Joe Hannibal

Created by Wayne D. Dundee

Part of an interesting trend in the Reagan-Bush era: neo-Spillane P.I. fiction, complete with enough right-leaning asides and rants to give more than a few lefties the conniptions. Rockford, Illinois’ own private eye is JOE HANNIBAL, a tough (but tender) hard-nosed kinda guy, proud of his blue collar roots, much like C.J. Henderson’s Jack Hagee.

In their world, liberalism is for weenies. Real men carry guns, and women are definitely not to be trusted. In fact, sometimes it seems like Joe’s most significant other is Bomber Brannigan, his bartender/ex-wrestler sidekick.

The stripped-down short story format suits Dundee well, giving him just enough space to get in, hit hard, and get out. The novels, particularly the early ones, falter occasionally, giving Joe just a little too much space to philosophize and vent. But politics aside (and in all honesty, he’s no more strident than, say, V.I. Warshawski), all the Hannibal tales have a sort of wild, rough energy and two-fisted swagger to them that just hits the spot.

Recommended for those of you who aren’t getting enough pulp in your diet. They may not always be “correct,” whatever that means in these days of the 24-hour name-calling cycle, but they’re sure as hell entertaining. Which is one reason why the Hannibal stories have been frequently nominated for various mystery awards, including the Shamus and the Edgar. The other, of course, is that Wayne’s just one hell of a writer.

Besides his fiction, Dundee also founded the seminal Hardboiled Magazine back in the eighties, which published much of his and Henderson’s early work, which makes him a kind of spiritual father to what I like to call “The New Pulp.” He also written Westerns which are, I guess, the old “Old Pulp.”


  • “I aim never to lose my pulp roots, and my inclination toward hard-boiled is etched pretty firmly, but I think you’ll find Hannibal has matured considerably from the Mike Hammer-wannabe he basically was in the early short stories. Also of note — he has been around for twenty-five years now, which makes him one of the longest-running of the P.I.s still being written and published. Not that there hasn’t been a whole parade of others who are more popular and more critically acclaimed (and rightfully so, in most cases), but my point is that, if nothing else, Joe and I are a couple of durable old bastards.
    Best to you and yours, and to Thrilling Detective.”
    — Wayne D. Dundee (April 2005)


  • “Wayne Dundee writes with his customary explosive elegance … Wherever Joe Hannibal goes, the action is sure to follow and nobody does action scenes better than Big Wayne.”
    –Michael A. Black, author of the Ron Shade series
  • “In Joe Hannibal, Wayne Dundee has created a tough, relentless, no frills hero-a blue-collar private eye … fast, hard, explosive, and satisfying.”
    — Bill Pronzini


  • “The Fancy Case” (Fall 1982, Skullduggery/Spiderweb)
  • “Death of an Iron Maiden” (1985, Hardboiled; also 1988, Black Lizard Anthology #2)
  • “Shooting Match” (1985, Hardboiled #3; 1987, Black Lizard Anthology)
  • “Body Count” (1986, Mean Streets)
  • “Harsh Light of Day” (Spring 1987, Hardboiled)
  • “Dirty Business” (Winter/Spring 1988, Hardboiled)
  • “The Judas Target” (1988, An Eye For Justice)
  • “Naughty, Naughty” (1990, Justice For Hire)
  • “The Slicer” (1990; Hardboiled)
  • “Black Lake” (1992, Gryphon Double Novel #2)
  • “Hitback” (1994, Murder Is My Business)
  • “Moneybags” (1996, Gryphon Double Novel)
  • “Tuck Tip” (1999, Gryphon Double Novel)
  • “Hole In The Wall” (2003; Hardboiled)
  • “The Loveliest Tail” (2007, digital)
  • “The Lake Bottom Bones” (2008, digital)Buy this story
  • “The Lipstick Behind the Veil” (2009, Deadly Dames)
  • “Apache Fog” (May 2010; Beat To A Pulp)
  • “Bad Day In The Badlands” (October 2010, Back Alley Webzine)
  • “Massacre Canyon” (February 2011, Beat To A Pulp)
  • “Bull’s-Eye View” (October 2011, Beat To A Pulp: Hardboiled)



  • Body Count: The Joe Hannibal Case Files (2012)
    Includes “The Fancy Case,” “Death of an Iron Maiden,”Body Count,” “Apache Fog,” “Bad Day in the Badlands,” and “The Hard Side of Heartbreak.”
  • Joe Hannibal, P.I.: The Complete Series, Volume One (2020) | Kindle it!
    Includes The Burning Season, Skintight Shroud, Brutal Ballet and Flesh & Blood So Cheap.
  • Joe Hannibal, P.I.: The Complete Series, Volume Two (2020) | Kindle it!
    Includes Fight In The Dog, Day After Yesterday, Goshen Hole, Tiger’s Blade and Body Count.



  • April 8, 2023
    THE BOTTOM LINE: Part of the Reagan/Bush era Pulp/Noir Renaissance, tough guy P.I. Joe Hannibal was pure pulp, served straight up—no ice, no apologies. From the founder of Hardboiled Magazine.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Gene Zombolas for the heads up.

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