Friday, September 1, 2023


Sad news. Crime Writer Les Edgerton passed away yesterday at the age of 80.

Les Edgerton published 23 books, including Adrenaline Junkie from Down&Out Press, Bomb! from Gutter Press and the black comedy crime novel, The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping from Down & Out Press. One of his most popular books is the writer's text, Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go. His own favorite in his collection was Monday's Meal.

Les taught creative writing for the UCLA Extension Writer's Program, Trine University, St. Francis University, a class via Skype for the New York Writer's Workshop, and was Writer-in-Residence for the University of Toledo for three years.

O.K, if you knew Les or hear him speak, you'll remember that he mentioned that he usually mentioned that he was an ex-con, having served two years of a 2-5 sentence at Pendleton Reformatory in the sixties for second-degree burglary. The sentence was the result of a plea bargain where it was reduced to a single charge from 82 burglaries, two strong-arm robberies, an armed robbery, and a count of possession with intent to deal. Prior to this little "trouble," Les served 4 years in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer who had "up close and personal" experience with the Cuban Crisis and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

After making parole from Pendleton, Edgerton obtained his B.A. from Indiana University (Honors of Distinction), where he was elected Student Body President, and then received his MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Vermont College. He taught workshops nationwide on writing, specializing in classes and seminars on the writer's voice and story beginnings. He also coached writers on their novels.

His fiction has been nominated for or won: the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award (short story category), Derringer Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Book Award, the Violet Crown Book Award, The Spinetingler Magazine Award for Best Thriller, and others. His screenplays placed as a Semifinalist in the Nicholl's Foundation Competition and as Finalists in the Writer's Guild and Best of Austin competitions.

He will be missed.


Anonymous said...

"A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials." RIP Les

Anthony Neil Smith said...

Very fortunate to have Les as a friend. I admired the hell out of his work. He'd sent an email not even a month ago asking if my intro to his novel The Bitch could be translated into Italian for a new edition. I was more than happy to oblige. What a life.

Anonymous said...

He was one of my best buds since our time together at VC! He was actually 80 when he passed. You're so right in that I miss him already.

Anonymous said...

Damn it. I cant believe this. I read his book Hooked while I was serving time, best damn book I ever read about writing. I learn more about writing reading his book then all the other books I read during a four year stint. I finally wanted to reach out to him and thank him and now he is gone. Life man, life. I guess I'm gonna have to finish this book I wrote. I owe him that much.

Anonymous said...

I’m sad to hear about his passing. Les changed my life. He was a mentor for me in undergrad. Working alongside him, I developed a unique work ethic that has carried me through many tough times. He also helped me find my creative streak which keeps me sane when I need a break from the mundane. Without having met him, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am some 15ish years later.

You were a good educator, writer, and friend. Blue skies, Les.

Anonymous said...

I just came across an article about how he broke down first person vs formal third and close third. His examples brought a simple clarity to the nuances of each. His work will continue to endure and help new writers. Well done Les and thank you.