Ben Solomon, Author of “The Hard-Boiled Detective,” a Subscription Series


Have you ever planned a murder?

Sure. Usually three per month. Sometimes more. I ply the art for my subscription series, “The Hard-Boiled Detective.”

A subscription series?

“The Hard-Boiled Detective” takes an odd slant on the publishing game. This subscription series provides three works of short fiction every month. Fans download the stories in their favorite format: ePub, mobi or PDF.

What inspired you to create this series?

I grew up on heavy doses of Cagney and Bogart. The whole Warner Bros. gangster cycle. That led to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. Spillane’s the one who made the genre seem approachable.

Tell us about your main character.

I won’t tell you his name. One’s as good as another. Or the city that serves as his beat. You’ll figure it out, all right. His time? It’s any period you like. Call it 1929, 1939, 1959.

See, I’ve tried to create as pure a throwback as I could, where the gumshoe’s actions and observations speak for him. I don’t develop the hero’s personal life—I provide no melodrama, no backstory, no development on that level.

Describe your writing in three words.

Old-school detective fiction. (Do hyphenated words count as one or two?)

Okay. How’s about retro detective fiction?

You’re going to throw math at me, here?

Does this series have a format or concept?

Sure it does. And it’s kind of funny. After watching hundreds of movies and TV shows, and then reading all these books—there’s a murder victim around every corner. By the truckload. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. So it struck me: all these gumshoes must spend half of their professional lives at the local station house giving accounts to the bulls. That lightbulb established the format: each story of “The Hard-Boiled Detective” is told by our P.I. hero as a statement to the police. Lucky that he likes to tell a colorful yarn.

Which is more important to your stories, character or plot?

Character, by a long shot. I’m definitely in the Hammett camp on this one. He said, “What I try to do is write a story about a detective rather than a detective story.”

Why will readers relate to your characters?

Assuming I deliver the goods, they’re all bound up in one terrific genre. The detective story’s as traditional a spin as a western or an adventure of medieval knights. We’re all of us just bumping along, trying to live our lives as best we can, adhering to principles that are constantly challenged. The detective represents that, always searching for truth and justice above everything else.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

That’s a pip of a question, and one that I’ve had a gas chewing on.

First of all, we make it a half hour television series. Can you picture that? It’s just not done, but would it ever clip along. Leave ‘em wanting more—there’s a motto for you.

The second idea’s a real stretch. We’ve got an unnamed sleuth working the mean streets of an unnamed burg, right? In a sense, he’s unidentified, right? So we cast a different actor to play him in every episode. We make him a different guest star every week. Call it hard-boiled casting. Sure.

Where can people learn more about your series?

You can find story samples, subscription info and plenty more at the website: