Book List in Order: 26 titles


  • In his 15th appearance in the multi-award winning Thomas Black mystery series, Thomas is ambushed by unknown assailants on a Washington State ferry, pitched overboard and left for dead in Puget Sound. Thomas suspects the attack may be linked to the p...



  • Tasked with the embarrassing job of finding a lost dog at the behest of an elderly family friend, PI Thomas Black’s quest for the dog quickly shifts into something dark and deadly when he learns the dog fled the scene of a double-murder/suicide. Th...



  • In the thirteenth installment of this award-winning private eye series, Seattle sleuth Thomas Black agrees to do a favor for a longtime friend of Kathy’s, Angela Bassman, who quickly gets him entangled in a messy relationship between philandering b...



  • A man and a woman, their coastal getaway interrupted, say goodbye on an isolated landing strip in Washington State. She then calls from the air. And he watches from the base of a lighthouse as the plane, with eleven people on board, plummets into the...



  • On a late August day in the foothills of the Cascades, five bicyclists climb into the hot, dry air, the breeze of their movement cooling their overheated bodies, the stress of a workweek slipstreaming behind them. But another group has entered the pa...



  • No one writes with the power, authority, and poetry that Earl Emerson has demonstrated in his action-packed novels about fire and the people who make their living fighting it. In Firetrap, Trey Brown is a man tormented by race, by family, and now by ...



  • Jason Gun, a risk-taking rookie firefighter who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, has found in his firehouse the family he never had as a child. Then, in one ill-fated turn of events, it all begins to go wrong. A bizarre accident brings a t...



  • In his pulse-pounding thrillers, Earl Emerson takes readers into the heart of the world's most dangerous profession, where the next alarm might bring sudden death. Based on stunning, actual events in the author's life, this electrifying new novel is ...



    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    In the freezing heart of the Pacific Northwest winter, a group of firefighters from North Bend Fire and Rescue responds to a freeway accident. Two trucks have collided on the icy pavement. One of the trucks was transporting livestock; the other carri...







    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    Six months after firefighter John Finney fought his way out of a burning Seattle warehouse to get help, no one remembers him giving the directions that pinpointed his partner's position inside. No one can remember anything about Finney except that he...



  • Everyone who knew Balinda could have told Seattle private eye Thomas Black that the ex-choir girl thumbed a ride with the devil a long time ago. Still, no one expected the pretty young woman to vanish off the face of the earth--leaving in her wake an...



  • As a rebellious teen, Lainie Smith hooked up with a drifter named Charlie --and she may have been an eyewitness to murder in the shadow of cliff-walled Deception Pass, where the water runs river-swift and turbulent. When justice--and the executioner-...



    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    It is the stuff of infamy - a tragic event talked to death for years, with no resolution or end in sight. The fire at Dead Horse Paint Company, a huge barn of a store, was a nightmare come true. Lives lost, lives wrecked, Staircase Fire Chief Mac Fon...



  • Seattle P.I. Thomas Black is sound asleep when he gets a panicked call from "Snake," a fellow gumshoe, with a case that's one for The X-Files. There's an exotic-looking woman dead in Snake's bed. He's not sure how she died, but he's certain about whe...



    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    It takes one small spark to start a killing blaze... Nothing much ever happens in sleepy little Staircase, Washington-and it's Fire Chief Mac Fontana's job to help keep it that way. But madness sets in on a balmy June night--when someone lights a ...



  • Marian Wright is an amateur sleuth in the employ of two attractive young women eager to catch up with their no-account ex-lovers. But when Marian's investigation ends abruptly and ferociously, Seattle private eye Thomas Black has a new case on his ha...



  • A curious couple offers Seattle private eye Thomas Black a strange proposal: play guardian angel to an unlikely stalking victim named Billy Battle, a brooding ex-con with a psychotic history of unproven murder and mayhem. Hot on Billy's trail is the ...



    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    Four firefighters--three men and one woman--walked into a suspicious Seattle blaze. Only one walked out. And now she must pay the price ... for surviving. Staircase, Washington, Fire Chief Mac Fontana knows what it's like to live when the other me...



  • No self-respecting P.I. would ever touch it: four successful businessmen want Thomas Black to track down the four women they've had secret crushes on for years and set up "dream dates" with them. Naturally, Black makes no bones about telling the butt...







    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    Fire Chief and acting sheriff Mac Fontana is used to trouble in the sleepy Seattle suburb of Staircase, Washington. But this time the heat is really on. All over town, firemen have been dying at an alarming rate--victims of an insidious maniac intent...



  • Seventeen-year-old Todd Steeb has been missing for eight days when his wealthy parents hire Seattle private eye Thomas Black to investigate. Faith Steeb is worried by her son's obsession with suicide, though her husband dismisses it as a youthful "de...



    • / Police/Detective/Law Enforcement
    • Buy Buy

    Mac Fontana is content being fire chief in a small town in Washington state. He's not looking for trouble -- and he's certainly not looking for murder. But, as acting deputy sheriff, that's exactly what he finds. The investigation of the gruesome de...



  • When Fred Pugsley receives a dead rattlesnake in the mail, ex-Seattle cop Thomas Black and his friend, lawyer Kathy Birchfield, are called in to investigate. But when they get there, Fred is dead, and his stunned wife sits huddled in the kitchen, clu...



    • / Private Investigator
    • Buy Buy

    Thomas Black hits P.I. pay dirt when he shadows an alleged philanderer to a tryst. But instead of two illicit lovers, he finds two bodies, an apparent murder-suicide. The dead man's grieving widow doesn't believe her late husband pulled the trigger--...



    • / Private Investigator
    • Buy Buy

    As sole heir to his beloved grand-daddy's fortune, noble and naive Lance Tyner wants to use the money for the good of mankind. But some not-so-good specimens of the species--including Lance's conniving father, sleazy brother, and spoiled sister--have...



  • Something made Melissa Nadisky flee her husband and their daughter. The note she left behind paints a picture of a woman haunted by a private hell. Now private eye Thomas Black is asked to find Melissa--before she's consumed by her secret, terrifying...


Complete Series List in Order

Jim Swopes

1) Vertical Burn (May-2002)
2) Into the Inferno (Mar-2003)

A Mac Fontana Mystery

1) Black Hearts and Slow Dancing (Feb-1988)
2) Help Wanted: Orphans Preferred (Mar-1990)
3) Morons and Madmen (Jul-1993)
4) Going Crazy in Public (Jun-1996)
5) The Dead Horse Paint Company (Jun-1997)

Thomas Black

1) The Rainy City (Jan-1985)
2) Poverty Bay (1985)
3) Nervous Laughter (1985)
4) Fat Tuesday (Feb-1987)
5) Deviant Behavior (Oct-1988)
6) Yellow Dog Party (Apr-1991)
7) The Portland Laugher (Sep-1994)
8) The Vanishing Smile (Sep-1995)
9) The Million-Dollar Tattoo (Sep-1996)
10) Deception Pass (Oct-1997)
11) Catfish Cafe (Aug-1998)
12) Cape Disappointment (Mar-2009)

Award-Winning Books by Earl Emerson

Poverty Bay
1985 Shamus Award -- Paperback Original P.I. Novel