Noah Braddock

Created by Jeff Shelby

“Marilyn Crier peered in the window and I knew the past was about to kick me in the ass.”
— the opening line of Killer Swell

Talk about yer Californification!

San Diego gumshoe NOAH BRADDOCK has carved a real niche for himself– as far as I can tell, he’s one of the first “surfer P.I.s.” He coulda/shoulda been a contender.

Sure, Kem Nunn had pretty much staked out the turf two decades earlier, with his 1984 novel Tapping the Source, but Jeff Shelby brought it all back home.

Noah makes for good company, rising above the mellower-than-thou New Agey image that that “surfer P.I.” first conjures up. There’s a nice, noirish vibe to the proceedings–particularly in the third book in the series, Liquid Smoke (2011), which reunites Noah with his long lost father.

It’s a rough, tough slab of hard-boiled detective fiction, righteous as rain, propelled along with some gnarly wisecracks, and Noah’s just the guy to pull it off. And when the going gets tough, having Carter, a six-foot-nine pal, around to help out sure doesn’t hurt.

But it’s not enough. Reeling from the consequences of Liquid Smoke, Noah’s forced to flee, one step ahead of the law, and ends up hiding out in the Florida Panhandle (Florida!) for a few books.

Fortunately, he eventually finds his way back to San Diego, where the surf is always up… and the DA is willing to cut a deal.

Hang ten, dude.


  • “Braddock is emotionally and physically fallible but ultimately resolute — another reason to get behind him”
    — Craig Davidson (The Washington Post)
  • “Fans of the Bolitar, Spenser, or Burke detective series should hang ten with Shelby’s Noah Braddock.”
    — The Washington Post
  • “Fast-paced, hard-boiled PI style and sarcastic banter in a manner reminiscent of early Robert B. Parker and Robert Crais.”
    — Library Journal




  • August 22, 2023
    The Bottom Line: This San Diego surfin’ shamus coulda/shoulda been a contender, tapping the source in eight solid reads. Even a jaunt hiding out in Florida for a few books couldn’t harsh his mellow. Gnarly.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

One thought on “Noah Braddock

  1. Thanks for mentioning one of my favorite authors, Kem Nunn. I buy every book he comes out with and have for 40 years

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