Bruno Johnson thriller (#10, Feb 2023),

BUY AT your favorite local bookstore, like: Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, CA and Book Carnival – Orange, CA (see “Upcoming Events” menu for local bookstore signings), Mystery Ink – Huntington Beach

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Ex-cop, ex-con Bruno Johnson stumbles into a criminal organization that exploits women and children—he must fight his way out and home

Bruno Johnson is hiding out from the U.S. law in Costa Rica with his pregnant wife, Marie, and the ten kids they rescued from toxic homes in South Central Los Angeles. When Marie encounters a difficult labor and delivery, their good friend Dr. Vargas rescues both her and Bruno’s infant son. So Bruno feels indebted when asked to escort his daughter Layla, a college student in Los Angeles, back home to Costa Rica.

When Bruno arrives in Los Angeles, he finds the problem with Layla is complicated and dire. Layla has fallen in with Johnny, the leader of a vast and notorious criminal empire that exploits women and children. She says she’s had his child and that he has taken the baby.

Bruno enlists the help of his old friend Karl Drago—and his dog, Waldo—to aid in his search for Layla’s baby—a baby her parents disavow. Bruno soon discovers things aren’t as they appear, but he will stop at nothing to save the innocent baby and return to his family and newborn son in Costa Rica—providing he can evade capture while on U.S. soil.

Perfect for fans of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci

Bruno Johnson thriller (#9, Feb 2022),

BUY AT your favorite local bookstore, like: Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, CA and Book Carnival – Orange, CA (see “Upcoming Events” menu for local bookstore signings), Mystery Ink – Huntington Beach

Or the usual: Available At Available At Available At
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Bruno Johnson, shaken to his core, but still a formidable force—unrelenting when it comes to saving a child

Ex-cop, ex-con Bruno Johnson and his wife Marie hide in plain sight from the law in an upscale L.A. hotel as Bruno heals from a run-in with a brutal outlaw motorcycle gang—and the loss of his son—a son he didn’t know he had until it was too late.

Marie, now pregnant with her first child, fears Bruno may never fully recover. She knows that soon they must return to Costa Rica to rejoin their large family of rescued children—kids who owe their lives to Bruno and Marie’s intervention.

But when Bruno’s friend, FBI Deputy Director, Dan Chulack, pleads with Bruno to help rescue his kidnapped granddaughter, escape plans are put on hold. After exhausting all legitimate investigative avenues, Chulack seeks Bruno’s brand of justice. With Marie’s reluctant consent and her own special expertise, they plunge into the evil world of those who prey on children.

Meanwhile, Bruno’s mother, a woman he has never known, appears asking for forgiveness—and Bruno’s assistance—while bringing her own set of complications. Bruno finds his professional and his personal lives colliding in a pursuit that is excruciating and brutal.

The Sinister is perfect for fans of Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke

Bruno Johnson thriller (#8, Feb 2021),

Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, CA and Book Carnival – Orange, CA


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Bruno Johnson, shaken to his core, but still a formidable force—an unrelenting focus on doing the right thing—unwilling to let anyone or anything stand in his way

Pushed to his emotional limit, Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Bruno Johnson struggles to hold his family together while immersed in his unrelenting career. His daughter, Olivia, is a teen mom to twin toddlers; her common-law husband, Derek Sams, is a thug; and one of their little boys has disappeared under his care.

The overwhelming intensity demanded of Bruno on this personal level is compounded by the brutal shotgun murder of a superior court judge and his wife, both friends of his. Bruno cannot ignore these violent crimes even though he’s supposedly off the law enforcement grid—undercover—working an illegal gun sting.

Tragedy strikes Bruno’s life on all fronts: family, friends, and professional—however, none of these colossal forces can match the unthinkable catastrophe that will forever dominate Bruno’s life.

Perfect for fans of Robert Crais and Michael Connelly

Bruno Johnson thriller (#7, Feb 2020),

BUY AT: Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, CA and Book Carnival – Orange, CA (see “Upcoming Events” menu for local bookstore signings)…

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Former LA County Deputy Bruno Johnson is now a bailiff in the courts having stepped down from his role on the Violent Crimes Team to spend more time with his daughter, Olivia. Bruno fears his job decision may have come too late when he gets a frantic call to extricate Olivia from a gunpoint situation in a LA gang-infested neighborhood. His desperation escalates when he realizes Louis Barkow, a stone-cold killer awaiting trial, had orchestrated that deadly tableau. When Barkow and three other criminals break out of jail and hit the streets, Bruno is plunged back into violent crime mode. Now, the agenda is personal—Olivia has become a pawn in the desperate chase of this sinister murderer. The walls are caving in on Bruno as violence escalates in his hunt for Barkow and his heart strings are stretched to the breaking point as he struggles to protect his daughter not only from the criminal violence swirling around them, but from Olivia’s own impetuous life choices.

“David Putnam’s The Heartless is terrific–a smart, well-written, relentless account of a battle against evil, fought by a protagonist who has a real man’s flaws, but also shows us the kind of heroism that’s real.” —Thomas Perry, New York Times best-selling author

“David Putnam knows the mean streets and the characters who inhabit them better than anyone writing crime fiction. In The Heartless, Putnam is at the top of his game. Fans of Bruno Johnson will rejoice at this latest offering.” —Allan Russell, bestselling author of Burning Man

“With its incredible action, great characters, and engrossing, timeless story, [The Heartless is] a fast-moving page turner that sizzles toward its fulfilling end.” Foreword Reviews

“[The Heartless is a] cop-novel story of kidnapping and murder, told with Putnam’s usual high energy and a knack for description that makes words bloom on the page.” Booklist

“David Putnam’s The Heartless is full of suspense, sharp dialogue, and a father’s desperate love for his daughter. There’s also a great plot line. Welcome back, David Putnam. I look forward to Bruno’s next escapade.” BookLoons

“Putnam’s action-packed seventh Bruno Johnson mystery [The Heartless] hits the ground running. Those who like straightforward crime novels in which the good guys prevail and the bad guys get what’s coming to them will be satisfied. Publishers Weekly

Bruno Johnson thriller (#6, Feb 2019),

BUY AT: Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, CA and Book Carnival – Orange, CA (see “Upcoming Events” menu for local bookstore signings).

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“This is police procedural that dazzles with authenticity, sharply-drawn characters, crackling dialogue, and insider details that only a real cop could bring to the page. Putnam can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Joseph Wambaugh and Michael Connelly.”―Lee Goldberg, New York Times best-selling author

“David Putnam scores again with The Reckless, his new prequel thriller featuring major crimes detective Bruno Johnson. Starting fast and keeping the accelerator floored, Putnam deftly keeps readers―and Bruno―on the edge with clever twists and intense action scenes. Loaded with insider details on police procedure and tactics, The Reckless will make crime-fiction fans eager to read more of Bruno’s past adventures.”―Glen Hamilton, Anthony and Edgar Award-winning author

“Reading a novel by David Putnam is almost as good as riding shotgun in a patrol car. He writes what he knows and what he knows is that justice on the mean streets isn’t always black and white. Gritty and dark, The Reckless is a realistic and highly entertaining police procedural.”―Robin Burcell, New York Times best-selling author

“The procedural generates considerable heat, told in Putnam’s effectively plainspoken style―Wambaugh without grace notes . . . it boils with a yearning for vengeance.”―Booklist

“As the pace picks up, the plot takes some startling twists. Putnam, a retired cop, uses his long experience in law enforcement to good effect. . .”―Publishers Weekly


Bruno Johnson thriller (#5, Feb 2018),



The Innocents is a terrific read reminiscent of the best of Joseph Wambaugh. David Putnam provides an insider’s knowledge of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. His characters and settings are rich and authentic, and his dialogue is spot on accurate. A great novel for lovers of the mystery genre that blurs the line between good and evil and will keep you guessing until the final pages.” —Robert Dugoni, New York Times best-selling author

The Innocents tells a story so fast and so taut it never touches the ground, and the people stay with you long after you put it down. David Putnam is one of the few writers who can bear comparison to Joseph Wambaugh.” —Timothy Hallinan, Edgar, Shamus, Macavity, and Lefty Award nominee

“The scenes feel authentic and tense thanks to Putnam’s decades of law enforcement experience. Great reading for crime-fiction fans.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Putnam’s knack for creating powerfully cathartic action scenes provides just what we need after spending time in a world that’s like a ‘40s movie, where everybody’s a rat fink. Except Bruno Johnson.” ―Booklist



Bruno Johnson thriller (#4, Feb 2017),


“Bruno Johnson believes so passionately in justice that he’ll lie, cheat, and steal to achieve it―and he’ll pulverize anybody who gets in his way.” ―Booklist

“Dave Putnam is the real deal. He gives us an insiders view of what it s like to be a cop the grit, the intense camaraderie, the futile nature of the job and most important, what one good and selfless soul can accomplish. He even managed to make me miss ratty old Dodge Diplomat patrol car. THE VANQUISHED takes you on to the mean streets so you feel like you re there with Bruno, fighting and grieving alongside him. The most real cop book I’ve read in ages. Good old authentic storytelling from someone who s been there and done that.”

―Marc Cameron, New York Times best-selling author

THE SQUANDERED – 2016 release

Bruno Johnson thriller, The Replacements


“[In] Putnam’s gripping third Bruno Johnson novel… a hero and heroine whose banter and obvious affection for each other provide some welcome levity amid some very dark deeds. …so well crafted, readers will zip right through this poignant crime thriller.”

– Publisher’s Weekly

“…characters with both quirks and heart …Read him for the thrill ride, but you will find yourself dwelling on the moral questions he raises long after you’re done.

Caution: this series could be addicting.

– Michael Sears, Shamus and Silver Falchion award-winning author of Long Way Down


REVIEWS of The Replacements

Publishers Weekly 

“Putnam’s thrilling sequel to 2014’s The Disposables finds Bruno Johnson, a former L.A. sheriff’s cop, settled in Costa Rica with his wife, Marie, and the eight abused children they rescued and took (illegally) from the U.S. Early in his career, Johnson intervened in a violent domestic case and managed to save the life of five-year-old Jonas Mabry.

“Now an adult, Jonas has kidnapped two young girls and will deal only with Johnson. Johnson is unable to resist the appeal of Montclair, Calif., police chief Barbra Wicks, and returns to California to track down Jonas. Jonas proves to be a diabolically clever opponent as he runs circles around Johnson, leading him down one blind alley after another and forcing him to make desperate moves.

“Putnam steadily ratchets up the tension, while memorable supporting characters, like the courageous Marie, help engage reader interest.”


REVIEWS of The Disposables

Michael Connelly

“I really loved The Disposables. It’s raw, powerful and eloquent. It’s a gritty street poem recited by a voice unalterably committed to redemption and doing the right thing in a wrong world. I’ll be first in line for the next one from David Putnam.”

T. Jefferson Parker


“What do you get when you give a veteran sheriff’s deputy a talent for storytelling and a computer?  In this case you get David Putnam’s ‘The Disposables,’ a dark and disturbing insider’s novel that may not make you feel safer on the mean streets of L.A. Dark, disturbing and all too believable, this is the tale of one man’s quest for atonement in a world where innocence is a liability.


Douglas Corleone


“The Disposables is an intelligent and deftly paced crime novel with characters who will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”

William Bernhardt

Author of the legal thriller series featuring Ben Kincaid

“Dave Putnam’s novel, The Disposables, is a high-octane thrill ride that won’t let you catch your breath, much less put down the book. Bruno Johnson is both tough-as-nails and soft-as-butter, running an underground railroad for abused children and facing obstacles that will make your hair stand on end.  This is the best debut novel I’ve read in years.”

Camille Minichino

Author of the periodical chart mysteries featuring Gloria Lamerino (also mystery pen names Margaret Grace, Ada Madison)

“A guy on the wrong side of 40, an ex-cop, and an ex-con on the run, Bruno Johnson is an unexpected hero. In ‘The Disposables,’ Putnam slams Bruno down in front of us as the doctrine of the steamy streets of L.A. plays out with surprising twists and turns. The smooth, fast pace takes us on an adventure that keeps us guessing about just who is doing the right thing—the guy on the lam or the ones chasing him.”


“This novel gives off heat.  … [with] unique and startling plot twists. But what really recommends the book is the high octane presentation. … [and] the sense of urgency and authenticity, the feeling that this is the real deal, set down by somebody who was there and still hasn’t gotten over it. The SWAT-like assault on the crime house is an impressive set piece.”

Publishers Weekly:

“Putnam’s first novel, a fast-paced tale of idealism and corruption, stars paroled ex-con Bruno Johnson, once a legendary member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s elite Violent Crimes Team, who fears that it’s only a matter of time before his former colleagues turn on him… [Putnam] wields his archetypes with skill and a sincerity born of long experience in law enforcement.”

Library Journal:

Formerly with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and now an ex-con on parole, Bruno Johnson works outside the legal system to save children abandoned by an overburdened foster care system. With vigilante fervor, the African American Bruno rescues kids (“the disposables”) with covert assistance from his dad and his girlfriend, a physician’s assistant.

In the midst of this grim scenario, things get worse–a serial killer is out on the streets torching random victims. Bruno gets involved, and it’s then that he realizes that he has seriously misjudged some of the folks he trusts. Unlikely allies emerge, and fortunately, Bruno is smart enough to recognize the shift. He may not have enough time to save those he loves the most though.

VERDICT: Nonstop action keeps the pages turning at a furious pace in this debut ripped-from-the-headlines thriller showcasing the darker side of LA County’s law enforcement. The positive Robin Hood hero contrasts with the drug culture; surprisingly mild language and most violence off-page will broaden the appeal. Think T. Jefferson Parker (Charlie Hood series) or Andrew Vachss. Putnam’s police background adds to the authenticity.

14 thoughts on “Bruno Johnson Thrillers

  1. It’s 1 AM and I just finished David’s book! I NEVER stay up this late – but could not close eyes or Kindle. When the plot revved up and began to leave bugs on my eyeballs, I rode that bronco to the finish line and the great ending – Now I’m mad it’s over and sad there’s not more Bruno. Get ‘er done. Fella!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Disposables was amazing! I rarely read novels, but this got me completely hooked… I cannot wait for the Replacements!


  3. Hey David – I just finished reading “The Replacements”. A great story well told! Thank you! Michael McCann


    1. Thanks for the kind words! If you have an amazon account, reviews are always helpful on there too. Thanks again for the message. Look for the 3rd Bruno book out in January.


  4. Hi David. You gave me an ARC of The Replacements at Bouchercon and I loved it, just like The Disposables. You will be at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale this Saturday, but they don’t have any hard cover first printings of it (only 2nd printings). Any chance that you could bring one with you that we could buy for our collection? I can’t be there, but my husband John is looking forward to seeing you again. Many thanks.


    1. Hi Pam, I’m pretty sure we do, will bring what we have, glad you liked it. Sorry you can’t come, I hope you’ll send all your book-loving friends! -Mary and Dave


  5. Hi Dave,
    I’m back from China and John said he really enjoyed visiting with you and Mary at the Poisoned Pen. Thank you very much for the first printing hardcover of The Replacements. I greatly appreciate it! Hopefully you saw the book review post on Amazon. We’ll look forward to seeing both of you at Bouchercon. All the best!


  6. I bought The Replacements last Sunday at the Wetumpka Library fund raiser after meeting Mr. Putnam. My husband grabbed it and has hardly put it down since. Every time he does he says “good book”!


    1. Thanks Catherine, I’m glad he’s enjoying it. Please tell your friends and if you have an amazon account, a short review (like what you just wrote) helps a lot. Thanks again for the kind words and the warm Alabama welcome. BTW all the Bruno eBooks are on sale this week only!


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