Robert J. Randisi
(pseudonyms include W. B. Longley, Robert Lake, Spenser Fortune, Joshua Randall, Tom Cutter, J.R. Roberts, Joseph Meek, Cole Weston, Lew Baines, Paul Ledd and Jon Sharpe)
" 'Stages of development' are for people who write one book a year."
-- Bob would discuss this further, but he's got a book to write.
He's been called a hack. He's been called astonishingly prolific and as the last of the great pulp writers."
He refers to himself as "the world's biggest private eye nut," and certainly, more than anyone else Robert J. Randisi has fought to ensure that P.I. fiction gets some respect.
No, not just through his many splendid contributions to the genre in the form of his fictional eyes creations of Miles Jacoby, Henry Po or Nick Delvecchio, as entertaining as they may be, but through his tireless promotion of the genre through his numerous non-fiction articles, his co-founding, with Ed Gorman, of Mystery Scene magazine and most importantly of all through his founding of The Private Eye Writers of America in 1981.
With its annual Shamus Awards, which recognize excellence in the genre, its encouragement of young writers, through a contest run in conjunction with St. Martins Press, and its high visibilty throughout the world of mystery fandom, the PWA has worked steadily through the years to make sure the genre remain not just respected, but vital and potent.
And Bob's no love-'em-and-leave-'em kinda guy -- despite annual presidents -- all private eye writers themselves -- Bob still pretty much runs the show. If Bob says "no," the PWA don't go.
Not to slight his fiction, mind you. Booklist may damn him with faint praise, tagging him as "the astonishingly prolific Randisi... (who) may be one of the last true pulp writers, earning his living through quantity more than quality..." but his P.I. work, the one genre for which he reserves his real name, is generally excellent, full of sharp dialogue, generally deft characterization, smart plotting and a fine, fine sense of setting, particularly those that take place in New York City. There's also a good deal of wit, and more than a few sly winks and pokes at other writers' work.
But that's just one slice of the Randisi pie.
Even more amazingly, the bulk of Randisi's work isn't even in private eye fiction--it's in westerns. He claims to have written over 500 novels, not just mystery and crime, but also thriller, horror, western, men's adventure and science fiction, (as well as a erotic on same), under a slew of pseudonyms. He himself said, in a Barnes & Noble interview in 2011, that there were "Probably around 16, at this point. I don't think I've forgotten any. Most of those were used during the 80's, when I was writing 20 books a year--27 in 1984! This is probably the major difference between publishing today and then. It would be very difficult for an author to write that many books a year these days , although I'm still doing about 15 or so."
In fact, Randisi's biggest claim to literary immortality may not even lay in the mystery genre -- it just may be the 400 or so western novels he's pumped out, under a dozen or so different names, including at least nine or so different series, the longest running of which is The Gunsmith series (over 300 books, and counting), which he writes as J.R. Roberts. A card-carrying member of The Western Writers of America, he's also written and created The Tracker series (as Tom Cutter); the Angel Eyes series (W.B. Longely): The Bounty Hunter series (as Joshua Randall); the Mountain Jack Pike series (as Joseph Meek); and the Ryder series (4 books, as Cole Weston). He has also written as Lew Baines, Paul Ledd, Jon Sharpe and Robert Lake.
And Randisi has written historicals, thrillers, science fiction and even porn, with four short stories relating the adventures of Max Nolan, Erotic P.I. in Beaver Magazine. But fear not -- Bob does have scruples -- he draws the line at romances.
He's also allegedly served as uncredited collaborator with Warren Murphy on the Destroyer and Trace series. He's currently writing the Joe Keough series, featuring a New York City detective transplanted to the Midwest where he's now the St. Louis department's "number-one homicide man" and a series of "Rat Pack Mysteries" wherein Frankie, Sammy, Dino et al get to ogle babes and make like dicks.
Randisi was born in Brooklyn, New York, and although he has occasionally claimed to never have made a living other than as a writer, earlier bios mentioned his stints as a mailroom manager and a collection clerk, before nabbing a job as an administrative aide to the NYPD in 1973. He began writing at fifteen, and made his first professional submission at the tender age of eighteen, landing his first sale at twenty three. At the age of thirty, he quit the police department to write full time. Like his Joe Keough character, he now lives in St. Louis.
- "And here's the other thing about Bob Randisi: yes, his career's long, and distinguished, and bountiful. But in my opinionónot humble, but in this case, informedówhat's really special about Bob, and the reason he deserves every honor we can give him, is how much he's done for the rest of us.
-- P.I. writer S.J. Rozan
- The Disappearance of Penny (1980, Henry Po) . Buy this book
- Eye in the Ring (1982; Miles Jacoby)
- The Steinway Collection (1983; Miles Jacoby)
- Full Contact (1984; Miles Jacoby)
- Angel Eyes: Chinatown Justice (1985; by W.B. Longley; western)
- Angel Eyes: Death's Angel (1985; by W.B. Longley; western)
- Angel Eyes: The Miracle of Revenge (1985; by W.B. Longley; western)
- The Ham Reporter (1986; historical, set in 1912; Bat Masterton & Damon Runyon) . Buy this book
- No Exit from Brooklyn (1987; Nick Delvecchio)
- Once Upon a Murder (1987; with Kevin D. Randle; Miles Palodon)
- Broadway Bounty (1988; by Joshua Randall; New York City, 1800s)
- Separate Cases (1990; Miles Jacoby)
- Targett (1991; western)
- The Dead of Brooklyn (1991; Nick Delvecchio)
- Hard Look (1993; Miles Jacoby)
- Stand-Up (1994; Miles Jacoby)
- Alone with the Dead (1995; Joe Keough) . Buy this book
- In the Shadow of the Arch (1998; Joe Keough)
- Murder is the Deal of the Day (1999; with Christine Mathews)
- The Ghost With Blue Eyes (1999; western)
- The Sixth Phase (1999) . Buy this book
- Fire Under the Arch (2000; Joe Keough)
- Blood on the Arch (2000; Joe Keough) . Buy this book
- Curtains of Blood (2002; Jack the Ripper) . Buy this book
- The Offer (2003; stand-alone thriller) . Buy this book
- East of the Arch (2003; Joe Keough) . Buy this book
- Arch Angels (2004; Joe Keogh) . Buy this book.
- Blood of Angels (2005; Joe Keough).. Buy this book
- Same Time, Next Murder (2005; with Christine Matthews) .. Buy this book
- Cold Blooded (2005) . Buy this book
- Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime (2006; a Rat Pack Mystery) . Buy this book
- The Picasso Flop (2007; with Vince Van Patten) .. Buy this book
- Butler's Wager: The Gamblers (2007) . Buy this book
- Blood Trail to Kansas (2007, western) . Buy this book
- Luck Be a Lady: Don't Die (2007; Eddie Gianelli) .. Buy this book
- Hey There (You with the Gun in Your Hand) (2008; Eddie Gianelli) .. Buy this book
- Fly Me to the Morgue (2011; Eddie Gianelli). Buy this book
OTHER WESTERN NOVELS, DATE UNKNOWN
- Mountain Man's Vengeance (by Robert Lake)
- Blood Trail To Kansas (by Robert Lake)
- Backshooter (by Robert Lake)
- Texas Iron
- The Gunsmith Series (1982- present; as J.R. Roberts)
- Tracker Series (1984- 85; as Tom Cutter)
- The Angel Eyes Series (1986- 88; as W.B. Longley)
- The Bounty Hunter Series (1986- 88, as Joshua Randall)
- The Mountain Jack Pike Series (late 80's; as Joseph Meek)
- The Ryder Series (as Cole Weston)
- "Cop Without a Shield" (August 1976, Mystery Monthly)
- "The Steinway Collection" (January 1977, Mystery Monthly; Miles Jacoby)
- "Night Walker" (January 1977, AHMM)
- "The Snaphaunce" (Fall 1985, Hardboiled #2; Nick Delvecchio)
- "The Equine Theft" (1986, Hardboiled; Henry Po)
- "The Nickel Derby" (Spring 1987, Hardboiled; Henry Po)
- "A Matter of Ethics" (1987, The Black Lizard Anthology; Nick Delvecchio)
- "The Vanishing Virgin" (1988, An Eye For Justice; Nick Delvecchio)
- "Locker 246" (1988, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe; Philip Marlowe)
- "Double Edge" (1989, Deadly Doings; Nick Delvecchio)
- "The Contract" (1990, Hardboiled #11)
- "Turnabout" (1992, Deadly Allies)
- "Laying Down to Die", from (1994, Deadly Allies II; Nick Delvecchio)
- "Flowers for Jennifer" (December 1994, EQMM; with Christine Matthews)
- "The Girl Who Talked To Horses" (1996, Homicide Hosts Presents; Henry Po)
- "Like a Stranger" (1996, For Crime Out Loud, Vol. 2)
- "The Goodly Race" (1996, Murder Most Irish)
- "The Ghost with Blue Eyes" (1997, The Fatal Frontier)
- "A Favor For Sam" (1998, Private Eyes; Nick Delvecchio)
- "Midnight Pass" (May 2000, EQMM; Truxton Lewis)
- "Black and White Memories" (Summer 2000, The Mississippi Review; Truxton Lewis)
- "So Beautiful, So Dead" (2004, The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunnits)
- "Title Unknown" (2006, Kolchak: The Night Stalker Casebook)
- Other Short Stories, Date Unknown
- "The Missing Bust" (Beaver Magazine; Max Nolan)
- "Hitch Humper" (Beaver Magazine; Max Nolan)
MULTIPLE AUTHOR COLLABORATIONS
- Caribbean Blues (1988; with Mary Higgins Clark, Molly Cochran, Max Allan Collins, Gregory McDonald, Richard Meyers and Warren Murphy)
- The Black Moon (1989; with Loren D. Estleman, Livia J. Washburn, W. R. Philbrick & Ed Gorman)
- Legend (1999; western, conceived by Randisi, written with Loren D. Estleman, Elmer Kelton, Jane Candia Coleman, James Reasoner, Judy Alter and Ed Gorman)
- The Funeral of Tanner Moody (2004; with John Jakes, Elmer Kelton, etc.) . Buy this book.
ANTHOLOGIES EDITED BY RANDISI
AUDIO ANTHOLOGIES EDITED BY RANDISI
- For Crime Out Loud (1995)
- How the West Was Read (1996)
- Hear the Fear (1997)
- How the West Was Read II (1997)
- For Crime Out Loud II (1998)
- Greatest Hits: Tales of Assasins, Hit Men and Hired Guns (2006)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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