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Joseph Hansen
(July 19, 1923 - November 24, 2004) U.S.A.

Joseph Hansen

Mystery novelist


Hansen was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, but has lived in southern California ever since his family moved there in 1936. Despite his family's hard existence, he discovered a love for good literature and a desire to write. Before he could claim writing as a profession, there would be many years of part-time jobs in bookstores, singing folk songs on a local radio station, serving as an editorial jack-off-all-trades for two magazines for homosexuals.

In 1943 he married Jane Bancroft, a lesbian, and they had a daughter. Hansen met Martin Block at his 22nd birthday party in 1945, and the two formed an enduring friendship.

In 1965 he founded the pioneering homosexual journal Tangents. He published under the pseudonyn James Colton in the 1960s. Hansen's writings focus on homosexual characters and themes.

He is known for his (gay detective) Dave Brandstetter series. With this character, Hansen created the first gay detective, who fullfilled his author's whish to give readers, especially non-gay readers, a non-stereotypical gay man with whom to identify. Although married for over fifty years, he identifies himself as "homosexual" (not gay).

A lifetime heavy smoker, Joe died at his home from heart failure. Hansen's only survivor was a daughter who underwent a sex change operation and is now a man.



  • Fadeout (1972)
  • Death Claimes (1973)
  • Skinflick (1980)
  • Troublemaker (1975)
  • The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (1978)
  • Skinflick (1980)
  • A Smile in His Lifetime (1981)
  • Gravedigger (1982)
  • Backtrack (1982)
  • Job's year (1983)
  • Nightwork (1984)
  • Steps Going Down (1984)
  • The Little Dog Laughed (1986)
  • Early Graves (1987)
  • Obedience (1988)
  • The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning (1991)
  • A Country of Old Men (1991)
  • Living upstairs (1993)
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