The Collected Ben Perkins
“Ben Perkins is back! It feels so good to say that. Twenty-three years ago, when Rob Kantner introduced his Detroit PI in the short story “C Is for Cookie,” he probably had no idea he was heralding in a new era of mystery fiction. Before Rob, the private eye genre was glutted with down-in-their-luck losers who wore trench coats and talked like Bogart. Stereotypes ruled the paperback racks, and a revamp was sorely needed. Rob’s genius was to give his hero something more than clichéd one-liners and a drinking problem. Namely, a life.”
J. A. Konrath, from his introduction
This collection includes 18 stories featuring Ben Perkins, from the earliest part of his career to the latest chapter. The final story, “Sex and Violins” has never before been published.
Born October 14, 1952, Rob Kantner spent early days in Ohio, teen years in north Georgia, and moved to the metro Detroit area in 1972. Spurred by a draft lottery number of 36,he served a Vietnam-era hitch in the U. S. Navy as a journalist, and was honorably discharged from the Naval Reserve in 1977. In 1978 he graduated from Eastern Michigan University, having blown two previous attempts at college.
As often happens to English majors who prefer to eat every day, Rob spent most of his fits-and-starts career in business: early years in middle-management marketing and advertising posts, later times in general management for small manufacturing/service firms. In the late 1980s Rob wandered into business consulting, and in 1995 started his own tiny consulting firm. Today, like a mouse among elephants’ feet, he darts from town to town, dispensing advice on quality system management which more often than not works out okay.
Rob wrote his first fiction at age 9. He spent most of his teens and twenties producing work of varying levels of unreadability. In 1982 his first published fiction appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (see Publishing Credits). Subsequently he published 9 Ben Perkins novels and several dozen short stories. The demands of self-employment forced a radical slowdown in fiction production. These days Rob knocks out the occasional short story, tinkers with historical fiction and crime novels, and generally contents himself in peaceful obscurity.
Rob’s first marriage resulted in three wonderful children: Meaghan (1978), John (1979), and Robert (1981). Meg is the mother of the terrific Brenna (2000) and Evan (2001). On July 21, 2001, Rob married Deanna, the love of his life. They live on a farm near Blanchard, Michigan (pop. 200), with Jonathan Heath (1984), Adrienne Heath (1988), a dog, two horses, two cats, and others.