Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Every Man a Menace

A Novel

by Patrick Hoffman

From a CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award finalist comes a vital, edgy new novel centered on a massive shipment of ecstasy and the group of ex-cons, scam artists, nightclub owners, and dealers responsible for getting it from Burma to the Bay Area.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date October 17, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2724-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date October 04, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2544-6
  • Dimensions 5" x 5"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

Patrick Hoffman burst onto the crime fiction scene with The White Van, a captivating thriller set in the back streets of San Francisco. Hoffman returns with Every Man a Menace, the inside story of an increasingly ruthless ecstasy-smuggling ring.

San Francisco is about to receive the biggest delivery of MDMA to hit the West Coast in years. Raymond Gaspar, just out of prison, is sent to the city by his criminal boss—still locked up on the inside—to check in on the testy Filipina who buys the product and the increasingly erratic dealer expected to take care of distribution. In Miami, meanwhile, the man responsible for shipping the drugs from Southeast Asia to the Bay Area has just met the girl of his dreams–a woman who can’t seem to keep her story straight. And thousands of miles away, in Bangkok, someone farther up the supply chain, a former conscript of the Israeli army, is about to make a phone call that will put all their lives at risk.

Stretching from the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia to the Golden Gate of San Francisco, Every Man a Menace offers an unflinching account of the making, moving, and selling of the drug known as Molly—pure happiness sold by the brick, brought to market by bloodshed and betrayal.


“Criminal fools populate the drug-selling networks from San Francisco to Bangkok to Miami in Patrick Hoffman’s astonishing, violent novel . . . filled with sharply drawn characters . . . A mind-bending, attention-demanding narrative as full of shocks and surprises as an LSD party.” —Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

“Patrick Hoffman made an impressive debut last year with The White Van. This year, he proved that it was no fluke with an unpredictable successor. Every Man a Menace is a story of manipulative, paranoid, ambitious drug dealers from San Francisco to Miami to Bangkok. These far-from-usual suspects switch alliances and aliases as fast as they pursue double-crosses in a narrative whose sequences seem kaleidoscopic and whose prose—thanks to characters who ingest their own product—borders on the psychedelic.” —Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal, The Best Mysteries of 2016

Every Man a Menace is everything you could want in a thriller—lightning pace, dead-on dialogue, and a twisting, high-torque plot. But, most of all, this novel is smart and authentic, a welcome jolt at a time when so much fiction reads like it rolled off an assembly line.” —Carl Hiaasen

“Subtle characterization, tricky narrative switchbacks . . . vivid, moody prose . . . When Hoffman takes off his detecting hat, he’s closer to Denis Johnson than to Elmore Leonard.” —Lorin Stein, Paris Review Daily

“When chaos surrounds us in real life, even fictional chaos offers a much needed escape for the tired, despairing reader. And when you’re guided on a tour of dark doings and double dealings by the likes of Patrick Hoffman, the jolts are all the more electric and the windows into secret places resonate all the more . . . For plot, imagine a younger, edgier Elmore Leonard, a pinch of Pulp Fiction and a dose of Traffic . . . and Hoffman’s voice–knowing, wry, caustic, but not too cynical–always held my attention. Crime fiction thrives on fresh voices above all, and Hoffman is one of the freshest out there at the moment. I can’t wait to see what secret world he lets us in on next.” —Sarah Weinman, Book of the Month

“This scorching novel takes us to the heart of a multibillion dollar transglobal business we only glimpse in bloody headlines. Fast, terrifying, and at times beautiful, Every Man a Menace is that most unusual thing: a deeply original and frightening crime novel.” —Denise Mina, author of Blood, Salt, Water

“Hoffman . . . is a rising star in the crime-fiction world.” —Hollywood Reporter

“With style and intrigue, Patrick Hoffman’s Every Man a Menace proves that his top-flight debut San Francisco crime novel, The White Van, was no fluke . . . Set largely in San Francisco, Miami and Bangkok, Every Man a Menace vibrates with punchy prose reminiscent of authors like Dashiell Hammett, Elmore Leonard and John Burdett, who made those cities their own . . . Hoffman’s second crime thriller is an edgy, crisp, compulsive portrait of the merciless players in the international Ecstasy trade.” —Bruce Jacobs, Shelf Awareness

Every Man a Menace reveals an isolated act of violence to be a shift in the fragile balance of a complex chain of alliances built to bring the drug Molly into existence and transport it from Bangkok across the world to Miami and San Francisco. Caught in the narrative’s sharp focus is the whole network of greedy, scared, frightening, and fascinating characters. Whatever you’re reading right now, put it down and read this book first.” —Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Forty Thieves

“Few authors capture the global realities of drug smuggling as Hoffman does in this remarkable novel–the logistics, the tensions, and the inevitable replaceability of all links in the chain. Every Man a Menace is a stunner, an absolute master class in plotting, detail, and consequences. It’s worth every second of your time.” —Ryan Gattis, author of All Involved

“Cool and laconic, echoing vintage Elmore Leonard, the early scenes in Patrick Hoffman’s new novel, Every Man a Menace, radiate tension. A complex trap is being set—you can almost hear the pulling back of the spring—and around it Hoffman will construct an intricate fretwork of betrayal, blackmail, murder, and retail economics . . . Hoffman is an infernally clever writer . . . His first novel, The White Van, was a Faberg” egg of a thriller, spring-loaded with revelations, and Every Man a Menace is more intricate still. Hoffman’s puzzles are more human than mechanical. His characters are too complex and his scenes too immediate and engrossing to be diminished by intrigue.” —Anna Mundow, Barnes & Noble Review

“The considerable bar that . . . [The White Van] set is not just exceeded by his latest effort; it is blown to shards and splinters by this haunting transcontinental tale of bad deeds and hard deaths . . . The first paragraph should be cut out and framed (don’t do that, at least until you buy the book) as an example of how a narrative is baited, cast and irrevocably hooked . . . Patrick Hoffman is a master storyteller. He breaks a number of conventional rules of the craft, but does so gently and always with good purpose. Every Man a Menace is one of those books that you read and wish would go on and on and on. Indeed, the conclusion leaves a thread hanging . . . It just does not get any better than this.” —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

“A slowly building fugue where each new viewpoint is layered over the others, and wherein only the reader begins to piece together the tale’s larger details, motivations, and truths.” —Matthew Fowler, Mystery Scene

Every Man a Menace . . . crackles with authenticity.” —Ian A. Stewart, San Francisco Magazine

“Patrick Hoffman’s Every Man a Menace trips into an Ecstasy-smuggling ring.” —Vanity Fair, “Hot Type”

“[Every Man a Menace] is distinguished by its virtuoso set pieces . . . a nasty tour de force . . . Hoffman’s follow-up to The White Van is another strong and original addition to the crime fiction genre.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Violent and terrifying . . . Patrick Hoffman writes vivid and colorful prose, in a style that has Hollywood movie written all over it . . . An exciting read.” —Toronto Star

“In The White Van, Hoffman surveyed the roiling, combative world of San Francisco crime. This time, he’s enlarged his canvas, focusing on an international chain of people engaged in producing, distributing, and selling the drug they call Molly . . . Hoffman has crafted a powerful . . . crime novel. It will be interesting to see what he does next.” —Booklist

“Darkly entertaining . . . For readers who love crime fiction that keeps them up all night, this book is absolutely perfect.” —Bookish, Best Reads of Fall 2016, Mysteries and Thrillers

Every Man a Menace is impossible to put down . . . Hoffman writes with a burning urgency, but he also takes the time to develop haunting characters with interior lives and doomed pasts. We burned through this vicious page-turner in two nights.” —iBooks, “25 Best Books of October”


A Wall Street Journal best mystery of 2016
Strand Magazine‘s #1 best book of 2016
A Buzz Books pick for fall/winter 2016
An iBooks Best Book of October


They relocated David Eban, the man they’d been using in Belgium, to San Francisco. He’d be in charge of picking up the frozen squid. He was a good worker—quiet and sober. All he had to do was drive to a fish warehouse in Oakland, hand a slip of paper to a Chinese kid who worked for Fariq’s organization, and throw the squid into his van. From there, he’d take it to a place he’d rented in Fremont, put it on the ground, and come back the next day, when it had thawed. Then he’d open it up and pull out the vacuum-sealed loaves of drugs. I used to love squid, he told them later. I can’t eat it anymore.

In those early days, Eban drove across the country once a month. He’d pack the drugs into a false compartment in the trunk of his SUV, hang a cross from his mirror, set the cruise control to just below the speed limit, and leave some toys gift wrapped on the backseat. San Francisco to Miami—four days of driving.

After a while, though, these trips bothered Semion and Isaak—they were clearly the most exposed element of their plan. What they needed was a buyer in California.