Created by Geoffrey Norman
MORGAN HUNT is an outdoorsy, manly kinda guy, an ex-con and former Green Beret working as a private eye for a crusading lawyer in Florida Panhandle in the northwest part of the state, in an excellent series of books by Geoffrey Norman that ended way too soon.
Of course, like many manly, silent types prone to excessive brooding and occasional rants about how screwed up the world is, Morgan’s get a dark past.
Morgan and his sis were orphaned at an early age when their parents died in a plane crash. Needless to say, Morgan and his sister grew very close after that. Morgan was a big bruiser, with a nasty temper . A stint in Vietnam seemed to hone the edges off, at least for a while. But, upon his return stateside, he learned his sis’s new hubby had used her for his personal punching bag, and he decided to repay his brother-in-law in kind. Unfortunately, he beat him to death, and Morgan was soon headed for the slammer on a murder rap. A year into his sentence, his sister committed suicide.
Then Nat Seemes, an idealistic lawyer with offices in Pensacola, took an interest in Morgan’s case and set about getting his conviction overturned. Eventually, Morgan was released with a full pardon. He’s repaid the favour by agreeing to work occasionally as Seemes’ “eyes and ears”, doing a little snooping here and there. When he isn’t helping Seemes, Morgan works as a carpenter or a guide.
Morgan’s a complicated piece of work, though, another Florida oddball, still prone violent outbursts of temper, more concerned with the spirit, not the letter, of the law. And he’s more than willing to get down and dirty if he has to. Fortunately, Morgan has fishing, diving, working on his rambling old house (built back around the turn of the century by a sea captain), and sometime lover Jesse Beaudreaux, an oil-rich Cajun beauty who tries to serve as his conscience, to distract him from all that dark brooding and barely contained rage.
A pretty good debut, very well-received, garnered a lot of favorable comparisons to Travis McGee, and they weren’t wrong. Norman’s got a great ear for dialogue, and he captures the muggy Florida backwaters so well you’ll be sweating before the second chapter, and the other three books are just as good, with Blue Light (1995), the fourth and final entry, not even being published in the United States. Trust me–this was a series that truly deserved to keep going way after book number four.
The author has written about sports and politics for the National Review, Sports Afield and the Weekly Standard and has worked as an editor at Playboy and Esquire, while splitting his time between Florida’s Gulf Coast and Vermont. But don’t hold your breath expecting him to be a Bernie Bro anytime soon–apparently, he’s a staunch conservative. Among his other works are a standalone mystery, Midnight Water (1983), a children’s book, Stars Above Us (2009), a book about his dog, Riding with Jeb Stuart: Hunting Adventures with an English Pointer (2005), and Inch by Inch: A Novel of Breast Cancer and Healing (2016).
- “Hunt, who probably has pictures of Travis McGee on his dresser, finds pretty much what you’d expect—crooked cops, rotten recruiters, killer bikers, and some sweet-tasting quail and catfish—but the finding is a heartfelt pleasure: he feels fine and you will too.”
— Kirkus Reviews on Blue Chipper
- “Striking an uneasy balance between action and thought as he dreams of an idyllic future and reflects on a difficult past, Hunt is an idiosyncratic and welcome new series hero.”
— Publisher’s Weekly on Blue Chipper
- “Another agreeable, lazily plotted John D. MacDonald knockoff from Norman… who’s welcome to keep spinning yarns like this for another hundred years.”
— Kirkus Reviews on Deep End
- “Geoffrey Norman is especially skilled in creating dialogue between characters who are not fond of talking too much and in evoking the humid topography and eccentrics of the Gulf Coast part of the Florida Panhandle.”
— enotes on Deep End
- Sweetwater Ranch (1991) | Buy this book
- Blue Chipper (1993; aka “Blue Streak”) | Buy this book
- Deep End (1994; aka “Deep Pursuit”) | Buy this book
- Blue Light (1995) | Buy this book