Books

Renegades

After spending time as a professor in upstate New York, Robert Ward decided to give journalism a try. What followed were two decades of assignments for New Times, GQ, SPORT, Rolling Stone, and other publications, covering the biggest stars of the sporting, music, art, and film worlds. This collection includes Ward’s celebrated story on Reggie Jackson that nearly tore the New York Yankees apart (and was later brought to life in an ESPN miniseries “The Bronx Is Burning”); a profile of the “outlaw” country music movement of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, and David Allan Coe; and an insightful feature on Hustler publisher Larry Flynt as a young pornographer that almost cost Ward his life.

The Best Bad Dream

A fed’s debt to a sexy snitch leads to a darkly funny nightmare of double-crosses and sinister motives. All FBI Agent Jack Harper wants is a heavenly vacation in Baja: sand, surf, and fishing. Then he gets a phone call from hell: it’s his for-lack-of-a-better-word girlfriend, Michelle Wu. The hot con-artist, and irresistible chop-shop queen needs Jack’s help in finding her kidnapped sister, a nurse working a posh Taos health spa for seniors.

Four Kinds of Rain

Broke, recently divorced, and a total deadbeat, Bob Wells has spent his life as a psychiatrist only doing good in the world. When one of his patients with clear paranoid delusions starts to lose a grip, Bob has no choice but to intervene. Emile Bardan is haunted by demons, and he believes that someone is trying to steal his most prized possesion, the legendeary Mask of Utu. Bob thinks it’s all part of Emile’s imagination until he discovers that Emile is telling the truth and that the mask is worth millions.

Grace

Ward recounts his earlier years during the chaotic 1960s with his grandmother Grace, a social activist and church woman who hides deep pain about her secret past, friendships and betrayals, and her mental health.

The Cactus Garden

Daredevil DEA agent Jack Walker cruised down Hollywood Boulevard into the best unscheduled party of his career: a car-jacking featuring a .38 semiautomatic and his own movieland heroics. In any other city, the pretty woman he saved would be a star. Here she was Charlotte Rae, a former B-movie bombshell waving a lottery ticket straight from hell – a chance to get inside her husband’s drug-smuggling empire. Charlotte Rae and Buddy Wingate were one of California’s self-made platinum couples: the high-rolling discount furniture king and his bottle-blond trophy.

The King of Cards

The King of Cards explores the alchemy of stubborn yearnings and unrealized dreams amidst the well-tended rowhouses of Ward’s native city. There’s a mounting fury in Tommy Fallon’s heart in the fall of 1965. He’s finally found his life’s calling – thanks to the inspiration of Professor Extraordinaire Sylvester Spaulding. Young Tom wants to be lifted on the wings of genius, to ascend to a clean, well-lighted place where cultured people talk about deep things.

Red Baker

When Red Baker, a Larmel steel worker in Baltimore, Maryland, gets laid off from his job he goes crazy: boozing, attempted philandering, running away from his future. Filled with unforgettable characters from Red’s angry but loyal wife, Wanda; his basketball-star son, Ace; his lifelong friend Dog, a casualty of the layoff; and Crystal, the go-go dancer at Lily’s bar who embodies Red’s fantasies of escape. Red Baker is a classic American novel about a man with no identity who tries to replace the one he’s lost.

The Sandman

In this thrilling medical drama, anesthesiologist Dr. Cross’ job is to alleviate pain… but someone is now accusing him of murder.

Cattle Annie

Based on the lives of two adolescent girls in the late 19th century who became infatuated with the Western outlaw heroes they had read about in Ned Buntline’s stories and left their homes to join them. The outlaws the girls find are the demoralised remnants of the Doolin-Dalton gang, led by the aging Bill Doolin. Annie shames and inspires the men to become what she had imagined them to be, while her younger sister Jenny finds a father figure in Doolin, who calls her Little Britches.

Shedding Skin

A tour of the 1950s and 1960s recounts the author’s coming-of-age experiences in a period torn between idealism and despair, chronicling his journey between Baltimore and Haight-Ashbury and his witness to the historical events of the time. This classic novel, the 1972 winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Award, turns, providing an essential companion piece to The King of Cards. Illuminated by the author’s personal experiences, this authentic coming-of-age novel presents a cavalcade of memorable characters and adventures.