Acclaimed Author of Gabe Wager Series & Devlin Kirk Novels

Blood-tingling investigative plots make for a fascinating read

Mystery Fiction by Rex Burns

Rex Burns - Author

The Better Part of Valor

Caught up in a low budget revolution fought in the jungles of Colombia, Cornelius Mead faces the challenges of survival in the chaos and insanity of war while clinging to his dream of turning the Guyana massacre site of Jonestown into a theme park.

Available now at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Apple.

Mystery Enthusiasts

For mystery enthusiasts, if you're not familiar with Rex Burns' books, you should be. Read what the nation's leading book reviewers have to say about his work.

Rex Burns

Testimonials

Rex Burns

“Burns is a superb writer who makes his hard moral points in terse, muscular prose that reflects both the ruggedness of his hero and the stark grandeur of his territory”

 

–Philadelphia Inquirer.

Rex Burns

“There is a toughness in (The Alvarez Journal), a hard-core, basalt toughness, but there is also a leavening of human understanding (the life-in-death of a police informer has seldom been more impressively defined), and even a kind of battered charm.”

 

The New Yorker.

Rex Burns

“Burns does for Denver and the Rocky Mountain West what Tony Hillerman does for the Native American Southwest, Ed McBain for Manhattan, what Ross Macdonald did for the Pacific littoral.”

 

Los Angeles Times.

Rex Burns

“An exemplary piece of work . . . (Parts Unknown is) well-researched by Burns and made chillingly convincing.”

 

The Washington Post Book World

Rex Burns

“Burns is one of our best writers of mysteries . . .”

 

Boston Globe.

Rex Burns

“The characters are all deftly realized; Burns has a talent for combining humor and horror and for making his story not only believable but thoroughly absorbing.”

 

Publishers Weekly.

Rex Burns

“Burns is a master at re-creating the routine pace of an investigation and weaving it with a plot in which terror is lurking on every page.”

 

Booklist.

Rex Burns

Winner of the Edgar Award for best first mystery. “Readers who haven’t yet gone on adventures with secret-service-agent-turned-Denver-P.I. Devlin Kirk and his hulking, philosopher-sidekick, Bunchcroft, will have no trouble tuning into Parts Unknown . . . The two are so likable, so intelligent, so moral.”

St. Petersburg Times.

Rex Burns

“While turning the pages impelled by its good story, you find yourself actually reading the novel and you notice that Rex Burns makes good sentences, one right after another . . . . Using the conventions of a minor and infinitely exploited literary form, Rex Burns has made a very fascinating modern book.”

 

The New Republic.

Rex Burns

“There is something satisfactory about seeing (Rex Burns) a thorough professional at work.”

 

—Newgate Callendar, The New York Times Book Review.

Rex Burns

“Mr. Burns expertly takes the reader inside the police procedural, allowing us to experience Wager’s every moment. The dialogue is crisp and fast, the action is realistic and taut, the prose lean and informative. Warning: Endangered Species will leave you breathless.”

 

—Barry Phillips, Mostly Murder

Rex Burns

“. . . You’ll come to admire Wager’s single-minded detective work. He is certainly one of the more credible detective heroes in the field of mystery novels.”

 

–Philip Ward Burton, Madison Courier.

Rex Burns

“Besides inking in this dark portrait of the ethnic cop as alienated hero, Mr. Burns presents a frightening scenario for the spread of gang culture . . . . Mr. Burns tells his lean, hard story in a laconic style that somehow makes (Blood Line) even scarier.”

 

Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review.

Gabe Wager Series

THE LEANING LAND, Walker, 1997

Gabe Wager is sent to an Indian reservation in the Four Corners area to help local law enforcement officials solve a series of murders.

The several killings don't seem to be related, but something is not quite right, and Wager quickly learns that he can't trust the people he was assigned to help. Complicating things, a shadowy survivalist group has the population afraid to talk to Wager.

BLOOD LINE, Walker, 1995

The deaths and mayhem of Denver's youthful gang wars have come home to Detective Gabe Wager with the slaying of his teenage cousin. Although the case is not officially his, Wager manages to work on it at the same time that he's faced with the murder of a thirteen-year-old boy. As both cases progress, Wager not only explores the ins and outs of Denver's gang scene, but also the ties of family.

ENDANGERED SPECIES, Viking, 1993

One of Wager's most dangerous cases involves not only the charred body of a fire victim but the secrets that have been hidden by the victim's death. The resulting hunt for the possible killer leads Wager into the world of terrorism and a frightening plot to detonate the nuclear arms factory at Rocky Flats just outside Denver.

KILLING ZONE, Viking, 1987

The death of a black city councilman threatens to unleash riots in Denver. Not only is the case politically explosive, but it turns out that the city councilman had a secret life. Homicide Detective Gabe Wager must solve the crime before time runs out, and do so in the face of racial conflict.

GROUND MONEY, Viking, 1986

Using his vacation to help an old friend locate his two grown-up sons, Detective Gabe Wager and his girlfriend, Jo Fabrizio, end up in the middle of the central Colorado mesa country. The trail leads them into the world of rodeo as well as into the rough waters of a river expedition. The result is danger and death both from the river as well as from unknown assailants.

STRIP SEARCH, Viking, 1984

The seemingly motiveless and unconnected slayings of two strip-tease dancers lead Detective Gabe Wager into the seedy underworld of Denver's topless bars, all-night restaurants, and furtive street life. Going undercover as a drug dealer, Wager finds that his search for the killer has turned into the killer's search for him.

THE AVENGING ANGEL, Viking, 1983

This adventure leads Detective Gabe Wager out of his usual Denver haunts. Trying to solve one seemingly random murder in the city, he follows leads first to the smaller city of Pueblo, Colorado, and then out to the desert country of western Colorado along the Utah border. On the way, he discovers that clues are not what they seem, and he ends up in a confrontation with outlaw Mormons determined to defend their way of life to the death.

ANGLE OF ATTACK, Harper and Row, 1979

Homicide detective Gabe Wager becomes tangled in a gang shooting. The principals come from the Italian and Latino sections of Denver, and the chase forces Wager to confront the issue of obeying the law or obeying justice. Either choice will lead to dangerous consequences for the detective.

SPEAK FOR THE DEAD, Harper and Row, 1978

Now in the Denver Police's homicide section, Gabe Wager's first murder case is bizarre. A corpse is reported found in a picturesque setting at Denver's Botanical Gardens. But it isn't a corpse, it is only the head. The new homicide detective must literally piece together the evidence that would speak for the victim and name the killer

THE FARNSWORTH SCORE, Harper and Row, 1976

Detective Gabe Wager's second narcotics case. This one involves a tightly-knit organization based in a small town in the Colorado mountains. Wager goes undercover to get his evidence, ferreting out a complex smuggling plot to send stolen military weapons to Latin America in exchange for narcotics.

THE ALVAREZ JOURNAL, Harper and Row, 1975, Mystery Vault Press, 2000, Americana Press Audiobooks, 2000

Denver police detective Gabriel Wager, assigned to the Organized Crime Unit, investigates a narcotics smuggling ring that operates out of a shop which imports Latin American handicrafts. The case leads Wager back into his own Hispanic past to confront acquaintances from his school days, whose path had led them outside the law.

THE ALVAREZ JOURNAL was the winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar for the best first novel, 1976.

Devlin Kirk Novels

BODYGUARD, Viking, 1992

Devlin Kirk investigates an accident-plagued industrial complex, and Homer Bunchcroft is hired as a bodyguard for a wealthy engineer who believes that he and his wife are in danger from Japanese underworld assassins.

The two cases play against each other as Kirk and Associates move in on the guilty-and the guilty move in on them.

PARTS UNKNOWN, Viking, 1991

Devlin Kirk and his sidekick, Bunch, while investigating insurance frauds, take on a pro bono case. The seemingly innocuous case leads to a series of cold-blooded murders-for-profit based on illegal trade in human organs.

SUICIDE SEASON, Viking, 1987

Ex-Secret Service agent Devlin Kirk and his partner, Homer Bunchcroft, are struggling to launch their industrial security firm in Denver.

Owen McAllister, a millionaire industrial developer, hires Kirk and Associates to find out how two of his $100 million projects were sabotaged and by whom.

The investigation leads Kirk into the savage world of big-money investment, as well as into his own past and the suicide of his father.

The Touchstone Agency Series

Crude Carrier, Mysterious Press, 2014

When a sailor dies under unusual circumstances, James Raiford goes undercover on the high seas. Desperate to know more about their son’s death, the Rossi family turns to James and Julie Raiford, the father-daughter detective team behind the Touchstone Agency. As the Raifords soon learn, work on the open sea is dangerous—and asking questions can be deadly. International oil shipping is a ruthless business, and its secrets run as deep as the ocean itself.

Body Slam, Mysterious Press, 2014

When shady business practices escalate into threats on his life, Otto Lidke calls on James Raiford, private investigator, to dig up some dirt on the men who are trying to run him out of business. But instead he gets Raiford’s daughter, Julie—a whip-smart sleuth looking to prove she’s every bit as savvy as her father. As Julie and her dad dig into the vicious world of small-time wrestling, they find that though the fights may be fixed, the danger is all too real.

Other Fiction

WHEN REASON SLEEPS, Viking, 1991 (as "Tom Sehler")

Jack Steele, recently retired Marine officer living in Coronado, California, is asked by family friends to find their runaway daughter. He reluctantly agrees and is drawn into the past and her resultant life.

It is a life of mysterious terror, threat, and the twisted psychology of devil worshipers who are willing to sacrifice anyone for their cult.

Into Enemy Arms, Black Opal Books, 2017

Into Enemy Arms, Black Opal Books, 2017

Lydia Sensabaugh, a young widow in Virginia in 1861, finds the quiet isolation of her farm invaded—first by mysterious lights and then by rumors of secession and war. She learns hard lessons, following news of the bloody fighting on the Mainland, participating in the dangerous activity of smuggling supplies to Lee’s army, and by witnessing the war’s effect on hospitalized soldiers. As the war grinds on, her world reflects the age’s philosophical shift from Emerson to Social Darwinism, and promises outcomes that are both unclear and terrifying.

Other Books

CRIME CLASSICS: The Mystery Story from Poe to the Present, Viking, 1990

Co-edited with Mary Rose Sullivan, this anthology of mystery stories traces the genre's development from Edgar Allan Poe to contemporary times. A critical introduction and notes help the reader place the stories in history and clarify their various contributions to the genre

SUCCESS IN AMERICA: The Yeoman Dream and the Industrial Revolution, University of Massachusetts Press, 1976

A study of the concept of success in America at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early Nineteenth Century.

Materials looked at include children's homiletic literature, newspapers of the period, and the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The image of the bucolic yeoman is traced at it is transformed into the Yeoman Mechanic.

Foreign Editions

Killing Zone

Britain: Penguin Books
Italy: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore

Suicide Season

Ex-Secret Service agent Devlin Kirk and his partner, Homer Bunchcroft, are struggling to launch their industrial security firm in Denver.

Owen McAllister, a millionaire industrial developer, hires Kirk and Associates to find out how two of his $100 million projects were sabotaged and by whom.

The investigation leads Kirk into the savage world of big-money investment, as well as into his own past and the suicide of his father.

Ground Money

Britain: Penguin Books

Strip Search
Avenging Angel

Britain: Penguin Books
Portugal: Distri Editora

Angle of Attack

Holland: Meulenhoff Nederland
Britain: Robert Hale
Germany: Mohrbooks
Italy: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore
France: Editions Gallimard

Speak for the Dead

Holland: Meulenhoff Nederland
Britain: Robert Hale
Germany: Rowholt Taschenbuch Verlag
Sweden: Albert Bonniers Forlag
Italy: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore

The Farnsworth Score

Japan: Kadokawa Shoten
Holland: Meulenhoff Nederland
Britain: Robert Hale
Germany: Mohrbooks

The Alvarez Journal

France: Editions Gallimard
Japan: Kadokawa Shoten
Holland: Meulenhoff Nederland
Britain: Robert Hale