The HSW Literary Agency



L.A. Morse

L. A. Morse grew up in Los Angeles. He attended the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco State College, and somehow managed to get two degrees in English Lit. He moved to Toronto in the late ‘60s, and has had the usual variety of jobs, including a brief stint in educational television and five years as an administrator at the University of Toronto. Upon returning from extended travels through Southeast Asia, he decided to try and write a novel – something delicate and sensitive and artistic. He discovered just what he was looking for in the true story of Sawney Beane and his family, The Flesh Eaters, the 15th century cannibal clan who ate their way through a good part of Scotland.

L. A. Morse has written four other crime novels. The Old Dick won an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America; The Big Enchilada and Sleaze, featuring Sam Hunter, the L. A. private eye who, according to one reviewer, “makes Dirty Harry look like Mother Teresa”; and he was instrumental in arranging the publication of An Old-Fashioned Mystery, the lost masterpiece by the enigmatic and reclusive author, Runa Fairleigh. He shifted to another medium with the publication of Video Trash and Treasures, a two-volume guide to the obscure and bizarre movies of the 1980s.

For the last 15 years, L. A. Morse has worked as a visual artist, primarily sculpture. He is an avid birder with over 1,500 species on his world list. When not off looking for birds in the tropics, he currently divides his time between stone carving and making a living in the stock market.

Now available as e-books.
click bookcover below to go to
The Old Dick The Big Enchilada Sleaze
The Flesh Eaters An Old Fashioned Mystery  
Work on Offer:


“...RCT causes those afflicted to partially mutate or morph into other members of the animal kingdom...”

Set “a few years from now”, Ozzie Xeno is a futuristic-fantasy-comedy-action-adventure-mystery-thriller that takes place in a Los Angeles that has gotten very strange. Southern California has been quarantined off from the rest of the world following the determination that the area was the locus for RCT—Retrograde Chromosonal Transformation—a condition of unknown origin and transmission which causes those afflicted to partially mutate or morph into other members of the animal kingdom (thereby acquiring snouts, antlers, tails, beaks, fur, tentacles and other socially unacceptable appendages).

Ozzie Xeno has a distinctive narrative voice—lively, profane, ironic and frequently funny. The title character is a young, brash, abrasive videographer working for a very trashy TV station that aims considerably below the lowest common denominator. Against his wishes, he’s given an assignment to investigate “some weird shit in the Empty Zone”. He does, indeed, find that something strange is going on, leading him on an odyssey into the realm of the mutants, and eventually discovering a plot that not only threatens the lives of millions but also the future of the planet. Along the way, Ozzie Xeno finds an utterly unexpected world, rediscovers his passion, develops important relationships and wrecks a lot of expensive equipment.

Manuscript available
Rights: World

Praise for An Old-Fashioned Mystery, by Runa Fairleigh, with an introduction by L. A. Morse:

“An Old-Fashioned Mystery falls into none of the existing mystery categories. It is a unique and remarkable book that breaks most of the old rules and explores entirely new ground… The plot is compelling, simple and, as it turns out, completely deceptive. After a few pages the reader will “know” that a Christie classic is the basis for the book and, as the situation unfolds, will be amused and amazed by its simplicity…. Despite the outrageous liberties Morse takes with the conventional form of the detective story, the overall result is entirely satisfying. The book will undoubtedly become a classic in the field and should appeal to all mystery readers from the tentative tyro to the seasoned veteran.”
—Quill & Quire, March 1984

“Isolation, intrigue, strange characters, an escaped killer, violence, bloodshed, murder, even an ancient curse…” are the ingredients used to keep readers turning the pages… A sense of apprehension permeates the novel from beginning to end… The result is a mystery that will rank with Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and E. C. Bentley’s Trent’s Last Case (1913).”
—Literature & Language, 1984

Praise for The Big Enchilada:

“Next to Sam Hunter, Dirty Harry looks like Mother Teresa. The Big Enchilada requires a body count, rather than a review…Either the best West Coast detective novel in years—or the best West Coast detective novel parody in years. Either way, it’s great stuff.”
New York Daily News

“…Highly spiced food, casual sex and neat gin…The story is carefully plotted, well told and both enthralls and entertains…Morse may become a considerable force in the “tough detective” game.”
Quill & Quire

“There is sex and/or violence on every 10th page, but it’s all a romp…In a genre that is already a parody of machismo, Morse has done the near impossible. He has created a parody of the parodies.”

“Hunter may speak to the violence in us all, but I’d cross the street to avoid speaking to him.”
Los Angeles Times

The Big Enchilada is a violent book. Morse’s descriptions of Hunter’s excursions into bone-breaking and face-crumpling are frequent and explicit—so, for that matter, are his descriptions of Sam’s sexual exploits—but it’s done with tongue deep in cheek. Morse has written a book that is at once in the genre of the old-fashioned pulp magazine detective yarns and a send-up of the genre…and it works on both levels…One tough hombre.”
Toronto Star