Jake Diamond

Created by J.L. Abramo

JAKE DIAMOND is a former actor and down-at-the-heels gumshoe in the City by the Bay with plenty of friends in low places, and a weakness for greasy food and literature. We first meet Jake in Catching Water in a Net (2000), an impressive debut that nabbed first place in the 2000 St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel Contest.

When his former mentor, Jimmy Pigeon, is murdered, Jake decides to check things out. It turns out ol’ Jimmy was having some business problems with his partner (about a web-based bounty hunting deal, no less), but when his partner is also killed, Jake is suddenly the number one suspect, and he takes it on the lam, bouncing back and forth between San Francisco and Los Angeles, counting on the kindness of strangers and his low-life pals, who include mobsters, scam artists and ex-cons, to keep him free.

His second outing, Clutching at Straws (2003), also finds him on the road, tooling along in his ’63 Chevy Impala convertible, doing those ol’ private eye things he do so well, while Counting To Infinity (2004) finds the traveling gumshoe heading off to Chicago on the trail of a couple of ghosts.

And then Jake disappeared for almost ten years..

He finally returned, sort of, in Abramo’s Chasing Charlie Chan (2013). Set in the 1990s LA, the novel works as a sort of prequel to the Diamond series, and relates how Jake came to be in business with Jimmy Pigeon. Jake hardly figures in it, however — the real story follows Jimmy, who’s out to avenge the murder of his partner, Lenny Archer.

It was good, but where was Jake?

And then, finally, Jake was back for real, in Circling the Runway (2015), a solid page-turner that finds him peering into some very dark places when a local assistant DA is murdered, and nabbed a Shamus Award for the author.

And then, just four years later, Jake popped up again, in Crossing the Chicken (2019), back in San Francisco.

Let’s hope Jake sticks around this time. He’s too good to disappear for a decade at a time.


Author J.L. Abramo was born in Brooklyn, New York, and earned a BA in Sociology and Education at the City College of New York and his Masters Degree in Social Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. He has been a long-time theater director and producer, stage and screen actor and arts journalist. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.


  • “First novelist Abramo has the hard-boiled private eye formula down pat–perhaps even too pat. Diamond exhibits every PI cliche in the book, from the bottle in his desk drawer to his antagonistic relationship with the police. On the other hand, the novel is solidly written and captures the mood of the genre. Its selection as the St. Martin’s/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel of 2000 seems a stretch, but the series does bear watching.”
    — Gary Niebuhr , American Library Association
  • “Abramo keeps his readers guessing, and the good guys are not always what they seem in “Clutching at Straws.” The author knows how to spin a good, punchy yarn, and his atmosphere-soaked tale moves along at a sprightly clip.”
    — William W. Starr on Clutching at Straws (The State)
  • “Think it’s impossible to find a new take on the wise-cracking San Francisco PI? Meet Jake Diamond and think again…sharp and smart, convincing and complex.”
    — S.J. Rozan



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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