Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames is the author of the novels I Pass Like NightThe Extra Man, and Wake Up, Sir!, the graphic novel The Alcoholic (illustrated by Dean Haspiel), and the essay collections What's Not to Love?My Less Than Secret LifeI Love You More Than You Know, and The Double Life Is Twice as Good. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and is the creator of the HBO series Bored to Death. He lives in Brooklyn.


A hero whose favorite weapon is a hammer clearly has issues. Lots of them. 

Novelist, essayist, and creator of the beloved HBO series Bored to Death, Jonathan Ames is celebrated not only for his comic sensibilities and devotion to the absurd but for his lurid attraction to inner demons. In this shocking and suspenseful new novella, the author goes darker than noir, with an ass-kicking and psychologically tormented guardian angel who rescues others but refuses to save himself. 

A former Marine and ex–FBI agent, Joe has seen one too many crime scenes and known too much trauma, and not just in his professional life. Solitary and haunted, he prefers to be invisible. He doesn't allow himself friends or lovers and makes a living rescuing young girls from the deadly clutches of the sex trade. But when a high-ranking New York politician hires him to extricate his teenage daughter from a Manhattan brothel, Joe uncovers a web of corruption that even he may not be able to unravel. When the men on his trail take the only person left in the world who matters to him, he forsakes his pledge to do no harm. If anyone can kill his way to the truth, it's Joe. 

You Were Never Really Here is a tribute to Raymond Chandler and to Donald Westlake and his Parker series, and it testifies to Ames's versatility and capacity to entertain in any medium or genre. A character for the ages, Joe shows us, with every bent cop, junkie, and pimp he confronts, that it's hard to be an angel in a fallen world. 

Praise for You Were Never Really Here:

“Like most people, I like my Jonathan Ames LONG, but it's amazing what he can do in 18,000 words, too. This piece would make Raymond Chandler happy.”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

"Ames' single is a good choice for lovers of Michael Connelly, Lee Child or Vince Flynn who are interested in character-driven thrillers."—Chicago Tribune

"You Were Never Really Here is a dark thriller full of attitude and heart. … Ames is at his best here, creating a complex and sympathetic character and a detail-rich, believable story that is hard to forget."—San Francisco Chronicle