Kennealy, Jerry 1938- (Paul Boray, James Brant)

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Kennealy, Jerry 1938- (Paul Boray, James Brant)


Born May 27, 1938, in San Francisco, CA; son of Frank (a sporting-goods dealer) and Agnes (an insurance adjuster) Kennealy; married Shirley Lopez (a career counselor); children: Frank, Steven. Politics: "Lifetime subscriber to National Review." Religion: Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Golf, photography, hiking, raising Airedales.


Home—San Bruno, CA. Agent—Dominick Abel, 146 W. 82nd St., #1B, New York, NY 10024.


San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco, CA, police officer, 1961-65; private investigator in California, 1965-93.


Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America (vice-president, 1993—), American Crime Writers League.


Best mystery, Peninsula magazine, 1991, for Polo's Ponies.



Polo Solo, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Polo, Anyone?, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Polo's Ponies, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Polo in the Rough, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Polo's Wild Card, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Green with Envy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Special Delivery, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Vintage Polo, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Beggar's Choice, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

All That Glitters, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.


Nobody Wins, Manor Books, 1977.

The Conductor, Headline (London, England), 1995.

The Forger, Headline (London, England), 1996.

The Suspect, Onyx (New York, NY), 1998.

The Hunted, Signet (New York, NY), 1999.

The Other Eye, New American Library (New York, NY), 2000.

(Under pseudonym Paul Boray) Cashing Out, Onyx (New York, NY), 2002.

(Under pseudonym James Brant) The Vatican Connection, Onyx (New York, NY), 2003.

(Under pseudonym James Brant) Chasing the Devil, Onyx (New York, NY), 2004.

Jigsaw, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.

Still Shot, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2008.

Kennealy's works have been translated into Italian, German, and Hungarian.


Jerry Kennealy is a former police officer and private investigator who is known to readers for his mystery novels featuring protagonist Nick Polo. Kennealy introduced Polo in Polo Solo, in which the hero, who is serving a prison term for theft, is approached by San Francisco politicos and offered both his freedom and his private-investigator's license. In return, Polo must uncover blackmailers threatening to expose the city's female mayor by disclosing sexually incriminating photographs. The search for the unsavory blackmailers, who involved the mayor in their pornographic enterprise after attacking and drugging her into submission, takes Polo into various locales in the city.

In 1988, Kennealy followed Polo Solo with Polo Anyone? This time the hero finds himself immersed in mayhem and intrigue after investigating what initially appeared to be little more than a series of unfriendly card games conducted among deceitful bankers. Polo manages to win a substantial sum as part of his investigation, whereupon he becomes a likely target for murder. In another mystery, Polo in the Rough, the hero obtains work as a bodyguard. But his employer, a writer whose works include controversial examinations of both President Kennedy's assassination and federal corruption, is killed when his private plane explodes. Polo then vies with police and government agents in an attempt to recover his late employer's last manuscript.

Among subsequent Nick Polo mysteries is Green with Envy, in which the plucky private investigator runs afoul of Colombian jewel smugglers while investigating the untimely demise of a colleague. Beggar's Choice, the ninth installment in the Nick Polo series, opens with San Francisco street person Scratchy asking Polo to trace three license plates belonging to some particularly generous individuals. The skeptical Polo complies, since he knows Scratchy from the soup kitchen where he volunteers. Before he can provide the information, however, Scratchy is killed in a hit-and-run incident. When he investigates, Polo finds that the supposedly destitute Scratchy left behind a great deal of cash and a high-quality fake Rolex. Soon, he has located three suspects—a highly placed member of the city's board of surveyors, a prominent Chinatown mobster, and a former CIA agent he knew during his tenure as a police officer. He ties the three together in a smuggling scheme, putting Polo in danger. When harm comes to the kindly Mrs. Damonte, Polo's tenant and surrogate grandmother, the case becomes personal. Kennealy "keeps a firm grip on his readers with a smart pace and a light, intelligent tone," commented a Publishers Weekly critic. Booklist reviewer Wes Lukowsky described the book as "well written, plausible," and, with the presence of Mrs. Damonte, a story featuring "one of the most enjoyable supporting characters in the genre."

A Russian antiquities dealer hires Polo in All That Glitters to search for a valuable amulet once worn by legendary conqueror Genghis Khan. As he tails a mysterious woman who is said to possess the amulet, Polo finds himself followed by Tim Dashuk, a young investigator who volunteered to help him search for the Khan's jewelry. When Dashuk is murdered, Polo finds himself embroiled in the remnants of the man's life, while also dealing with unscrupulous antiques dealers, an escort agency specializing in women from the former Soviet Union, incompetent government investigators, and an ongoing attempts at matchmaking by the well-meaning Mrs. Damonte. "As always, Kennealy delivers hard-boiled excitement nicely dressed with humor and style," Lukowsky remarked in another Booklist review.

Kennealy is also the author of several standalone thrillers outside the Nick Polo series. In The Conductor, the title character is an international terrorist who has undergone extensive plastic surgery to alter his appearance in order to hide from Mossad. Finally captured by Russian agents, the Conductor is forced into a scheme to kidnap a wealthy American who is about to finalize a successful bid to acquire Russian oil. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book a "perfectly enjoyable action-filled summer read."

The Suspect sets protagonist Robert Duran, a private investigator specializing in finding lost and stolen artwork, on the trail of an immensely valuable stolen painting by Vincent van Gogh. Duran's wife, noted painter Anona, was once married to the villainous Jason Lark, the father of her two children. Robert and Anona's lives descend into turmoil when Lark resurfaces and appears to be the cause of considerable trouble. A fire in Anona's studio and an attack on Robert are bad enough, but the danger and tension intensify when Anona is kidnapped by a determined and vengeful killer. "Kennealy endows a standard thriller plot with exceptional characterization" throughout the novel, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Kennealy once told CA: "Since I've been a licensed private investigator for some twenty-five years, I try to inject into the Nick Polo novels some of the actual techniques a so-called ‘real-life private eye’ performs. But part of the fun in writing the books is that Polo gets to do all those illegal things that I shy away from, like tapping phones, using ‘police contacts’ to get confidential reports, and breaking into places by slipping locks with a credit card (don't try it—the cards have been known to snap in two, leaving either your card number or name in the door jamb).

"If you are a male and write a first-person private-eye novel, you are automatically lumped into the hardboiled genre. Certainly the dean of private-eye writers, Raymond Chandler, was an early inspiration to me. But I like to think that Polo is actually al dente, with humor taking the place of the trench coat and the .45 automatic."



Booklist, November 1, 1992, Wes Lukowsky, review of Special Delivery, p. 492; November 1, 1993, Wes Lukowsky, review of Vintage Polo, p. 504; November 15, 1994, Wes Lukowsky, review of Beggar's Choice, p. 581; December 15, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of All That Glitters, p. 712.

Drood Review of Mystery, July, 2000, review of The Other Eye, p. 18.

New York Times Book Review, August 16, 1987, Newgate Callendar, review of Polo Solo, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, September 30, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Polo's Ponies, p. 52; June 1, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Polo's Wild Card, p. 50; October 12, 1992, review of Special Delivery, p. 67; October 18, 1993, review of Vintage Polo, p. 66; November 7, 1994, review of Beggar's Choice, p. 68; July 1, 1996, review of The Conductor, p. 58; November 18, 1996, review of All That Glitters, p. 65; January 5, 1998, review of The Suspect, p. 65; June 21, 1999, review of The Hunted, p. 64.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), November 27, 1988, review of Polo's Ponies, p. 6.

Washington Post Book World, September 20, 1987, review of Polo Solo, p. 12.


Mystery Reader, (October 1, 2007), Lesley Dunlap, review of The Other Eye.

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Kennealy, Jerry 1938- (Paul Boray, James Brant)

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