“Former New York City cop Ed Runyon, the hero of this exceptional series launch from Goble (the Spider John series), has relocated to Ohio’s Mifflin County for a quieter, less violent life as a sheriff’s detective. Those plans go awry when he’s asked to help with a missing person’s case. … Goble matches a well-crafted plot with a deeply troubled lead who’s unfailingly on the side of the victim if not always on the right side of the law. Fans of gritty, realistic crime fiction will look forward to seeing a lot more of Runyon.— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred review)

“An authentic, compelling story of a real cop with a haunted past. CITY PROBLEMS is both a dynamic procedural and an incisive portrait of a man at war with himself. Although the stunning, profane prose should be savored, I’m betting this is a book you will gobble up in a single sitting.” — WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER, New York Times best-selling author of THIS TENDER LAND

“CITY PROBLEMS is a crime thriller of rare emotional depth, pathos, and angst. Steve Goble masterfully introduces us to a new hero in Detective Ed Runyon, who finds he can run from his past but he can’t hide, even by moving to bucolic small town America from the grit and grime of the big city. City Problems unearths the dark underbelly lurking beneath American culture and society in a bold and bracing fashion reminiscent of Michael Connelly and Robert Crais. And, if Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler had ever chosen a rural setting for their crime novels, this is what it would look like.”Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong novels


“A terrific new series. Ed Runyon is a relentless cop, and Goble puts a fresh spin on the cop with a haunted past.” — Terry Shames, Lefty and Macavity Award winning author of the Samuel Craddock mystery novels


“Steve Goble’s Pieces of Eight is a stormy gem of a historical adventure, featuring a colorful and violent band of eighteenth-century misfits. Peril on every page, and brimming with heart, gore, and passion. You won’t put this down. 
Impeccably researched and richly detailed, Pieces of Eight is an entertaining jag that recalls the Odyssey in a most clever way…if Odysseus had been a pirate.”
— James W. Ziskin, author of the Anthony and Macavity award-winning Ellie Stone mysteries


“Pieces of Eight” is a wild ride. Loved the mystery, loved the swashbuckling adventure, loved Spider John and his loyal band of irregulars. Goble’s writing is so vivid you can almost feel the sea spray on your face as the bobbing 18th-century ship sails for Nantucket with captured mutineers in its hold. More Spider John, please!

— Tracy Clark,  Lefty, Anthony and Edgar award nominee, author of the Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series, and winner of the 2020 Sue Grafton Memorial Award 


Bodies and blunderbusses abound as Spider John and his motley crew of friends are back in fine form!

Goble’s mystery plot ticks along like clockwork, but the real attraction is the voice of Spider John, a reluctant pirate who just wants to get home to his wife and son. But with Spider finally within sight of that goal, one obstacle after another presents itself.  As mysteries are revealed, Spider is forced to ask: Who are we to judge the hearts of those around us, and who are we to pretend that we know our own motivations?

A rum-soaked ride filled with historical accuracy, whip-smart observation, and mysterious deaths, PIECES OF EIGHT is sure to appeal to mystery fans with a little piracy in their hearts. 

— Dan Stout, author of Titanshade


Reviews of the Spider John Mystery Series


This original, gritty, action-packed debut is rich in historical detail. Suggest for readers who enjoy the Pirates of the Caribbean movies or Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures. — Library Journal

The mix of pirates and detection works surprisingly well. … Both the mystery and the sleuthing are neatly turned. — Kirkus Reviews

 The tale is engaging and certainly exciting.  Life aboard a pirate vessel is presented in fine detail; the characters are believable; the plot lines are nicely filled with surprises.  All in all it is a page turning read — Paul Bennett, Historical Fiction

Mixing a pirate yarn with a murder mystery is something of a trick, and Goble pulls it off.  The two genres blend well in this book. The combat scenes and descriptions of life on the account are well done. We smell the gunsmoke and blood, hear the cannons and screams of the injured and dying, feel the splinters flying and the cut of the blades.  We also experience the bad food, watered rum, and feel the salt breeze. — Adventures Fantastic

Here is what critics are saying about “The Bloody Black Flag: A Spider John Mystery

— Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine reviewer Robert C. Hahn wrote about it in the November/December 2017 issue.

— I got a mention in Murder Ink.

— Here is a review in the Akron Beacon Journal.

— Kirkus Reviews weighed in early.

— Criminal Element is a fine mystery fan destination. Here is what their reviewer thought.

Kind thoughts from author Nicholas Guild. Go read “The Ironsmith” and his other books.

— I love this review from Keith West at Adventures Fantastic.

— Gumshoes, Gants and Gams gave it good marks.

— Historical Fiction Reviews said this.

Here’s a take from Where The Reader Grows.

— Lesa’s Book Critiques did a review.

Praise for “The Devil’s Wind”

Goble’s excellent second historical featuring pirate Spider John Rush improves on its predecessor, 2017’s The Bloody Black Flag. Goble adroitly combines action and deduction. — Publishers Weekly. Here is a link to the full review.


The second in the Spider John series, The Devil’s Wind packs a lot into a mere 250 pages. There’s the locked-room mystery, of course, plus several chilling tales of barbarous cruelty, action-packed fighting, historical asides, and plenty of quieter moments for Spider to wax philosophic about his lot in life.

Our hero is a satisfyingly three-dimensional guy. He’s a successful pirate, yes—successful meaning he’s still alive after years of lawlessness—but he’s always been an unwilling buccaneer. He doesn’t want adventure or buried treasure; he longs for a quiet life with his family, far away from blood and beaches. — Criminal Element Here is a link to the full review


The Devil’s Wind is an outstanding locked-room mystery combining whodunit and action into a marvelous adventure mystery. Its cast of exotic characters are rendered with precision and detail. The dialogue matches the characters and the story perfectly. There are several instances where Spider’s cursing resembles high art, requiring a second and third reading to admire clever vulgarity. The plotting is devilishly tight, Spider is intelligent and tough, and, for this reader, the culprit was hidden until the final pages.Mystery Scene Magazine


Praise for “A Bottle of Rum”

In Goble’s superior third early-18th-century mystery featuring Spider John Rush (after 2018’s The Devil’s Wind), Spider and Odin, his friend and former shipmate, are trying to leave their law-breaking days behind them while evading agents of the British Admiralty, which seeks to hang them for piracy. The combination of swashbuckling and deductions remains a winning one. Publisher’s Weekly Here is a link to the full review


“Spider John and one-eyed Odin are back with a swashbuckling, page-turning plot and a treasure chest full of the most original characters to ever swagger, steal, and sleuth their way through a mystery. Once again, Steve Goble proves himself a master of piratical prose and mysterious mayhem. — Susan Spann, bestselling author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries

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