Joe Gores biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Joe Gores

Joe Gores

Joe Gores Biography

Joseph Nicholas Gores (1931-2011) was born in Rochester, Minnosota and educated at Notre Dame University and Stanford University. He also served in the US Army, where he wrote biographies of generals. After earning a master's degree from Stanford in 1961, he taught at a boys' school in Kenya, and also worked as a hod carrier, a laborer, a logger, a clerk, a driver, a carnival helper, and an assistant motel manager.

His writing career was inspired by the twelve years he spent as a private investigator in San Francisco. He authored ten stand-alone novels, including Spade and Archer, a prequel to The Maltese Falcon, which is the first authorized spin-off to be approved by Dashiel Hammett's daughter. He also wrote seven books in his DKA Files series (1969-1978), and a number of screenplays and television scripts.

He won Japan's Maltese Falcon Award, and received three Edgar Awards—one of only two authors to win in three separate categories: Best First Novel, Best Short Story, and Best Episode in a TV Series.



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Interview

Q: Apart from the fact that you're a Dashiell Hammett expert, what was the chief inspiration to write a prequel to his classic novel, The Maltese Falcon?

A: It was a comment the Hammett scholar Rick Layman once said about The Maltese Falcon that first grabbed me: that it was "America's first existential novel." I thought yes, that's exactly right: you don't know anything about the past of these people: they just appear full-blown as if they sprang from the head of Zeus. So I became fascinated by that idea: who is Spade, where did he come from, why he can essentially say to the fat man, "If you'd stayed away from me you would have been okay, but when you cross me then you have to deal with me now, because this is my town."

The way it came about is that that I'd met Professor Layman who'd written a number of fabulous books on Hammett, and the first really good biography of Hammett, called Shadow Man, (because one of the operatives at Pinkerton's detective agency where Hammett worked said that he was a great shadow man, he could follow anyone anywhere and no one would ever see this lanky man tailing them). Through Rick Layman, I met the family, including Jo Marshall, Hammett's surviving daughter, and in 1999 I wrote her a ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Joe Gores at BookBrowse
Spade & Archer jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Joe Gores but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • James Ellroy

    James Ellroy

    Lee Earle "James" Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy is known for a telegrammatic prose style, wherein he frequently omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences, and in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Spade & Archer

    Try:
    The Cold Six Thousand
    by James Ellroy

  • Walter Mosley

    Walter Mosley

    Walter Mosley's books have been translated into at least twenty-one languages. His popular mysteries featuring Easy Rawlins and his friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander began with Devil in a Blue Dress. It was published by... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Spade & Archer

    Try:
    Little Scarlet
    by Walter Mosley

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