Books by Kinky Friedman

DYLAN & ME by Louie Kemp
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 20, 2019

"An earnest account of a friendship featuring anecdotes of celebrity encounters."
In an episodic debut memoir, Kemp, with Friedman (Cowboy Logic, 2006, etc.), recalls his lifelong friendship with a world-famous musician. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 1, 2005

"Kinky for sure, and twisted in a sentimental, good-spirited way. (Cartoons by John Callahan) "
Well known for his antic mysteries, freethinking, colorful Friedman (The Prisoner of Vandam Street, 2004, etc.) offers a Texan's view of life and other oddments. Read full book review >
TEN LITTLE NEW YORKERS by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 2005

"Even though the Texas Seinfeld's dour mood dampens his scabrous humor, here's hoping the endnote by a famous New York Times reporter, mixing elegy and hilarity, is just as inaccurate about his fate as it is about everything else."
Could the Kinkster's 17th case be his last? Read full book review >
THE PRISONER OF VANDAM STREET by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 2004

"Not only is there less mystery than in any of Kinky's first 15 cases—no mean feat—but the solution explains nothing, not even how Kinky came down with a malady that simply extends his trademark non sequiturs to chapter length."
Immured in his scruffy digs at 199B Vandam Street, Kinky Friedman, the world's most unfocused private eye, finds himself cast in a riotous, blasphemous, politically incorrect version of Rear Window.Read full book review >
KILL TWO BIRDS & GET STONED by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2003

"If it's anything like this one, it's shaggy, clueless, winsome, sad, and funny too."
Since the mystery plots have always been the weakest parts of the Kinkster's hilariously antic mysteries (Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, 2002, etc.), it's only natural that he'd try his hand at a shaggy-dog tale without a clue. Read full book review >
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH by Kinky Friedman
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 12, 2002

"For the rest, it's the same reliable formula as Kinky's first 14 (Steppin' on a Rainbow, 2001, etc.): rude banter, honest laughs, a Zen-like approach to crime and punishment, and not a trace of Curly."
After years of working no harder than his cat, Kinky Friedman is juggling three cases his private-eye buddy Steve Rambam has code-named Moe, Larry, and Curly. Moe, a search for a serial killer living in a quiet Long Island neighborhood, fizzles early on, and the mysterious Curly never gets off the ground. But Larry, the quest for the missing Dylan Weinberg, actually puts Kinky's brain cells to work. Where would an 11-year-old autistic savant with a working vocabulary of exactly one word ("shnay") have gone? If he was kidnapped, why hasn't there been a ransom demand? How can a lone private eye find him when New York's finest haven't a clue weeks after the fact? And how soon can the Kinkster quit condoling with Dylan's luscious half-sister Julia and start putting the moves on her? Good questions, all of them, but they can't hold a candle to the disappearance of a three-legged cat named Lucky from the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, that slice of Texas heaven Kinky founded with pleading Nancy Parker. As Rambam points out, it should be easy to decide which is more important, a child missing in New York or a cat missing in Texas, but peripatetic Kinky manages to work both cases, managing enough detection to offer his peerless hallmark persiflage some serious competition. Read full book review >
STEPPIN’ ON A RAINBOW by Kinky Friedman
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Now that his Vandam Street Irregulars are all out of town—Stephanie DuPont's in Nassau, Ratso Sloman in Montauk, Steve Rambam in Israel, Mike McGovern in Hawaii collecting recipes for his new cookbook Eat, Drink, and Be Kinky—is it finally time for Kinky Friedman to get a life of his own? Of course not. A pair of phone calls—the first from beekeeper-turned-newspaperman Willis Hoover reporting McGovern's sudden disappearance from a Waikiki beach, the second including McGovern's trademark distress signal—"MIT!—MIT!—MIT!"—announces that McGovern's indeed a Man in Trouble, and that Kinky and the returning Stephanie have to get megamillionaire John McCall to fly them and Stephanie's pain-in-the-neck dogs to the islands. The good news is that McGovern's mayday strongly suggests that he's not dead; certainly he's not the corpse the Hawaiian authorities identify as his. Nor is a mental inmate in the institution Kinky and his diminished forces visit, or the kidnap victim a pair of low-level thugs try to ransom. But if McGovern's in no danger, what's his connection to the vanishing years ago of a pair of priceless Island relics, and the current vanishing of investigative reporter Carline Ravel? Read full book review >
THE MILE HIGH CLUB by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 6, 2000

" No mystery to speak of, and the digressions, though often hilarious, don't rise to the sublime heights of Spanking Watson (1999). But the Kinkster's loyal fans won't rest until they see whether their hero gets left holding the bag."
No wonder Kinky Friedman is feeling a little agitato. Khadija Kejela, his lissome seatmate on the flight home from Dallas, has vanished without a trace except for the bag she asked him to hold. And while the country musician/sleuth is still staring at the pink imitation-leather satchel—"left over," as his off-again girlfriend Stephanie DuPont sniffs, "from the Louie Vuitton Death March"—he gets calls from American Airlines and the State Department's Office to Combat Terrorism looking for Khadija, both claiming to have her luggage. It's clearly a dangerous situation—so dangerous that Kinky decides to forget about it and help his buddy, freelance journalist Mike McGovern, field test private eye Steve Rambam's new surveillance equipment by following Stephanie and listening in on the sweet nothings her date is murmuring. By the time Kinky and his Vandam Street Irregulars, awash in Jameson's and their trademark nitwit patter, have mellowed out enough to turn their attention to the pink bag and its dire contents, it's disappeared. But it's still being sought by Khadija, by the feds, and by a bunch of impatient, gun-toting terrorists from every corner of the funny pages who leave behind on Kinky's toilet a gruesome reminder of what happens to innocents who are too brain-dead to play ball with them. Read full book review >
SPANKING WATSON by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Since he already shares so many of the hallmarks of that other Sherlock Holmes—drug use, sexual confusion, and his own Village Irregulars—why shouldn't Kinky Friedman, the Sherlock of Vandam Street, have his own Dr. Watson? And what better occasion to audition potential Watsons from among the Irregulars than the death threats someone's scribbled to Winnie Katz, the man-hating lesbian dancer instructor upstairs? So p.i. Steve Rambam bugs Winnie's apartment to get more info; reporter McGovern and photographer Mick Brennan pretend to be with the Times of London to interview her; upstairs neighbor Stephanie Dupont goes undercover as a new dance student; so does Ratso Sloman, disguising himself as Barney Frank supporter Roscoe Figbiter to take Winnie's friends out for pizza. What none of the Watsonabes knows is that the threatening note was written by the Kinkster himself, smashed, stoned, and furious at the plaster the constant twinkle-toes above have shaken loose from his ceiling and sent falling on his head. But if the whole cockeyed caravan is based on nothing more than Kinky's prank, why is somebody in a Fred Flintstone mask breaking into Winnie's apartment to threaten her for real? And can Kinky rouse himself from his reveries of legendary professional gas-passer Le Petomaine (1857—1945) and lopsided conversations with his cat to solve the mystery? Out of all Kinky's dozen cases (Blast from the Past, 1998, etc.), this is the first one in which the plot doesn't interrupt the flow of laugh-out-loud jokes, because the whole plot is one big joke. Solid gold for fans, and the only Kinky adventure non-fans will ever need. Read full book review >
BLAST FROM THE PAST by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

After ten inimitably ribald adventures, it's about time that rocker/raconteur Friedman served up an account of how he became a shamus in the first place, and so his magic carpet takes us back to 1979. Kinky, crashing with his friend Ratso Sloman, is quietly trying to consummate his relationship with new friend Judy on Ratso's couch when some comments from a couple of passersby alert him to the attractions of becoming a private dick. In no time at all, the Kinkster's got himself two cases: the mystery of Judy's old lover Tom, shot down over Vietnam, buried with full military honors, and now turned up again, she insists, in the Village; and the question of why somebody is trying to shoot aging radical Abbie Hoffman, the man who invented the '60s. It's clear from this backward glance that Kinky was always a natural. As he goes through the motions of meeting such Vandam Street familiars as reporter Mike McGovern, rabbinical student Steve Rambam, and Mort Cooperman, NYPD, he floats through the introductions, and through the mystery itself, in the same Zen-like stupor you'd swear he'd taken years to perfect. En route to solving the case via his trademark method, breaking and entering (Abbie's lawyer, William Kunstler, is the target this time), Kinky proves once again that no joke is too old, too low, or too irrelevant to work in somehow. By the time he pulls the whole train into the station, the '60s are definitely over. Fully the equal of Road Kill (1997), though, as usual with Kinky, the hardest thing to detect is the plot. Read full book review >
ROAD KILL by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 12, 1997

Asking whether a Kinky Friedman story is too self-indulgent is like asking whether the Sahara Desert is a mite too dry. But you have to wonder about the Sage of Vandam Street's tenth case, which wobbles from a spectral conversation with the Gypsy in Kinky's bathroom mirror to a Greenwich surprise party to a stint as ``America's guest'' about Honeysuckle Rose, the funky tour-bus home of country singer Willie Nelson—that Willie Nelson, at least in the same way The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover (1996) was about that Al Capone and J. Edgar—before declaring its intentions. To make a long story short (something the Kinkster would sooner excuse himself for profanity than do), ever since Honeysuckle Rose ran down a drunken medicine man somewhere in Arizona, Willie's been plagued by presentiments of his own death. Somebody calling himself The Green Arrow is taunting him with threatening notes; he's received an evil medicine bundle courtesy of Native Americans who aren't even native to Arizona; and the bundle has vanished only to reappear in the Niagara Suite of the Buffalo Holiday Inn, where somebody has shot Ben Dorsey, the valet/caretaker who looks a lot like his boss. Can Kinky and his Village Irregulars change the oil in Willie's karma before the pan runs as dry as the aforementioned Sahara? The mystery (what there is of it) fizzles, as usual, but that doesn't keep Kinky from being as funny, sad, and blasphemous as ever while laying down another peerlessly cosmic paranoid fantasy without ever getting worked up about it. Read full book review >
THE LOVE SONG OF J. EDGAR HOOVER by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Two new cases for the Sherlock of 199B Vandam Street: Walk- in D.C. lawyer Polly Price wants him to find her missing husband Derrick, and Kinky's madman buddy Michael McGovern is convinced he's getting phone calls from Leaning Jesus, his old father figure who doubled as Al Capone's chef. Since searching for Derrick Price looks as if it might have money in it, Kinky, ``probably the only Jew in America who has never felt guilt,'' chases down leads on him first, but, as J. Edgar Hoover might have said, some days the bear gets you. The apartment Kinky's sources lead him to in the Nation's Capital is Priceless, devoid of any clue except for a half-million-dollar coke stash and half a million D.C. cops. And another tip that sends Kinky to Chicago practically ends his life in a limo that doubles as a hearse (think mobile Roach Motel). Just when the case seems to be going nowhere, Kinky's p.i. friend Steve Rambam comes up with a great reason Kinky can't find Derrick Price: because he's been dead seven years—a revelation that makes McGovern's Leaning Jesus heebie-jeebies look like they might be, relatively speaking, the best show in town. Colloquys with the cat, tasteful jokes about intimate body functions, a hunt for Capone's treasure, and practically an entire bottle of Macallan's Single Malt: They're all in the Kinkster's ninth opus (God Bless John Wayne, 1995, etc.), along with his best-constructed adventure ever. As if you'd notice. (First printing of 100,000; author tour) Read full book review >
GOD BLESS JOHN WAYNE by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

Before he became Ratso, flea-market Watson to Kinky Friedman's Sherlock, Larry Sloman was the adoptive son of Lilyan and Jack Sloman, late of Miami. But who was he before that? Just before Jack Sloman died, he hinted that a clue to the identity of Ratso's birth parents was lurking in a Florida safe-deposit box, and now Ratso wants Kinky (Armadillos and Old Lace, 1994, etc.) to tell him who he really is. Kinky's not eager to take the case, not only because Ratso's never paid for so much as cab fare, but because the last shamus Ratso hired for this gig has been gathered to his own fathers, and somebody is obviously trying to kill Ratso too. For the first half of this waggish yarn, both Kinkys (author and character alike) understandably avoid cluttering their reunion of the Village Irregularsformer federal investigator Rambam, photographer Mick Brennan, Irish legman McGovernwith anything resembling a plot; eventually, though, one of them remembers what they're under contract to do, and Kinky's ineffable solecisms get elbowed aside by a halfhearted mystery. Mystery fans, then, can safely skip the first half of Kinky's seventh case. The smart money, though, will start on page one and quit reading as soon as the plot kicks in. Read full book review >
ARMADILLOS AND OLD LACE by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 14, 1994

Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman (Elvis, Jesus, and Coca-Cola, 1993) gets back to his non-Hebraic roots when he leaves Manhattan for a summer taking care of laundry and security at his father's kids' camp outside San Antonio. The lazy camp life gives Kinky enough time for pregnant dialogues with Dusty the talking cat and for plenty of his trademark anecdotes and aphorisms (``When you have to talk to a cat that isn't there, you might as well be talking to yourself''), but the Hon. Pat Knox, who ran successfully against Kinky years ago to become Kerrville's Justice of the Peace, is sure there's skullduggery in the neighborhood too. Five old ladies in the surrounding hamlets all died on their 76th birthdays; she's convinced they were murdered. The only clues: a series of yellow roses on each victim's grave; Pat's baffling intuition that all five widows were raped; and a dream reported by Violet Crabb, whose late sister Myrtle appeared out of the flames with an oracular utterance, ``Cotillion.'' In his lackadaisical pursuit of truth and justice, the Kinkster spends time with a sharp-tongued crafts counselor, a beekeeping survivalist, and the surviving Daughters of the Republic of Texas—he also uses a lot of words like ``ambivalent'' and ``concomitantly.'' Kinky's naughty charm is as potent as ever, but the uninitiated may find the lightweight mystery swamped, like a Thanksgiving dinner, by too much homecoming, too much childhood nostalgia, and too many fatty trimmings. (Author tour) Read full book review >
ELVIS, JESUS, AND COCA COLA by Kinky Friedman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 2, 1993

Nobody (certainly not sneering Sgt. Mort Cooperman) would connect the overdose of Tom Baker and the disappearance of his documentary film on Elvis impersonators with the vanishing of Judy Sepulveda from her blood-smeared apartment—if Tom and Uptown Judy (Jewish cowboy Kinky Friedman's way of distinguishing her from his conterminous lover Downtown Judy) hadn't both scribbled the Kinkster's name on their phone pads. Kinky (Musical Chairs, etc.) is sure that the Elvis film will link Tom and Judy in some less personally threatening way, but the trail to the film and its revelations will take him through some mighty dark valleys: another homicide, a TV talk-show theft, a late- night screening at that Village vanguard Fort Dicks, a suspicious fire at a snuff-film studio, the resurrection of a Mafia don, and tasteful run-ins with the usual Big Apple riffraff, who'd ``steal Jesus if he wasn't nailed down.'' Elvis and Jesus freaks alert: here's the mystery you've been waiting for. Not much about Coca-Cola, though. Read full book review >