Joe Posner

Created by Jeremy Pikser

New Jersey private detective JOE POSNER made his debut in the 1984 novel Junk on the Hill, first released in the United Kingdom by Pluto Crime. It was published in America the next by Carroll & Graf, and subsequently published in Germany and Australia.

While competent and dedicated, Posner is not the classic two-fisted private eye. In a 1985 New York Times review, Newgate Callendar wrote, “Posner is not in the tough-guy tradition. Very careful, he is not a man with ready fists, and when trouble is coming, he is even apt to run the other way.”

In Junk on the Hill, Posner, a Big Apple guy, has been living and working in Bergentown, New Jersey for only six months. Business is slow, so when a snooty, rich teen girl wants to hire him to recover stolen jewelry, he takes the case, though with reluctance. When she is killed, Joe bites down on the case like a guard dog on a burglar, despite the fact that his client is dead and his cash flow shaky. His quest takes him through a world of wealthy families, progressive schools and teen drug addicts.

Because Joe is Jewish and smokes a little pot, he could be seen as the less flashy cousin of Roger L. Simon’s genre-bending private eye Moses Wine, introduced in the novel The Big Fix, but with a style and character all his own.

Junk on the Hill was a first novel for award-winning screenwriter Jeremy Pikser (Bulworth, The Lemon Sisters, Reds). At one point, Warren Beatty thought Paul Simon might make a good Joe Posner, but nothing came of it. Pikser DID write a sequel to Junk on the Hill, however, in the form of a screenplay titled “Joe Posner in the Land of Enchantment,” but it never made it to the silver screen.

To date, only one Joe Posner private eye book is available for crime fiction readers. As a result, Posner is trapped in the ’80s, where MTV still plays mostly music, Madonna’s act is fresh and the Twin Towers still rise majestically over the New York landscape. Maybe that’s not so bad a fate after all.

Respectfully submitted by Joe Posner, Private Guy (no, really, that’s his real name!)


JOE POSNER is a New Yorker working as a P.I. in Bergentown, NJ, mostly doing divorce work. He’s a nice enough guy, really, a quiet Jewish guy who feels a little guilty about some of his more lurid thoughts about teenage girls, maybe, but rest assured that–seeing as his original publisher was the left-leaning Pluto Press–he strives at all times for political correctness.

In his one recorded case to date, 1985’s Junk on the Hill, a rich couple hires him to recover a stolen necklace, but the trail soon leads to their spoiled teen-age daughter who promptly gets herself killed. Don Quixote-like, Posner sets out to find out who did it, and the trail soon leads to a lot of slacker kids, a lot of couldn’t care-less adults and a high-school drug scene that will break your heart.


The author is a screenwriter and playwright living in New York City. He co-wrote the script for Bulworth, for which he won the LA Critics Award, as well as Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. He also wrote The Lemon Sisters and worked on the script and production of Reds. He also blogs regularly on The Huffington Post.

When asked why he wrote the book, Pikser replied, “I had recently worked at a school very much like the Human Learning Space and felt it was ripe for satire. I picked the detective form because it seemed a good vehicle for that kind of satire, and feeling weak in the area of creating a strong plot, thought that solving a crime would provide a ready made narrative structure.”

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.



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