Book cover of Soft-Boiled by Stephen J. West


By Stephen J. West


More Praise for Soft-Boiled:

“Like an exquisite film noir, Stephen J. West’s Soft-Boiled defies expectations in the best of ways. What begins as the story of a wannabe Watson chronicling a real-life, Appalachian Sherlock Holmes turns into a perplexing mystery of a more personal kind, as the author investigates how a thoughtful, sensitive man can be a better father, partner, artist, and human being. This beguiling hybrid of a book had me entranced from start to finish, and left me pondering not just the stories we tell ourselves about what it means to be a man in America, but the art of storytelling itself.”


— Brian Gresko, editor of When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood


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, author of Detransition, Baby


“In tackling a subject as ever-present and fraught as masculinity, it’s easy for writers to retreat to the two poles of the conversation: romance or ridicule. All the more remarkable, then, that Stephen J. West dances around that trap, with prose that is wry and funny and skeptical, but also deeply heartfelt and true. 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, author of Lord Fear


“In Soft-Boiled, Stephen J. West cracks open American masculinity with abandon. On stakeouts and changing diapers, West leaves no stone unturned, examining sociology, detective fiction, his own changing life, and a boulder of a man named Frank Streets, the West Virginia private investigator who might not be just what he seems. Soft-Boiled is hilarious and heartfelt, unflinching and meticulous. This book will make you rethink what it means to be a man and to be an artist in the ever-changing landscape of America.”


— Jeremy B. Jones, author of Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland


ISBN 978-0-9827838-6-3

(December 2021)

Advance copies for sale soon from publisher, to be shipped after July 5, 2022.