Robert J. Ray

Author    Teacher    Dangerous Thinker

“Robert Ray is a gifted writer and the Matt Murdock series displays all his many talents. The prose is crisp, the characters vivid and the plot captivating. Read him now! Matt Murdock is part Jack Reacher, part Dave Robicheux. Fans of Lee Child and James Lee Burke will love Murdock Tackles Taos. A brilliant murder mystery with a splash of romance. The Matt Murdock series is one of my guilty pleasures!”

Robert DugoniNew York Times bestselling author

“I must admit to thoroughly enjoying this mystery thriller featuring Matt Murdock who was hired to find and return the daughter of a friend who went missing from an art colony in Taos, New Mexico. What a mesmerizing read this turned out to be! Strong characters, thrilling adventure, psychological deviancy, (is that a word?), strong, well thought out plot and storyline … an absolutely intriguing read!”

Beth Art From the Heart Blog

“He’s not a suave, sophisticated James Bond. He’s not a disheveled, bumbling Colombo either. He’s real. He’s kind. He’s somebody to share a good adventure with. Helene Steinbeck, retired town marshal turned successful author, is Murdock’s new sidekick and lover. She makes me just a tiny bit jealous. Robert Ray’s novel tossed me back and forth between the feel of a summer read and a study in human nature—either way Murdock Tackles Taos is a read you won’t want to miss.”

Arleen Williams, author of The Thirty-Ninth Victim

5 Stars: “A plot that is filled with action, mystery and suspense. This is the first book I have read in the ‘A Matt Murdock Mystery Series’ and was totally engrossed throughout the whole book. Between the author’s strong, believable, and well developed characters, and the many twists and turns within the story line, I was kept at the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. Highly recommended for all crime, murder mystery fans.”

Susan Peck, My Cozie Corner

“In Murdock Tackles Taos, Robert Ray takes risks that every good novelist has to take in order to push the limits of the genre without leaving his readers behind. As with all of Ray’s books, this one is so well written it’s a pleasure just to say the words. When Ray brings Helene Steinbeck, his second sleuth, on stage he drags Murdock into the 21st Century with a bang …. In this book, the rich eat the poor. Steinbeck and Murdock set things right.”

Jack Remick, author of Blood, Gabriela and the Widow and The California Quartet series

“Fast paced, with many twists and turns, told in three alternating points of view, mostly Helen’s and Murdock’s, and a few from the villain’s making it extra interesting. All characters are developed and well-rounded. The society of Taos the author created is beautifully described—picture perfect—including an eccentric group of people taking an obscure place in it all…. An action-packed, fast-paced read with a surprise ending that will stay with you for a while. Definitely worthwhile to take on holiday!” Read more ….

—Fenny, Hotchpotch Blog

“This eagerly-anticipated installment in Bob Ray’s Murdock P.I. series sizzles with fast-paced action and heats up the high desert nights with steamy chemistry between Murdock and his partner in crime-solving, the multi-talented novelist/ex-cop Helene Steinbeck. The suspicious disappearance of an Army buddy’s daughter from an artist’s colony brings Murdock to the Southwest, where he learns that here, bow hunting is not confined to wild game… Action-packed and brimming with memorable characters…”

Kerri Hakoda, co-author with Becky Warden, The Currency Mysteries

“I absolutely loved this book. To me it had a different feel to it than some others of the same genre. It was faster paced than most, and told three different perspectives on the story. Helene’s, Murdock’s, and a third whose identity you will have to find out for yourself. I give this a GIGANTIC 5 out of 5. Recommended for people who love the thrill of the chase, and the feeling of catching the bad guy in the act.”

The Weekend Novelist

Robert Ray is also the author of a popular non-fiction series on writing, The Weekend Novelist and he shares writing techniques on writing on his blog co-authored with long time writing partner, Jack Remick. Ray is a native of Texas and holds a PhD from the University of Texas, Austin. Tuesdays and Fridays, he and Jack write at Louisa’s Bakery and Café in Seattle.

The Weekend Novelist

The first volume—how to write your novel in 52 weekends—stayed on shelves for seven years. It focused on character and scene, back story and dream-work, action and dialogue. When it went out of print, the publisher asked for a revised version.

The Weekend Novelist, Revised and Updated: The second volume focused on plot and structure. Lots of tactics, lots of diagrams. There’s a British version and an e-book.

Buy: The Weekend Novelist

The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery

Co-authored by my buddy Jack Remick, the mystery book opens with the Killer, then glides to the victim and the catalyst (the character who makes things go, a good example is Sydney Greenstreet in the Maltese Falcon), and then turns you loose on your sleuth, or your alter ego, which is where most mysteries go bad.

Buy: The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery

The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel

The novel is a story told with one plot and at least two subplots. The plot follows the protagonist—Jane Eyre at Thornfield Hall—and the subplots track the other main characters: Mr. Rochester, Jane’s boss, has subplot one. Bertha Mason, Rochester’s secret wife, has subplot two.

To strengthen the novel, you rewrite each subplot. This book takes you by the hand, or the scruff of the neck. This book leads you to greatness in novel writing.

Buy: The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Work

Matt Murdock

Murder Mystery Series

Bloody Murdock
Bloody Murdock

Laguna Beach, midnight, a pretty starlet burns up on Highway One. The starlet was last seen rubbing shoulders with high society at a bloody cockfight in Upper Laguna. Enter Matt Murdock, Private Eye, to exact revenge.

Bloody Murdock – Book 1

Murdock For Hire
Murdock for Hire

His party-boy name tag says Mr. Brown. Her escort number says 18. She has red hair and wears buccaneer boots. He dies in bed, his wife calls for Murdock, who rips off masks of hookers and johns only to find love holding hands with death.

Murdock for Hire – Book 2

Dial M for Murdock
Dial M for Murdock

A smart-mouth Newport Beach money-guy fakes his own death. The guy’s widow phones for help and Murdock rides to the rescue. The widow is needy, she snatches away Murdock’s heart, and then the husband re-surfaces, pissing off the wife—she liked him better dead—so what about honor and loyalty now, Mr. Detective?

Dial “M” for Murdock – Book 3

Merry Christmas Murdock

A runaway teen witnesses a holiday hit-and-run. The teen’s mother wants answers, so she hires Murdock. Tracking the teen, Murdock uncovers drugs, a top family on Balboa Bay, and a Mafia connection dating back to cigarette boats and car chases and the best of film noir.
Merry Christmas, Murdock – Book 4

Murdock Cracks Ice
Murdock Cracks Ice

A dead college boy chemist. A retro Mr. Big kingpin. A beautiful Lakota Sioux artist. Mix with a street drug called Ice and toss the whole package to the capable hands of Matt Murdock, P.I. who travels north to set things right in Seattle.

Murdock Cracks Ice – Book 5

Murdock Tackles Taos
Murdock Tackles Taos While hunting a missing girl in New Mexico, Murdock collides with Helene Steinbeck, an ex-cop turned writer. She’s beautiful and she can shoot.  When the bad guys come for Murdock Helene rides to the rescue. You will enjoy this woman. She’s smart, she’s sexy and funny—the answer for Murdock in his later years.

Murdock Tackles Taos – Book 6

New! Murdock Rocks Sedona

Rich guys keep falling. Rich guys keep dying. The killer has names on a list. The last guy on the list, a Private Equity billionaire, hires Murdock and Helene to stop the killer. When they probe the past, our duo unleash the hounds of Hell.

Murdock Rocks Sedona – Book 7

Work in Progress

Timely Dystopian Romance

A Colonel in a secret female army recruits an Altar Boy to assassinate the next candidate for the Kingship of Arpp, so that these brave, militant women can seat the Rightful Queen on the throne. Only she can prevent the next cataclysm. Meanwhile, the lonely, spinsterish Colonel digs mightily the loins of the Altar Boy. She is mid-thirties, he is a virginal sixteen. But the Colonel is a time-traveler with her fingers into a covey of clocks—her brazen skin has known the torque of time—and if she can align their respective captive temporalities with finesse, love will conquer all, even in the occult bosom of dystopia.

Robert Ray Interview by Elena Hartwell/Arc of a Writer

…Murdock did not change. If he got shot, he healed fast. If he fell in love, he got over it in the next book. He was the Eye of Private Eye. In another kind of book, your main character could change by growing up, that’s a Coming of Age story. Or your character could get rich by marrying a prince, that’s a Rags to Riches-Cinderella tale. Or your character can unseat a king and take his place—that’s King Replacement.

But the core story for Murdock is always Revenge Quest…

Robert Ray Interview by Roxana Arama/Rewriting History

“…I took a six-week class at Richard Hugo House in Seattle called Rewriting the Manuscript. The instructor drew diagrams on the whiteboard, asked us to circle our strong verbs and concrete nouns in colored ink, and took notes while we enacted scenes from each other’s novels in class. Then he showed us how to improve those scenes. I had been looking for that kind of guidance and support for years…”

Robert Ray Character Interview at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - Virtual Blog Tour

“The scene is the Apache Junction Racquet Club in Taos, New Mexico. Theo Ulster, the tennis pro, has just invited Sleuth Matt Murdock for a drink. These two have been sparring since they met a couple days ago. The interview follows Murdock’s strategy—to get under Theo’s skin. At this point in the story, the reader doesn’t know what to expect from Theo. Here’s the interview…” 

Bob and Jack's Writing Blog

In our writing classes – nights, weekends, year-long courses, writer’s conferences – we encounter hungry writers. Everyday people dying to write. Starving people. People who love telling stories and who love hearing stories. In a matter of minutes, we get these hungry people writing. There is no lecture. We don’t talk much about being a writer. To be a writer, you sit down and write.