New father wrestles with the masculinity question — shadows a private eye as experiment.
SOFT-BOILED follows Stephen J. West as he shadows a private investigator by the name of Frank Streets. What starts out as a last-ditch effort to write West’s first book—while juggling responsibilities as a husband and new father—becomes a critical reflection on art-making, storytelling, and masculinity in America. Blending memoir, reportage, criticism, and detective thriller into one capacious yet focused narrative, SOFT-BOILED is a lyrical and aching self-reflexive portrait of an artist that asks the questions so many men are afraid to ask.
"A unique, wandering study with plenty of thought-provoking, endearing twists" —Kirkus
"SOFT-BOILED is a magical genre remix that challenges received ideas of American Manhood and the Lone Artist, while simultaneously delivering a thrilling and comedic detective noir and moving family drama" —Torrey Peters
"SOFT-BOILED leaves no stone unturned in its investigation of this unified myth of American manhood, and West is a smart, fun, kind-hearted investigator, willing—like Frank Streets, the enigma at the book’s center—to let us ride along and see what happens next" —Lucas Mann
Stephen J. West Website
Stephen J. West is a writer, teacher, and parent who previously lived in West Virginia.