Ben Malone

Created by Larry Darter

“I was reading “Portrait of a Lady” (by T.S. Eliot) when the phone rang.”
— of course. From Foul Play.

Considered a tad too trigger happy by his LAPD superiors after a serious of unfortunate shootings, veteran detective BEN MALONE is put on the bench, assigned to Robbery-Homicide Division’s Cold Case Section so they can get him off the streets and keep an eye on him, pending a department-mandated psychiatric evaluation, in the series debut, Come What May (2016).

But of course, in true Bosch fashion (an obvious and admitted influence on this series), it doesn’t quite work out the way they planning, and Malone is soon working cases “off the books.”

Which leads to Ben’s eventually parting of the ways with the department. By the beginning of the second novel in the series, Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair (2017), he’s already firmly ensconced as a full-fledged  private investigator, complete with a Hollywood office. Ring any bells?

Just in case you missed the clues, the blurbs assure us that Ben is a “tough-as-nails, modern-day knight errant-type cast in the mold of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.” Not that we’re going to live in the past, of course. Author Larry Darter is a thoroughly modern guy and not afraid to show his influences. He goes on to tell us that Ben’s a “smart-mouthed tough guy with a heart of gold (but) unlike the loner Marlowe, Malone maintains a committed relationship with one woman (Sara Bernstein).  Although he is an ex-soldier and streetwise ex-cop, Malone is well educated, well read, cooks, and lives by his own personal code of honor which often puts him at odds with the police and criminals alike.”

If this all sounds rather familiar, well, I think that’s the point.

So far, Ben has appeared in several independently published, enjoyable if somewhat derivative novels, and there are no doubt more on the way. Before turning to writing, Larry Darter worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, and as a police officer  in Oklahoma and Texas. The son of a police officer, he says he “grew up reading crime fiction novels and watching police dramas on television.”  Besides the Malone series, he writes two other series featuring private eyes, the T. J. O’Sullivan series and the Rick Bishop series, both set in Honolulu.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply