author montage

Jesse Sublett

AUTHOR | ARTIST| MUSICIAN

Jesse by Todd Wolfson

 Jesse Sublett’s published works include critically acclaimed detective novels as well as true crime and works on culture, history and biography. His essays and features have been published in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer and the Austin Chronicle. At bottom, see a select list of Jesse’s published books.

AUTHOR NEWS

July 13, 2022

SRO audiences attended Jesse’s July 6 High Noon talk at the Bullock Texas History Museum. The museum bookstore sold out. Next day, July 7, the conversation with author Kip Stratton at BookPeople was completely SRO. Jesse signed books till closing time. See photos @jessesublett. Thank you, Austin! See you in October.

…More press in the Austin-American Statesman blog Think Austin by Michael Barnes, who says readers “swarmed” his June 20 interview with Jesse about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin. Read a selection of reader responses and view photos of the infamous madame Hattie Valdes, whom Jesse  also wrote about in 1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital (2015).

July 1, 2022

GANGSTERS IN RADIO LAND: Fri., June 30, tune in to Rag Radio with Thorne Dreyer on KO-OP 91.7 FM at 2-3:00 PM for an hour-long interview with Jesse about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin. Jesse is a long-time contributor to Rag Radio and this conversation will be lively and insightful…. Listen to the interview podcast here anytime.

SEE YOU IN AUSTIN! Weds. July 6, be there at Jesse’s High Noon Talk at the Bullock Museum of Texas History. Starts at 12 noon with a reading from Last Gangster in Austin and slide show, Q&A and yes! you can buy your book there & Jesse will sign it for you… Thurs. July 7 at 7 PM, BookPeople launch party: a conversation with author W.K. “Kip” Stratton about the new book, plus Q&A. Buy your book at the event and Jesse will sign it for you.

June 22, 2022

The buzz gets louder: Michael Barnes interviews  Jesse in today’s Austin American Statesman with an eye-grabbing lead: “If you pick up just one new Texas history this summer, make it Last Gangster in Austin.” A very informative, insightful piece on the writing of the book and the Austin characters–good and not-so-good–who put the zing in Austin’s 1970s. Read it! And mark your calendars for Jesse’s lecture at the Bob Bullock Spirit of Texas Museum July 6, at High Noon, and the book launch event at BookPeople July 7, 7 PM. Jesse will be reading from the book, taking questions, and signing your copies of the book.

June 16, 2022

Jesse writes about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin in Texas Highways online . Nice headline: “Author Jesse Sublett Delves Into Austin’s Criminal Underbelly.” Read it now here and find out the Austin diners and cafes where Frank and his hired guns used to meet and plan their devious deeds and criminal exploits.


June 7, 2022

Big news day: Jesse’s interview with Joe Gross is now live at the Austin Chronicle.  Read it! Favorite quote:

Ultimately, Last Gangster is about what all true-crime stories are about (hell, what most stories, period, are about): power. More specifically, Sublett elaborated, ‘how power moves up from the very bottom of society up to the top. … Frank started making connections when he was in prison as a very young man. He knew the Italian Mafia from the junkyards scene in Waco. So he moves from junkyards to the prison system to the bail bond business, up into connections with county law enforcement and [the] criminal justice system. And he’s kind of blatant about it, in a Donald Trump kind of way.

Also in the AC today, Jay Trachtenberg’s book review: Ronnie Earle, Gangbuster: Jesse Sublett revisits Austin’s criminal past in Last Gangster in Austin. Says Trachtenberg:

Sublett constructs the story with a sharp eye and a hard-boiled flair. This stuff is his bread and butter, and although hampered in his research by the pandemic lockdown, he was still able to give us a gripping account of this true Austin crime saga.

June 5, 2022

Last week, Jesse chatted with David Brown about “Last Gangster in Austin” on the Texas Standard. The interview runs just over eight minutes…. The audio edition of “Last Gangster in Austin” has dropped. Listen to the sample at Audible.com. We think voice actor Mark Bramhall did a great job reading the book… And Texas Monthly plugs “Last Gangster in Austin” in a round-up of “Things to Do, Read, Watch and Visit in Texas this Summer.” Since the competition runs the gamut from rowdy dolphin to a terrifying magician played by Ethan Hawke, we feel honored that Jesse’s true crime saga tops the list.

May 15, 2022

Like a blast from a sawed-off shotgun, Last Gangster in Austin is hitting the summer reads lists.  Alcalde, the UT Alumni mag, recos the book alongside a new bio of the late, great Barbara Jordan and novelist Stephen Harrigan’s latest, The LeopardLast Gangster also made the list in Austin Monthly… Hollywood insiders looking for new IP to option for film and TV are reading about it on the hot tip sheet The Optionist, a Substack publication headed by Andrew Lewis, formerly of The Hollywood Reporter. Ronnie Earle and Frank Smith are “the ying and yang” [of] a great story that goes from the backrooms of Austin’s juke joints to the state capital and everywhere in between and features a colorful cast of hit men, hookers and a great crusading journalist — plus a Willie Nelson cameo!” Plus, he writes, “This is such a rich, rich world that someone could have a field day creating a show.” We 100% agree!

May 12, 2022

Preorder your copy of Last Gangster in Austin between right now and June 30 for a whopping 40% off the list price. Go to UT Press and enter the promo code UTXSPRING and buy a bunch of copies for only $13. Cheaper than Amazon and good for your soul.

Weds. July 6, 12:00-1:00 High Noon Talks at the Bullock: Jesse will present a one-hour thing on Last Gangster in Austin, free and fascinating. RSVP & Details. Thurs. July 7, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, BookPeople  host the official launch and book signing of Last Gangster in Austin. Interview Jesse will be W.K. “Kip” Stratton, author of The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film and eight other books; also a member of the mysterious authors group known as The Knuckleheads, of which Jesse is a founding member.

May 1, 2022

Last Gangster in Austin is a “vividly detailed and stylishly written portrait of an Austin long gone by,” according to the influential trade mag Kirkus. The review calls out several choice, colorful lines about the story’s hero, longtime district attorney Ronnie Earle, along with the antagonist, Frank Smith.

December 2021

Jesse’s 13th book, Last Gangster in Austin: Frank Smith, Ronnie Earle, and the End of a Junkyard Mafia, will be published by UT Press in May 2022. Watch this space for news about book signing events, author appearances, and press reviews. The advance word is good!

Skip Hollandsworth (Texas Monthly staff writer and author of Midnight Assassin) writes: “A rookie District Attorney. A wily, backslapping multimillionaire bail bondsman. And one of the biggest criminal investigations in Austin history. Sublett’s book is both a riveting crime story and a character-rich study of Austin, Texas. It’s smartly crafted and excellently researched.”

Kathryn Casey (In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders), writes:  “Once again Jesse Sublett proves that the Lone Star State’s capital lives up to its mantra: Keep Austin weird. Enjoy this romp back in time to the era when Ronnie Earle ruled at the courthouse and Frank Smith in the salvage business.”

Follow Jesse’s author and music news on Instagram at @jessesublett, and his art news at @jessesublett.visualart.

Jesse Sublett’s published works include critically acclaimed detective novels as well as true crime and works on culture, history and biography. His essays and features have been published in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer and the Austin Chronicle. At bottom, see a select list of Jesse’s published books.

AUTHOR NEWS

July 13, 2022

GANGSTERS IN RADIO LAND: Fri., June 30, tune in to Rag Radio with Thorne Dreyer on KO-OP 91.7 FM at 2-3:00 PM for an hour-long interview with Jesse about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin. Jesse is a long-time contributor to Rag Radio and this conversation will be lively and insightful…. Listen to the interview podcast here anytime.

July 1, 2022

GANGSTERS IN RADIO LAND: Fri., June 30, tune in to Rag Radio with Thorne Dreyer on KO-OP 91.7 FM at 2-3:00 PM for an hour-long interview with Jesse about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin. Jesse is a long-time contributor to Rag Radio and this conversation will be lively and insightful…. Listen to the interview podcast here anytime.

SEE YOU IN AUSTIN! Weds. July 6, be there at Jesse’s High Noon Talk at the Bullock Museum of Texas History. Starts at 12 noon with a reading from Last Gangster in Austin and slide show, Q&A and yes! you can buy your book there & Jesse will sign it for you… Thurs. July 7 at 7 PM, BookPeople launch party: a conversation with author W.K. “Kip” Stratton about the new book, plus Q&A. Buy your book at the event and Jesse will sign it for you.

June 22, 2022

The buzz gets louder: Michael Barnes interviews  Jesse in today’s Austin American Statesman with an eye-grabbing lead: “If you pick up just one new Texas history this summer, make it Last Gangster in Austin.” A very informative, insightful piece on the writing of the book and the Austin characters–good and not-so-good–who put the zing in Austin’s 1970s. Read it! And mark your calendars for Jesse’s lecture at the Bob Bullock Spirit of Texas Museum July 6, at High Noon, and the book launch event at BookPeople July 7, 7 PM. Jesse will be reading from the book, taking questions, and signing your copies of the book.

June 16, 2022

Jesse writes about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin in Texas Highways online . Nice headline: “Author Jesse Sublett Delves Into Austin’s Criminal Underbelly.” Read it now here and find out the Austin diners and cafes where Frank and his hired guns used to meet and plan their devious deeds and criminal exploits.


June 7, 2022

Big news day: Jesse’s interview with Joe Gross is now live at the Austin Chronicle.  Read it! Favorite quote:

Ultimately, Last Gangster is about what all true-crime stories are about (hell, what most stories, period, are about): power. More specifically, Sublett elaborated, ‘how power moves up from the very bottom of society up to the top. … Frank started making connections when he was in prison as a very young man. He knew the Italian Mafia from the junkyards scene in Waco. So he moves from junkyards to the prison system to the bail bond business, up into connections with county law enforcement and [the] criminal justice system. And he’s kind of blatant about it, in a Donald Trump kind of way.

Also in the AC today, Jay Trachtenberg’s book review: Ronnie Earle, Gangbuster: Jesse Sublett revisits Austin’s criminal past in Last Gangster in Austin. Says Trachtenberg:

Sublett constructs the story with a sharp eye and a hard-boiled flair. This stuff is his bread and butter, and although hampered in his research by the pandemic lockdown, he was still able to give us a gripping account of this true Austin crime saga.

June 5, 2022

Last week, Jesse chatted with David Brown about “Last Gangster in Austin” on the Texas Standard. The interview runs just over eight minutes…. The audio edition of “Last Gangster in Austin” has dropped. Listen to the sample at Audible.com. We think voice actor Mark Bramhall did a great job reading the book… And Texas Monthly plugs “Last Gangster in Austin” in a round-up of “Things to Do, Read, Watch and Visit in Texas this Summer.” Since the competition runs the gamut from rowdy dolphin to a terrifying magician played by Ethan Hawke, we feel honored that Jesse’s true crime saga tops the list.

May 15, 2022

Like a blast from a sawed-off shotgun, Last Gangster in Austin is hitting the summer reads lists.  Alcalde, the UT Alumni mag, recos the book alongside a new bio of the late, great Barbara Jordan and novelist Stephen Harrigan’s latest, The LeopardLast Gangster also made the list in Austin Monthly… Hollywood insiders looking for new IP to option for film and TV are reading about it on the hot tip sheet The Optionist, a Substack publication headed by Andrew Lewis, formerly of The Hollywood Reporter. Ronnie Earle and Frank Smith are “the ying and yang” [of] a great story that goes from the backrooms of Austin’s juke joints to the state capital and everywhere in between and features a colorful cast of hit men, hookers and a great crusading journalist — plus a Willie Nelson cameo!” Plus, he writes, “This is such a rich, rich world that someone could have a field day creating a show.” We 100% agree!

May 12, 2022

Preorder your copy of Last Gangster in Austin between right now and June 30 for a whopping 40% off the list price. Go to UT Press and enter the promo code UTXSPRING and buy a bunch of copies for only $13. Cheaper than Amazon and good for your soul.

Weds. July 6, 12:00-1:00 High Noon Talks at the Bullock: Jesse will present a one-hour thing on Last Gangster in Austin, free and fascinating. RSVP & Details. Thurs. July 7, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, BookPeople  host the official launch and book signing of Last Gangster in Austin. Interview Jesse will be W.K. “Kip” Stratton, author of The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film and eight other books; also a member of the mysterious authors group known as The Knuckleheads, of which Jesse is a founding member.

May 1, 2022

Last Gangster in Austin is a “vividly detailed and stylishly written portrait of an Austin long gone by,” according to the influential trade mag Kirkus. The review calls out several choice, colorful lines about the story’s hero, longtime district attorney Ronnie Earle, along with the antagonist, Frank Smith.

December 2021

Jesse’s 13th book, Last Gangster in Austin: Frank Smith, Ronnie Earle, and the End of a Junkyard Mafia, will be published by UT Press in May 2022. Watch this space for news about book signing events, author appearances, and press reviews. The advance word is good!

Skip Hollandsworth (Texas Monthly staff writer and author of Midnight Assassin) writes: “A rookie District Attorney. A wily, backslapping multimillionaire bail bondsman. And one of the biggest criminal investigations in Austin history. Sublett’s book is both a riveting crime story and a character-rich study of Austin, Texas. It’s smartly crafted and excellently researched.”

Kathryn Casey (In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders), writes:  “Once again Jesse Sublett proves that the Lone Star State’s capital lives up to its mantra: Keep Austin weird. Enjoy this romp back in time to the era when Ronnie Earle ruled at the courthouse and Frank Smith in the salvage business.”

Follow Jesse’s author and music news on Instagram at @jessesublett, and his art news at @jessesublett.visualart.

Jesse Sublett’s published works include critically acclaimed detective novels as well as true crime and works on culture, history and biography. His essays and features have been published in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer and the Austin Chronicle. At bottom, see a select list of Jesse’s published books.

AUTHOR NEWS

July 13, 2022

GANGSTERS IN RADIO LAND: Fri., June 30, tune in to Rag Radio with Thorne Dreyer on KO-OP 91.7 FM at 2-3:00 PM for an hour-long interview with Jesse about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin. Jesse is a long-time contributor to Rag Radio and this conversation will be lively and insightful…. Listen to the interview podcast here anytime.

July 1, 2022

GANGSTERS IN RADIO LAND: Fri., June 30, tune in to Rag Radio with Thorne Dreyer on KO-OP 91.7 FM at 2-3:00 PM for an hour-long interview with Jesse about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin. Jesse is a long-time contributor to Rag Radio and this conversation will be lively and insightful…. Listen to the interview podcast here anytime.

SEE YOU IN AUSTIN! Weds. July 6, be there at Jesse’s High Noon Talk at the Bullock Museum of Texas History. Starts at 12 noon with a reading from Last Gangster in Austin and slide show, Q&A and yes! you can buy your book there & Jesse will sign it for you… Thurs. July 7 at 7 PM, BookPeople launch party: a conversation with author W.K. “Kip” Stratton about the new book, plus Q&A. Buy your book at the event and Jesse will sign it for you.

June 22, 2022

The buzz gets louder: Michael Barnes interviews  Jesse in today’s Austin American Statesman with an eye-grabbing lead: “If you pick up just one new Texas history this summer, make it Last Gangster in Austin.” A very informative, insightful piece on the writing of the book and the Austin characters–good and not-so-good–who put the zing in Austin’s 1970s. Read it! And mark your calendars for Jesse’s lecture at the Bob Bullock Spirit of Texas Museum July 6, at High Noon, and the book launch event at BookPeople July 7, 7 PM. Jesse will be reading from the book, taking questions, and signing your copies of the book.

June 16, 2022

Jesse writes about the writing of Last Gangster in Austin in Texas Highways online . Nice headline: “Author Jesse Sublett Delves Into Austin’s Criminal Underbelly.” Read it now here and find out the Austin diners and cafes where Frank and his hired guns used to meet and plan their devious deeds and criminal exploits.


June 7, 2022

Big news day: Jesse’s interview with Joe Gross is now live at the Austin Chronicle.  Read it! Favorite quote:

Ultimately, Last Gangster is about what all true-crime stories are about (hell, what most stories, period, are about): power. More specifically, Sublett elaborated, ‘how power moves up from the very bottom of society up to the top. … Frank started making connections when he was in prison as a very young man. He knew the Italian Mafia from the junkyards scene in Waco. So he moves from junkyards to the prison system to the bail bond business, up into connections with county law enforcement and [the] criminal justice system. And he’s kind of blatant about it, in a Donald Trump kind of way.

Also in the AC today, Jay Trachtenberg’s book review: Ronnie Earle, Gangbuster: Jesse Sublett revisits Austin’s criminal past in Last Gangster in Austin. Says Trachtenberg:

Sublett constructs the story with a sharp eye and a hard-boiled flair. This stuff is his bread and butter, and although hampered in his research by the pandemic lockdown, he was still able to give us a gripping account of this true Austin crime saga.

June 5, 2022

Last week, Jesse chatted with David Brown about “Last Gangster in Austin” on the Texas Standard. The interview runs just over eight minutes…. The audio edition of “Last Gangster in Austin” has dropped. Listen to the sample at Audible.com. We think voice actor Mark Bramhall did a great job reading the book… And Texas Monthly plugs “Last Gangster in Austin” in a round-up of “Things to Do, Read, Watch and Visit in Texas this Summer.” Since the competition runs the gamut from rowdy dolphin to a terrifying magician played by Ethan Hawke, we feel honored that Jesse’s true crime saga tops the list.

May 15, 2022

Like a blast from a sawed-off shotgun, Last Gangster in Austin is hitting the summer reads lists.  Alcalde, the UT Alumni mag, recos the book alongside a new bio of the late, great Barbara Jordan and novelist Stephen Harrigan’s latest, The LeopardLast Gangster also made the list in Austin Monthly… Hollywood insiders looking for new IP to option for film and TV are reading about it on the hot tip sheet The Optionist, a Substack publication headed by Andrew Lewis, formerly of The Hollywood Reporter. Ronnie Earle and Frank Smith are “the ying and yang” [of] a great story that goes from the backrooms of Austin’s juke joints to the state capital and everywhere in between and features a colorful cast of hit men, hookers and a great crusading journalist — plus a Willie Nelson cameo!” Plus, he writes, “This is such a rich, rich world that someone could have a field day creating a show.” We 100% agree!

May 12, 2022

Preorder your copy of Last Gangster in Austin between right now and June 30 for a whopping 40% off the list price. Go to UT Press and enter the promo code UTXSPRING and buy a bunch of copies for only $13. Cheaper than Amazon and good for your soul.

Weds. July 6, 12:00-1:00 High Noon Talks at the Bullock: Jesse will present a one-hour thing on Last Gangster in Austin, free and fascinating. RSVP & Details. Thurs. July 7, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, BookPeople  host the official launch and book signing of Last Gangster in Austin. Interview Jesse will be W.K. “Kip” Stratton, author of The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film and eight other books; also a member of the mysterious authors group known as The Knuckleheads, of which Jesse is a founding member.

May 1, 2022

Last Gangster in Austin is a “vividly detailed and stylishly written portrait of an Austin long gone by,” according to the influential trade mag Kirkus. The review calls out several choice, colorful lines about the story’s hero, longtime district attorney Ronnie Earle, along with the antagonist, Frank Smith.

December 2021

Jesse’s 13th book, Last Gangster in Austin: Frank Smith, Ronnie Earle, and the End of a Junkyard Mafia, will be published by UT Press in May 2022. Watch this space for news about book signing events, author appearances, and press reviews. The advance word is good!

Skip Hollandsworth (Texas Monthly staff writer and author of Midnight Assassin) writes: “A rookie District Attorney. A wily, backslapping multimillionaire bail bondsman. And one of the biggest criminal investigations in Austin history. Sublett’s book is both a riveting crime story and a character-rich study of Austin, Texas. It’s smartly crafted and excellently researched.”

Kathryn Casey (In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders), writes:  “Once again Jesse Sublett proves that the Lone Star State’s capital lives up to its mantra: Keep Austin weird. Enjoy this romp back in time to the era when Ronnie Earle ruled at the courthouse and Frank Smith in the salvage business.”

Follow Jesse’s author and music news on Instagram at @jessesublett, and his art news at @jessesublett.visualart.

Last Gangster in Austin

Last Gangster in Austin

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER FROM UT PRESS

1960s Austin Gangsters

1960s Austin Gangsters

by Jesse Sublett. Contact Jesse for a signed copy.

ORDER FROM BOOKPEOPLE

Armadillo World Headquarters

Armadillo World Headquarters

by Eddie Wilson with Jesse Sublett

ORDER FROM THREADGILLS

Never The Same Again

Never The Same Again

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER FROM BOOKPEOPLE

Une Vie En Noir

Une Vie En Noir

by Jesse Sublett. A French translation, specially-curated collection of nonfiction, fiction, poetry and lyrics. Out of print

Esther's Follies

Esther's Follies

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER FROM ESTHER’S FOLLIES

Grave Digger Blues

Grave Digger Blues

by Jesse Sublett. Contact Jesse for a signed copy.

READ IT ON KINDLE

The Martin Fender Mystery Novels

Rock Critic Murders, the first Martin Fender novel, was published in 1989. Jesse and Lois had left Austin for Los Angeles in 1987. Within two months, Jesse had an agent and a book deal with Viking Penguin for his crime novels.

The series character – a blues musician who moonlights as a private detective and skip tracer, originated with a series of short pieces published in the Austin Chronicle starting in 1983.

Rock Critic Murders, the first Martin Fender novel.

Rock Critic Murders, the first Martin Fender novel.

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER ON AMAZON

Tough Baby, the 2nd Martin Fender novel

Tough Baby, the 2nd Martin Fender novel

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER ON AMAZON

Boiled In Concrete, the 3rd Martin Fender novel

Boiled In Concrete, the 3rd Martin Fender novel

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER ON AMAZON

Rock Critic Murders, the first Martin Fender novel. Dell Paperback

Rock Critic Murders, the first Martin Fender novel. Dell Paperback

by Jesse Sublett

ORDER ON AMAZON