Del Farmer (aka Del Winter)

Created by Duane Swierczynski

He’s hot, he’s hip, he’s dead.

Meet DEL WINTER, hard-boiled dick.

But Winter isn’t like the other shamuses you may find on this site. For one thing, he’s shuffled off this mortal coil and assumed permanent room temperature.


He’s dead, Jim.

Or at least, he was.

For a while.

And now he’s back, with the ability to soak up the souls of the recently departed, and stash them away in his brain. Victims, criminals, hopheads, sex fiends, accountants, whatever; as long as they’ve taken the deep six fairly recently, he can collect ’em. To keep track of them all, he stores them all as residents of what he calls his “brain hotel,” where he can call upon them to aid his investigations with either info or talent. They’re also, it turns out, great drinking buddies.

This ain’t all for fun and games, though. Winter is a dead man on a mission: To cripple the shadowy crime organization known as “The Association,” who had bumped him off in the first place. They lopped off his fingers with wirecutters,  smashed his beloved Underwood typewriter to bits, and even messed up his hair. So now Del is back for revenge, and looking for anyone who can help him–dead or alive.

What’s even more of a kick in the pants? Since discorporated souls lack the ability to pay $100 a day plus expenses, Del realizes he needs to do some additional P.I. work to finance his war against the “secret dead men” of The Association.

Secret Dead Men was Duane’s first novel, originally published in 2004, but an excerpt from the then-unpublished novel appeared on this site way back in 1999. At the time, Del’s last name was Winter, not Farmer, but Duane assuredme he’s the same guy. Ether way, though, I believe the operative word for this dick and his “brain hotel” is “hoot.”


Before becoming a big-shot crime fiction and comic writer, Del’s creator, Duane Swierczynski, edited and wrote non-fiction for a slew of magazines, including Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Success, Detailsand and Philadelphia, and penned or co-penned such classic non-fiction works as The Spy’s Guide: Office Espionage and The Big Book o’ Beer. He also contributed short fiction to such on-line publications such as GothicNet, Dark Planet, and Fright Net. He grew up in Philadelphia, playing keyboards in his father’s eerily Partridge Family-like wedding band. Therapy has helped a great deal. He’s also an occasional contributor to this site, but we’re keeping an eye on him, just in case…

Hell, I’m even an honourary guest of the Brain Hotel. It says so right in Secret Dead Men’s acknowledgements.




  • July 29, 2023
    The Bottom Line: This recently dead dick manages a brain hotel, in a tale so weird and wonky that it takes almost as long to explain as learning to write and pronounce Duane’s last name. Er, correctly, I mean…
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith, proud possessor of some towels he swiped from the Brain Hotel.

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