Joe Kozmarski

Created by Michael Wiley

Michael Wiley’s The Last Striptease (2007) won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin’s Press Best First Private Eye Novel contest, and introduced ex-cop turned Chicago PI JOE KOZMARSKI, whose biggest strength may be that he’s, well, just a regular joe.

I mean, he’s got a mother, fer cryin’ out loud, and a slew of family drama, including a troublesome young nephew he’s taken in. But Joe has other problems on his plate to deal with as well. While on a routine surveillance job, he witnesses a murder; his former cop partner has been shot by the suspect, and a retired judge (and estranged family friend) has asked him to work on behalf of an employee of his, who’s been accused of murdering his party-time girlfriend, a Vietnamese-American beauty with a taste for booze, drugs and stripping in front of cameras.

Joe muddles through it all with a plodding, dogged determination, making mistakes along the way (and not always learning from them), but that makes for a nice change from some of the over-boiled histronics that many of his more turbo-charged, infallible fellow fictional eyes indulge in, giving him an affable, regular Joe quality.

And it’s served Joe well in two (and counting) sequels, including the Shamus-winning A Bad Night’s Sleep (2011).

Michael Wiley is a lit professor at North Florida University specializing in 18th and early 19th century British literature, and also the creator of former death row inmate turned P.I. Franky Dast, walking wounded P.I. Sam Kelson and homicide dick Daniel Turner. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida.


What was it with P.I. writers named Michael, anyway? At the time he won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin’s Press contest, the previous three winners had been Michael Siverling, Michael Koryta and Michael Kronenwetter. I wondered at the time if aspiring scribes should consider a name change.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


2 thoughts on “Joe Kozmarski

  1. You left us hanging…. who does or doesn’t show up at the airport? I there a new Joe Kozmarski coming out or will we, forever, be left to ….guess?

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