Created by Paul J. Heald
There’s something about PROFESSOR STANLEY HOPKINS that harkens back to the glory days of the detective pulps of the thirties and forties, and all the gimmicky accidental sleuths that swarmed their pages.
That’s right–the so-called “Sociologist of Sleaze” is not a private eye. He’s not even much of a sociology professor, truth be told, because he’s always off somewhere, sticking his nose into something in true amateur-sleuth fashion, but I figure he just squeezes onto this site because of the sort of mean-street-adjacent cases he does poke his snout into.
Murder, of course, is a given, but we’re not talking tidy drawing room mysteries full of exotic poisons or Venetian vases. Nope–not for our man Stanley. His stomping grounds, at least so far in the “Clarkeston Chronicles” series, seem to be much darker and troubling, involving murdered porn stars, human sex trafficking and that oldie-but-goodie, serial killers.
Apparently all in a day’s work for a sociology professor from a small town university in Clarkeston, Georgia working on a “serious academic study of women working in the porn industry.”
All this is leavened by some sharp characters (Stanley’s “honey-voiced” girlfriend, Melanie Wilkerson, is a former beauty queen turned federal prosecutor, and one of his best friends is hapless small town reporter James Murphy), the ongoing battle between Hastings and the rest of the rather strait-laced university faculty, as he scrambles for funds and permission for his increasingly outré studies (we’re in Georgia, remember), the sense of community, and the deft (and slightly dark) sense of humor and that the author brings to the proceedings.
The author apparently shares his “hard-working agent, Peter Riva, with Stieg Larson’s estate and Pippi Longstocking,” and admits he’s “a shameless self-promoter.” According to his Amazon bio, the author “teaches intellectual property law and generally annoys his colleagues at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, the flattest place on earth. In search of topography, he lectures around the world and has taught at several foreign universities, including Oxford and Cambridge… Heald is a two-time Big Ten fencing champion who shares his adventures with the madly musical Jill Crandall, former director of Amasong, “C-U’s Premier Lesbian-Feminist Chorus.”
- Death in Eden (2014) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Cotton (2016) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Raggedlyland (2020) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
A series of prequels to the series.