John Hegenberger’s Hardboiled Detectives and Space Opera

John Hegenberger

John Hegenberger

By Carl Slaughter: John Hegenberger has 6 detective/agent series/stories with interlocking multi-generational characters; space opera that involves telepathy and time travel; hard science that involves a sentient weapon; a near-future thriller with a magical artifact from Atlantis, and a western that involves dinosaur fossils and Indian mysticism.

His latest offering, Superfall, is the fourth in the Stan Wade series. Stormfall is due in December. He introduced Eliot Cross last year. He will introduce Ace Hart, Malerone’s Maser, and Tripleye in 2017. The two main protagonists in The Pandora Block will be descendants of Stan Wade and Eliot Cross.



It’s 1950, and Stan Wade, L.A. PI, is working on his first case: recovering the stolen manuscript of a new Sam Spade novel by Dashiell Hammett. This epic hunt will last for a decade, and before it’s over will involve Humphrey Bogart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alfred Hitchcock, Mickey Cohen, Robert Bloch, stripper Candy Barr, and a sleazy nightclub owner named Jack Ruby. Will Stan survive to put all the pieces of this crazy-quilt case together? It’s bullets, volcanoes, espionage, romance, humor, double-crosses, and pop culture references galore as Stan Wade races through another fast-moving, action-packed caper. John Hegenberger’s SPADEFALL is the latest entry in one of the best new private eye series in years and pure reading entertainment.


spyfallcover-2In October 1959, someone is out for revenge against young L.A. PI, Stan Wade, who has solved a few cases for his main client, Walt Disney. When a CIA agent mistakenly dies in Stan’s place, Stan initiates a revenge investigation that leads him outside the country, and his own comfort zone, to stop a nuclear threat to Europe that will remain classified until 2012.


starfallcoverAfter rescuing Annette Funicello’s stand-in from the amorous clutches of Guy Williams, Stan Wade, young, LA-based PI, gets a new, but secret, assignment from his number-one client, Walt Disney. The elder cartoonist and filmmaker wants Stan to investigate a death at Edwards Air Force Base. The victim, who drowned while testing an outer-space uniform, was the eighth astronaut candidate for America’s new space agency, NASA. Working out of his cramped office in the back of the Brown Derby restaurant where he’s employed as a part-time “bouncer,” Stan uncovers much more than a suspicious death…putting his own life—and the lives of those closest to him—in danger.


superfall-coverIn June 1959, America’s TV superhero took a bullet to the head in an apparent suicide. But was it? And is he really dead? Stan Wade, a Hollywood PI, sets out to uncover the secret and encounters a host of Mob and Soviet intrigue that threatens not only his life, but the future of the world.


In October 1959, a young, hard-luck PI is lost in America, determined to untangle a series of grisly murders spreading like a disease from the set of The Alamo.  Fighting for his life from a dry desert storm, to a mind-bending fog in San Francisco, and a snow-blinding mountain top outside Hollywood, Stan Wade gropes his way through drug-induced, false trails to outwit an aggressive, obsessive mass killer.


In the early 22nd century, a master of mind-control has risen to the head of Earth’s Weave Corp. Under the guise of the Neo-Socialists, he threatens to terrorize both the Inner and Outer Planets with murder, sabotage and the theft of a strange bio-substance known as the Snot.

Against this malevolent foe, the mismatched ops of Tripleye use the LINK to mentally form an uneasy ensemble dedicated to fighting a madman’s warrior elite.

Meet the ops of Tripleye:

  • “WOLF” ARCHERSON –The bald, loser/boozer with his old man’s data mods.
  • JULES ST. MATHEW –The clever and cool loner who’s luck is always running out.
  • DOC PATRICIA EMORY –The psychiatrist/investigator; leader of Tripleye.
  • CHICO KIM –The petite Korean woman who runs Link Central, and then some.
  • JONNY JESUS –Perhaps the greatest op of them all– except he’s dead.

From the free-wheeling splendor of Vegas Station to the eerie ruins of an underground city, the first Private Eye Agency on Mars risks everything to stop the death-dealing powers of Weave Corp.


It is 2050 and the USAs are in the autumn of their years. Africa dominates the world’s political and economic interest, while the Chinese and the Soviets have gutted each other into enfeeblement. The weary populace of the United States of Americas fondly, desperately recalls the Fabulous Fifties– one hundred years in the past– when their nation had triumphed in the World War, and their country had been strong and proud and full of –blessed optimism.

Living in hybrid era of bleak future and nostalgic past is SCOTT MALERONE, a young man whose private-detective father had been discovered beheaded ten days previously on the farside of the Moon.

Malerone has inherited his father’s occupation and his gun. The gun is a command-firing, computerized hand maser from the “political action” of 2024. It communicates with its owner via audio-sympathetic plastoid substance carried in the owner’s mouth, i.e., “gum.” Ma1erone, wearing the gun’s computer/ holster and chewing the polyurethane is able to converse with the weapon and order it to fire. In this respect, the gun is a constant companion, except that Malerone is convinced that the infernal machine brought about his father’s death by refusing to fire during the fatal battle on the Moon.


An ancient disease ravishing the world’s population.  It quickly becomes clear that mankind’s only hope for survival depends on an assemblage of artifacts possessed by a dispersed band of thieves.

The main protagonist is 30-year-old, ex-catburgler, Sydney Harker.  She is currently a publicist for a man much like Donald Trump and secretly desires to rebel.  She likes jazz and is teaching herself French.  She’s ready for the next big thing in her life when the disaster strikes.

Sydney’s old mentor, an elder jewel thief, is in prison when a commercial jet goes down in the Black Sea.  The impact releases an enormous bubble of ancient gas that contains the deadly virus.  The only way to stop the threat is by bringing back together Sydney’s ex-band of rogues, each of whom possess a part of an artifact, the Pandora Block, that MAY contain the cure.


  • “In SUPERFALL John Hegenberger takes us on an irresistible, hard-boiled walk down memory lane, with P.I. Stan Wade as the perfect tour guide. From George Reeves to Lloyd Bridges to Ross Macdonald, this is a historical tour-de-force.” — Robert J. Randisi, President of the Private Eye Writers of America
  • “Faster than a speeding bullet, John Hegenberger’s SUPERFALL sends you zipping through late 1950s Southern California on a supersonic ride. With the help of hiskenpo-chopping girlfriend, a sub rosa Superman, the original TV frogman and a hardboiled writer, private eye Stan Wade battles the Reds, the mob and crazed Federal agents in a mid-century modern yarn. It’s clever, evocative and just plain fun.” — Mark Coggins, award-winning author of the August Riordan series
  • “SUPERFALL gives us everything we need for a ripping adventure in 1950s Los Angeles: a wary private eye, a frustrated actor, gamblers, mobsters, Commies, and a labyrinth of twists and turns I never saw coming.” — Martin Turnbull, author of the Garden of Allah novels
  • “SUPERFALL is a rollicking trip through 1950’s Hollywood where the Mickey Cohen still runs the Mob and the Ruskies are up to no good. If you like your hard-boiled fiction fast and sassy,you’ll love SUPERFALL.” — Matt Coyle, author of the Anthony Award-winning Rick Cahill crime novels


John Hegenberger Website —


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