Jack Palms
Created by Seth Harwood

Not quite a private eye, but he sure acts like one. And that, the author tells me, is where he hopes to go.

JACK PALMS is a one-hit-wonder action movie star who got a little too caught up in the Hollywood high life after his first big movie, Shake 'Em Down. With a drug addiction, a wrecked marriage, and his mug shot in all the tabloids, things started to fall apart. When the planned sequel to the film got scrapped, Jack hit rock bottom.

When we meet him at the beginning of Jack Wakes Up, it's three years later, and Jack has put Hollywood in the rearview and is living just north of San Francisco. He's cleaned himself up, added 14 pounds of muscle, read 83 books, and played it as straight as anyone could ask him. Unfortunately, he's also bored and flat broke. So when an old friend from LA calls with a way they can earn some fast money, Jack listens and ends up in the middle of a high-rolling coke deal, working for a set of Eastern Europeans looking to set up shop. All Jack has to do is keep them entertained and get them through their purchase, which seems like a simple enough way to earn money, but when the cops come calling and his friend turns up dead, Jack has to decide what side of acting and action he's really on.

Forced to investigate his friend's death, he finds himself working on both sides of the law, caught between the police and San Francisco's new crimelords. In a world where he can't make any mistakes, can Jack figure out how to walk the right line?

Jack Wakes Up, billed at the time as "the world's first crime-noir podcast novel," was serialized in 2006, and a sequel, Jack Palms II: This Is Life, was serialized at sethharwood.com, where you could subscribe to get all of the weekly episodes, download individual episodes of both books, and even download the .pdf of Jack Wakes Up."

.pdf? That's so 2006!

But let's not snicker too hard. Seth was way ahead of the self-pubbed e-book explosion.

Seth Harwood grew up in the Boston area, graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2002 and currently lives in Berkeley, CA with his wife Joelle and their dog. He’s been a commodities floor trading clerk, bartender, copy-editor for Avon Products, rare book cataloguer, librarian, English teacher and freelance journalist. His stories have been published in Post Road, Ecotone, Inkwell, Sojourn: A Journal of the Arts, and The Red Rock Review, among others, as well as in the online journals Storyglossia, zeek.net and whyzine.com. His story “White” was nominated for a Pushcart prize. He currently teaches writing and literature at the City College of San Francisco.


  • "Seth Harwood has an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, but his pedigree is likely to matter less to listeners of his podiobooks than the hook-a-minute hardboiled dialogue and relentless action.  If Chandler had been tapped to write the first Die Hard, and somewhere along the way Tarantino had been called in for rewrites à la True Romance, the result would have been a Jack Palms tale.  Jack—a movie-star one-hit-wonder and ex-drug-addict—ends up in more trouble every time he tries to straighten his life out, and listeners can't help but revel in his woes... an impressive debut, and the sequel promises to be bigger and better."
    -- Shannon Clute, Behind the Black Mask




  • sethharwood.com
    The official site, where you can download both weekly podcasts or pdf files of Jack's adventures. like the man says, "Make every Sunday a Palms Sunday."

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.