Junior Bender

Created by Timothy Hallinan

Ace second story man JUNIOR BENDER has had a great run: he’s been crashing LA houses since he was a fourteen year old kid and he’s never been nabbed — an incredible run that’s lasted for over twenty years.

But that all comes crashing to a halt in Junior’s debut, the semi-comic Crashed (2012), when a ruthless crime boss, Trey Annunziato, pegs Junior to act as a his own personal private investigator–or else. Seems someone’s been laying the hurt on Trey’s porn business, and he wants Junior to find out who’s behind the sabotage–and make him stop.

It was an auspicious debut to what, so far, has been a rollicking series of novels, full of twisty turny plotting, deft characterization and a giddy, almost swashbuckling sense of fun–something that’s been missing for a while in the shamus game.

The books, so help me, remind me at times of Warren Murphy’s Digger series, and have earned Junior the nickname –at least from his publisher–of “The Clown Prince of Crime Fiction.” Though some of his more harebrained slapstick antics put me in mind of… Stephanie Plum? (Stop gasping, knuckledraggewrs–that’s meant as a compliment). He may be one of the few hard-boiled authors I’ve read who can break my heart on one page, and make me snort out beverage from my nose from laughing so hard.


Junior’s creator, Timothy Hallinan, has had something of a great run himself–seems I’ve been reading him forever. And Junior marks the third great gumshoe the Edgar- and Macavity-nominated author has created, after Los Angeles gumshoe Simeon Grist and Bangkok shamus Poke Rafferty. And he’s a good dude, as well–in 2010, Hallinan conceived and edited an ebook of original short stories by twenty mystery writers, Shaken: Stories for Japan, with 100% of the proceeds going to Japanese disaster relief.


  • “A modern successor to Raymond Chandler”
    — Los Angeles Daily News
  • “If Carl Hiaasen and Donald Westlake had a literary love child, he would be Timothy Hallinan. The Edgar nominee’s laugh-out-loud new crime series featuring Hollywood burglar-turned-private eye Junior Bender has breakout written all over it… A must-read.”
    — Julia Spencer-Fleming



  • June 25, 2021
    Thief turned reluctant PI (or else). Hallinan may be one of the few HB writers I’ve read who can break my heart on one page & make me snort beverage out out of my nose from laughing so hard the next.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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