Created by Steven Womack
– Marsha advises Harry on the proper way to address her
Former newspaperman HARRY JAMES DENTON is a Nashville cat who now makes his daily bread as a low-rent Nashville P.I., picking up whatever crumbs he can, be it repo work, workmen’s comp fraud cases or other not-so-thrilling things, waiting for that big case, in this well-received, Edgar Award-winning series that refused to drive down the middle-of-the-road.
Tennessee born and bred, Harry left home to get himself an Eastern education, and then came back to assume a career as a hot shot reporter. But it was not to be…
A little practical joke backfired, and suddenly Harry was out on the street. Broke, unemployed, and recently divorced, with very few job skills other than a nose for trouble, Harry set himself up as a private eye in the obligatory rundown office in the obligatory rundown building, bought a clunker Ford Escort, moved into a boarding house and got to work.
Well, that was the plan, anyway. He makes do, taking whatever will keep him out of the poorhouse. One of his best clients is his pal Lonnie, a failed country singer turned computer whiz, junkman and repo man who often hires Harry to help out on particularly tricky reposession jobs.
Another person who helps to keep Harry at least emotionally above water is the lovely, but slightly hinky, Marsha, his new girlfriend and an assistant coroner. She drives a black Porsche whose license plate reads “DED FLKS”.
An appealing kinda guy with simple tastes (even if his cases are anything but), Harry doesn’t need much to keep himself happy–Marsha, maybe some of Mrs. Lee’s Szechuan chicken, and, every now and then, a parking space for his bucket of bolts seem to be all Harry needs to keep going.
The down-on-his-heels schtick may not be all that original, but Womack does a good job of keeping things bouncing, filling the oddball plots with cars that don’t run, clients who “ain’t quite right” and enough old weird Americana and rock’n’roll flourishes to add considerable down home gonzo to the mix.
The author is also responsible for the adventures of New Orleans P.R. flack/fixer Jack Lynch, also recommended.
- “In the overcrowded field of private eye fiction, Steven Womack stands head and shoulders above most of the herd.”
— Val McDermid (Manchester Evening News)
- Dead Folks Blues (1993) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Torch Town Boogie (1993) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Way Past Dead (1995) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Chain of Fools (1996; aka “Nobody’s Chain Lays Straight “) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Murder Manual (1998; aka “A Manual of Murder”) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Dirty Money (2000) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Fade Up from Black (2022) | Kindle it!
- Music City Murders (2021) | Kindle it!
Collects all six novels
- As Clear as Country Water…
Nashville Cats & Other Tennessee Eyes
THE DICK OF THE DAY
- August 23, 2021
THE BOTTOM LINE: This Edgar and Shamus-winning Nashville cat is plagued by cars that don’t run and clients who “ain’t quite right.” Down home gonzo at its best.