Jack Bodine

Created by Thomas Bunn

Hmmmm…. wonder if he’s any relation to Jethro?

Lansing, Michigan gumshoe JACK BODINE puts his P.I. ticket on the line frequently, because he tends to take his cases very personally.

In the first novel, Worse Than Death (1989), for example, he becomes emotionally attached when he takes on a case involving a young, childless couple who have plunked down $20,000 for a Vietnamese baby girl, only to have the baby broker snatch the child in an attempt to squeeze another $10,000 out of the would-be parents. Tagging along and complicating matters is Jack’s own eight-year old son Eddie, whom he insists on bringing along, even on stakeouts.

And in 1990’s Closing Costs, Bodine looks into the swindling of his partner, Ed Quinn, who’s dying of cancer and hiding out in a cheap motel room in Washington, D.C., trying to score some heroin to ease the pain.

The two Jack Bodine novels received some favourable reviews. Publishers’ Weekly tagged Bunn’s first novel, Closet Bones (1977), featuring private eye John Thomas Ross, as an “impressive debut,” and Kirkus suggested that Bodine was possibly “the detective of the 90’s.”

Bunn certainly seemed to be on his way. So… whatever happened to this guy?


  • “The mystery is fine, but Jack’s narrative is even finer–a mixture of medium-boiled professionalism, self-deprecating wit, and paternal compassion that could mark him as the detective of the 90’s.”
    — Kirkus Reviews on Worse Than Death
  • “The author’s unwavering focus on the substantive issues of parenthood keeps the story from turning into a conventional search-and-grab adventure. All the characters involved in this tricky case contribute to its complications by injecting their own strong, and often messy, feelings as biological, adoptive, foster or would-be parents… (the author) addresses serious questions about a painful subject, and doesn’t presume to have the answers.”
    — Marilyn Stasio on Worse Than Death (October 8, 1989, The New York Times Book Review)
    “Smart, compassionate Jack is the ideal detective, friend, and (via telephone) father in a humane, densely plotted case that’s even better than Worse Than Death.”

    — Kirkus Reviews on Closing Costs



  • Originally, I had listed Closet Bones as a Jack Bodine novel, but Steve Lewis of Mystery*File showed me the error of my ways. Thanks, Steve.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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