Books by John Morgan Wilson

John Morgan Wilson is the author of five previous novels featuring Benjamin Justice and is the co-author of Blue Moon with Peter Duchin. He won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel for Simple Justice and the Lambda Literary Award for Justice at Risk, The

SPIDER SEASON by John Morgan Wilson
Released: Dec. 9, 2008

"Just the thing for fans who want to hear Justice reading extended passages from Deep Background at bookstores, including an audience limited to a single dozing homeless man who provokes deep sympathy."
Disgraced journalist Benjamin Justice, who treats so many of his cases (Rhapsody in Blood, 2006, etc.) as if they're all about him, finally gets one that is. Read full book review >
RHAPSODY IN BLOOD by John Morgan Wilson
Released: March 16, 2006

"Justice deserves a break from his West Hollywood beat, but fans can only pray for his return to La-La-Land from Never-Never-Land."
Journalist-turned-memoirist Benjamin Justice, who's most compelling when he's got a stake in the evil concealed by a murder (Moth and Flame, 2005, etc.), meets his silliest case at a doom-ridden California motel. Read full book review >
MOTH AND FLAME by John Morgan Wilson
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

" Wilson scatters clues so generously that most readers will beat Justice to the punch. Along the way, though, they'll find an affectionate portrait of West Hollywood and some hard-won wisdom about fathers and sons."
Recovering from the traumatic events of Blind Eye (2003), disgraced ex-journalist Benjamin Justice has been put on Prozac. But the rest of his world hasn't. Read full book review >
BLIND EYE by John Morgan Wilson
Released: Oct. 6, 2003

"Though unlikely to get the Church's imprimatur, Justice's fifth (Justice at Risk, 1999, etc.) is his finest yet: a white-hot exposé fueled by anger, bewilderment, and pain."
Disgraced ex-reporter Benjamin Justice goes up against his most fearsome adversary yet—the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2002

"Apart from these streaks of purple, the prose is colorless and the plotting lame. Bandleader Duchin and mystery writer Wilson (Justice at Risk<\I>, 1999, etc.) have collaborated on a work about as punchy as a diatonic scale."
Society bandleader/sleuth Peter Damon returns in an encore clinker. Read full book review >
BLUE MOON by Peter Duchin
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"An undistinguished debut cozy. Though bandleader Duchin and old pro Wilson (Justice at Risk, 1999, etc.) know the score, their playing's flat."
An increasing worry to his pals (Jackie Kennedy, Joe DiMaggio, Truman Capote, George Plimpton et al.), society bandleader Peter Damon views his life darkly these days. He just can't shake the post-homicidal blues that followed the murder of his wife two years ago. Now it's October 1963, and Peter's seesawing about a gig in San Francisco, a city dear to his departed Diana. "You must begin to let go," lisps Truman Capote. "And finally say goodbye," adds Jackie ever so gently. So Peter sets off for the posh Fairmont Hotel, booked there for three weeks by its chatelaine, Charlene Mitford Hogan Statz. Basking in the warmth of her welcome, Peter begins to relax until, glancing out a window, he sees (gulp) Diana! Later that night he sees her again—or her doppelgänger—this time in the arms of society scoundrel Terence Hamilton Collier III, a man about to dance his final foxtrot. With Peter at the piano, and the band in full attack, the lights of the Gold Room go out. When they come on again, Collier has an ice pick protruding from his chest. Did Diana's double jam it in? Or was it one of a dozen others who cordially despised the late smoothie? It's clearly a case for Hercules Platt, the LAPD's lone black detective, and with Peter's help he solves it in a manner dimly suggesting Dame Agatha's artful Belgian. Read full book review >
JUSTICE AT RISK by John Morgan Wilson
Released: July 20, 1999

So what if the electronic media are driving Benjamin Justice's old newspaper colleagues to compromise and bankruptcy? Justice, the disgraced Los Angeles Times reporter who had to give back his Pulitzer, is drawing a paycheck again. Television producer Cecile Chang has hired him to replace floundering videotape editor Tommy Callahan as the writer of a segment of her AIDS series for PBS. But the whiff of mortality, never far from Justice's first two cases (Revision of Justice, 1998, etc.), fills the airwaves. Tommy Callahan is found tortured and tossed into a shallow grave; the documentary Justice has inherited from him on unprotected gay sex can't help reminding Justice of all the friends he's lost before turning 40; even the two men he's met come with warnings prominently displayed. Oree Joffriend, UCLA anthropology prof, a great interview source, seems unnervingly wary, and Peter Graff, the straight young associate producer Justice effortlessly seduces, is still loyal to his girlfriend. When Melissa Zeigler, a second murder victim's fiance, links the crimes to an ancient gay-bashing by the LAPD, Justice knows he's treading on thin ice. But he can't imagine the frightful toll his investigation of AIDS will end up taking on him and the people he loves most. Justice is as infuriatingly oracular as ever, but Wilson handles the complex, ambitious plot with resonance and maturity even as he hits the obligatory emotional high spots. Read full book review >
REVISION OF JUSTICE by John Morgan Wilson
Released: Nov. 3, 1997

Screenwriting teacher Gordon Cantwell's monthly networking party is where Hollywood hopefuls swap ideas and contacts while watching from the corners of their eyes to make sure nobody's climbing the greasy pole faster than they are. It's also where wannabe Raymond Farr, nÇ Reza JaFari, is found dead in the garden, surrounded by suspicious characters: Cantwell's ambitious assistant; Farr's closeted ex-lover; a veteran screenwriter who hasn't written a hit in years; and a crazy passerby who prophesies ``fire in the canyon'' to anybody who'll listen. But homophobic Lt. Claude DeWinter turns a deaf ear to Benjamin Justice, the jaded ex-journalist along for the ride with a crime reporter who thought she was working on a feature on the screenwriting game, when Justice tells him Farr was murdered. It takes a second murder to convince DeWinter—and by then he's already decided that Farr's AIDS-stricken roommate, Daniel Romero, makes the best suspect. Lusting for hustling actor Lawrence Teal (who coolly tells him, ``I appreciate the way you use your dick'') but already in love with Romero, Justice finds himself struggling to vindicate Romero by digging more deeply into the story than he ever would have when he was a working reporter—and uncovering decades of dirty Tinseltown secrets that tie the characters as closely and cruelly together as an infectious disease. A worthy successor to Wilson's Edgar-winning debut (Simple Justice, 1996)—a gay-themed '90s remake of Ross Macdonald's classic The Barbarous Coast. Read full book review >
SIMPLE JUSTICE by John Morgan Wilson
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

Six years after returning his Pulitzer, Benjamin Justice gets a visit from Harry Brofsky, the former Los Angeles Times editor he got fired along with himself over a fraudulently fictionalized AIDS human-interest story. Harry, now at the fly- by-night L.A. Sun, wants Justice to work on a sidebar to the story that up-and-coming Alex Templeton's writing on the shooting of Billy Lusk outside a gay bar in the Boy's Town neighborhood. The killing seems open-and-shut: Teenaged gangbanger Gonzalo Albundo, found at the scene, has already confessed. But after the obligatory protests, Justice, like an old firehorse that can't ignore the bell, gets his teeth into the story and won't let go. Albundo, he realizes, doesn't belong to any gang, and his confession is as phony as Justice's Pulitzer article. Martyred Billy was no saint, either; he was a blackmailing cokehound who kept a bulging photo file of all his lovers. The outraged citizens baying for blood, from Albundo's homophobic brother Luis to smiling Senator Paul Masterman, all have something to hide. When his questions lead him to a closeted tennis pro and the secret her powerful p.r. flack Queenie Cochran is hiding, Justice ignores Brofsky's obligatory attempts to pull him off what's turned into a hot potato and follows the story from the Out Crowd bar to the Boy Meets Grill, and to a solution readers of every sexual orientation will have spotted long before he does. Wilson telegraphs each punch like a man who just can't keep a secret to himself. But sensitive Justice, once he's come to terms with his demons, should be well worth an encore. Read full book review >