people, including a cop, are killed. This is a fast paced novel with plenty of twists and good humor. What's great is that you get to figure out the mystery with Hardman, as he shares his thoughts on what he finds and Hump occasionally throws in his two cents. Additionally, it's interesting how Hardman, a former cop, keeps one foot on the side of the law and the other in the world of crime and is equally deft in each.

The narrator, Shawn Compton, has a great voice for this novel - the perfect amount of cool and slickness but mixed with a bit of grit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Top class entertainment

Atlanta Deathwatch: Hardman, Book 1.. As an audio book this is great entertainment. It is a gripping tale set in the 70's , strong characters and plot.
A Great read - you won't want to put it down..
I was given a free copy of this audiobook at my own request, and voluntarily leave this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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First in a Long Out-of-print Series

8

 

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I received this from AudioBookBoom and the publisher, Brash Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Along with Charles Ardai's Hard Case Crime, Max Allan Collins' Brash Books is quickly becoming my go-to publisher for hard-boiled private eye/noir-styling mysteries. It doesn't matter the time-frame, with stories set in the 30s or in the 70s, it's all been very good.

This one, the first in the long-out-of-print Hardman series by Ralph Dennis, was a lot of fun. Complete with disgraced down-on-his-luck private eye Jim Hardman, his strong-arm sidekick Hump, and his on-again/off-again girlfriend, this seemed to check all the required boxes for a plot set in 1970s Atlanta, with corrupt city officials, black mafia, "innocent" young ladies, and a plot straight out of the times.

The narrator did an outstanding job in capturing the tone and the voices, and there was no confusing over who was talking. 

While I will definitely be looking for the rest of the series on audiobooks as they are released over the coming months, I will say that some will find the inherent racism quite shocking. For those that are easily offended, this series is definitely NOT for you. If you can get past all of that, and there is quite a bit, then expect an entertaining read/listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great Detective

I would love to see this book as an action movie it was very thrilling very interesting in full of amazing moments I loved this book very much it was very well written and very intense and the narrator did a wonderful job
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good book. excellent narration!

The narrator made this book come alive. The story line was good and believable. I loved how the two main characters worked together.

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The Man

This novel features an Atlanta disgraced ex cop Jim Hardman, now working as a private detective, hired by a white business man to follow his daughter Emily Campbell. To supplement his income, Hardman occasionally runs contraband with a friend and ex NFL player Hump Evans, from new York to Atlanta. Originally written in 1974, the story is refreshingly lacking all the modern technologies like smart phones, computers and the internet, making it a bit of a nostalgic read. Emily Campbell, now in her second year, is distracted and not doing nearly as well as she has in the past and her dad wants to know why. Hardman tails her to a "blacks only" bar and peeking through the window sees that she is the only white person in the bar and no one is paying any attention to her. Soon Emily ends up dead and Hardman is hired by Emily's lover and mob boss, "The Man" to find out who killed her. Working with Hump, and somewhat with his ex partner from the police force to solve the case, Hardman finds himself a target of a hitman along with the Mob Boss. Fast paced action and good character and plot development. An excellent job of narration as well.I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review

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  • Dee
  • LA
  • 01-14-19

Great listen!!

Even though this book is dated, it was a great listen!

I loved the two main bad/good guys, Jim Hardman, the ex-cop and Hump, the ex-jock. They had some rough edges and quite a few issues but I rooted for them anyway.

This book was more crime thriller than mystery. It was very well-written and very well narrated.

If you can get past the racism and the misogyny, you will be well-rewarded.