Brian Garfield
BornBrian Francis Wynne Garfield
(1939-01-26)January 26, 1939[1]
New York City, U.S.[1][2]
DiedDecember 29, 2018(2018-12-29) (aged 79)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, screenwriter
Notable worksDeath Wish, Hopscotch
Notable awards1976 Edgar Award for Best Novel

Brian Francis Wynne Garfield (January 26, 1939 – December 29, 2018) was an Edgar Award-winning American novelist, historian and screenwriter. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, he wrote his first published book at the age of eighteen.[3] Garfield went on to author more than seventy books across a variety of genres, selling more than twenty million copies worldwide.[4] Nineteen were made into films or TV shows. He is best known for Death Wish (1972), which launched a lucrative franchise when it was adapted into the 1974 film of the same title.

Early life

Garfield was born in New York City, the son of George Garfield and Frances O'Brien, a portrait artist and friend of Georgia O'Keeffe. O'Keeffe had introduced the pair.[5] He was the nephew of chorus dancer and stage manager Chester O'Brien, and a distant relative of Mark Twain.[6]


In the 1950s Garfield toured with the Palisades, who released a single on the Calico label. He attended the University of Arizona and served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserves from 1957 to 1965.[4]

His first novel, Range Justice, written when he was eighteen, was published in 1960. By the end of the following decade, he had published sixty novels. Once he turned fifty, Garfield continued to publish, but at a less prolific rate.

In 1972 he published Death Wish, which was adapted into the film of the same title. Four movie sequels followed, all starring Charles Bronson in the lead role. Bruce Willis starred in a 2018 remake. Garfield was directly involved only in the original movie. He wrote a sequel, Death Sentence (1975), which was very loosely adapted into the 2007 film of the same name. While the film had a different storyline, it adopted the novel's critical perspective on vigilantism. Hopscotch, also published in 1975, won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Garfield wrote the screenplay for the 1980 film adaptation starring Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson and Sam Waterston.

In 1970, Garfield was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History for The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians. His last book, published in 2007, was a critical biography of the controversial British intelligence officer Richard Meinertzhagen.

He and his wife Bina divided their time between their homes in Pasadena, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.[3] They were supporters of Wildlife WayStation, an animal sanctuary in Southern California.[7]


Garfield died at home in Pasadena in December 2018 at the age of 79. His wife said the cause was complications of Parkinson's disease.[8][6]


John Grisham credited Garfield’s article "Ten Rules for Suspense Fiction" with "giving him the tools" to write his thrillers.[9] When he died, Lawrence Block tweeted, “RIP Brian Garfield. Fine writer, friend for years”.[10] In 2015, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center in Santa Fe announced that Brian Garfield and his wife had given a gift of correspondence between O'Keeffe and Garfield's mother, Frances O'Brien, "that provides insight into the women's shared work ethic, their era and their sense of humor — and shows O'Keeffe's penchant for dashes in her informal notes. The gift includes letters, postcards, interviews and other materials from the 1940s to the 1970s that were collected by O'Brien".[11]

Pen names



Credited to Brian Garfield or Brian Wynne Garfield unless otherwise indicated.
Year Title Author Credit Main Character(s) Notes
1960 Range Justice Tracy Chavis First novel set in fictional town of Spanish Flat, Arizona. Certain characters reappear in the Jeremy Six series. Abridged and reissued as Justice at Spanish Flat (1961).
1961 The Arizonans
1961 Massacre Basin Frank Wynne
1962 The Big Snow Frank Wynne
1962 The Rimfire Murders Frank O'Brian Contemporary mystery set in Spanish Flat.
1962 Arizona Rider Frank Wynne
1962 The Lawbringers
1962 Trail Drive
1962 7 Brave Men Bennett Garland Lancer and Magnum Books editions (1962) credited to Brian Garfield.
1963 Vultures in the Sun
1963 Apache Canyon Justin Harris
1963 Dragoon Pass Frank Wynne
1963 High Storm Bennett Garland
1964 The Last Outlaw Bennett Garland Magnum Books edition (1964) credited to Brian Garfield.
1964 Rails West Frank Wynne
1964 Mr. Sixgun Brian Wynne Jeremy Six First appearance of Marshall Jeremy Six. Set in Spanish Flat, with some characters from Range Justice returning.
1964 Rio Concho Frank Wynne
1964 The Vanquished
1965 Lynch Law Canyon Frank Wynne
1965 The Night It Rained Bullets Brian Wynne Jeremy Six
1966 Call Me Hazard Frank Wynne
1966 The Lusty Breed Frank Wynne First chapter set in Spanish Flat; Jeremy Six appears briefly.
1966 The Wolf Pack Frank Wynne
1966 The Last Bridge
1966 Bugle & Spur Frank O'Brian Justin Harris Later editions credited to Brian Garfield.
1966 The Bravos Brian Wynne Jeremy Six
1967 The Proud Riders Brian Wynne Jeremy Six, Tracy Chavis
1967 A Badge for a Badman Brian Wynne Jeremy Six, Tracy Chavis
1967 Rio Chama Bennett Garland
1968 Brand of the Gun Brian Wynne Jeremy Six
1968 Buchanan's Gun Jonas Ward Tom Buchanan Seventh novel in the Tom Buchanan series. Other Buchanan novels were written by William Ard, William R. Cox, and Robert Silverberg (as Jonas Ward).[12]
1968 Savage Guns Alex Hawk
1968 Arizona Ballantine Books edition (1969) credited to Frank O'Brian.
1969 Gundown Brian Wynne Jeremy Six, Tracy Chavis Not to be confused with later Gun Down written by Garfield.
1969 Big Country, Big Men Brian Wynne Jeremy Six Final Jeremy Six novel written by Garfield. The last book in the series, Gunslick Territory (1973), was written by Dean Owen a.k.a. Dudley Dean McGaughey (as Brian Wynne).[13]
1970 Valley of the Shadow
1970 Sliphammer
1970 The Hit
1970 The Villiers Touch
1971 What of Terry Conniston?
1971 Sweeny's Honor First publication in the U.K. (Coronet, 1974) credited to Frank Wynne.
1971 Gun Down Reissued as The Last Hard Men as a tie-in to the film adaptation. First publication in the UK (Coronet, 1974) credited to Frank Wynne.
1971 Deep Cover
1972 Death Wish Paul Benjamin Basis for the 1974 Charles Bronson film (and its four sequels).
1972 Relentless Sam Watchman Basis for the 1977 TV film.
1972 Line of Succession
1973 Kolchak's Gold
1973 Gangway! Collaboration with Donald E. Westlake.
1973 Tripwire
1974 The Romanov Succession
1974 The Threepersons Hunt Sam Watchman
1975 Death Sentence Paul Benjamin Basis for the 2007 film Death Sentence (starring Kevin Bacon and directed by James Wan), which credits Garfield but does not follow the action of the novel.
1975 Hopscotch Winner of the Edgar Award (Best Novel of the Year). Basis for the 1980 Hopscotch (film). Certain characters reappear in the collection Checkpoint Charlie (1981).
1975 Act of Piracy Frank O'Brian
1975 Target Manhattan Drew Mallory
1977 Recoil
1978 Fear in a Handful of Dust John Ives Basis for the 1984 film Fleshburn.
1978 Wild Times Basis for the 1980 TV mini-series.
1979 The Marchand Woman John Ives
1979 The Paladin Collaboration with Christopher Creighton.
1984 Necessity
1989 Manifest Destiny
1990 Cemetery Jones and the Tombstone War Cemetery Jones After author William R. Cox died, Garfield finished this novel (uncredited).
2003 The Hit and The Marksman The Hit was originally published in 1970. The Marksman is a novella based on an unproduced screenplay.

Short stories




See also


  1. ^ a b Kaser, James A. (2011). The Chicago of Fiction: A Resource Guide. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781461672586.
  2. ^ Drew, Bernard A. (2009). Literary Afterlife: The Posthumous Continuations of 325 Authors' Fictional Characters. McFarland. ISBN 9780786457212.
  3. ^ a b Garfield, Brian. "Biography". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Brian Garfield, Author of 'Death Wish,' Dies at 79". The Hollywood Reporter. January 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Frances O'Brien, 86; Did Portraits of Famous". The New York Times. August 10, 1990. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Seelye, Katharine Q. (January 6, 2019). "Brian Garfield, Prolific Author of 'Death Wish,' Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "In Memorium – Wildlife Waystation".
  8. ^ Barnes, Mike (January 3, 2019). "Brian Garfield, Author of 'Death Wish,' Dies at 79". Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  9. ^ "Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction". Writer's Digest.
  10. ^ "Brian Garfield, prolific author of 'Death Wish,' dies at 79". Los Angeles Times. January 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "O'Keeffe Museum receives gift of artist's correspondence". July 15, 2015.
  12. ^ Drew, Bernard A. (March 8, 2010). Literary Afterlife: The Posthumous Continuations of 325 Authors' Fictional Characters. McFarland. ISBN 9780786457212. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  13. ^ Drew., Bernard A. (March 8, 2010). Literary Afterlife: The Posthumous Continuations of 325 Authors' Fictional Characters. McFarland. ISBN 9780786457212.