ADRENALINE JUNKIE: A MEMOIR by Les Edgerton (November 2018)

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Adrenaline Junkie is more than a renowned, multi-award-winning author entertaining with his life history. Les Edgerton understands that backstory matters. It influences the present. So he journeyed through his past seeking answers for why he was the way he was. Seeking answers for his thrill-seeking, devil-may-care, often self-destructive, behaviors. Seeking a sense of personal peace.

Why was he compelled to be the best he could be in all his endeavors—legal or otherwise. What drove him to excel, then flee success, only to strive for supremacy in another field?

Adrenaline Junkie holds the answers. With nothing held back. With his life-saving humor, an indomitable spirit, and a fierce courage to expose the ugly and painful. Like the tough, raw, vulnerable characters Les writes about in his short stories and novels, he exposes us to a man fighting against family, society, and his own sense of injustice. Fighting for a moment—regardless of how fleeting—to feel in control of his life. And, as uncomfortable at times as Les’s life adventure may be for us to witness, we come away grateful he took us with him.

So settle back. Meet a real-life, twenty-first-century Renaissance man. A real-life adrenaline junkie.


Adrenaline Junkie is a raw and harrowing memoir that brilliantly combines great sensitivity with brutal honesty. Les Edgerton is never afraid to reveal his vulnerability—and culpability—as he takes us on a head-spinning ride through the bizarre and terrifying experiences in a life that was often defined by violence. The result is a breathtaking page-turner that will keep readers hooked from page one and will never let them go.” —Lisa Lieberman Doctor, former Warner Bros. prodco president, president of Robin Williams prodco, Blue Wolf Productions

“Filled with stories of knifings, armed robberies, brutal prison fights, and Charles Manson (yes, that Charles Manson!), Edgerton proves that life can be stranger (and certainly more violent) than fiction. But Edgerton isn’t just a guy with a tough story to tell. He’s a poet who startles you with sentences both stark and darkly beautiful. An astonishing accomplishment.” —Jon Bassoff, author of Corrosion

Adrenaline Junkie is the compelling, beautifully written story of an extraordinary man who has lived on both sides of the tracks. Les Edgerton achieves a sort of sainthood among sinners, an apotheosis of rebellion and force, much like Harcamone at Fontevrault, or a hero in a Johnny Cash song, a huge, Promethean work of major significance and scale.” —Richard Godwin, critically acclaimed author

“Edgerton’s prose hits with the force of a hammer—as does his recollection of an America, both deeply flawed and wonderful, that is now more important than ever to keep in our sights. Adrenaline Junkie makes sense of one man’s life while showing us all new aspects of our own.” —Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of Cover of Snow and Wicked River

“No one can accuse Les of being a ‘crime tourist’. He’s lived the life, done the bird, and now he’s written the book. Adrenaline Junkie should be on any prospective (or established) crime writer’s list. An entertaining, darkly-rendered tale of one man’s adventures in the very belly of the beast.” —Tony Black, author of Her Cold Eyes

“Sometimes shocking, often poignant, occasionally distasteful, frequently funny, and always brutally honest, Adrenaline Junkie tells the story of one man’s harrowing yet ultimately successful quest for redemption. Written with razor-sharp clarity, Edgerton’s memoir is a triumph.” —Robert Rotstein, author of We, the Jury

Adrenaline Junkie will be required reading for crime writers one day, a bible for future authors to study rebellion and the human spirit, that smart-ass spark inside us all that doesn’t like taking orders from parents, teachers, and even the law. Author of The Rapist and The Bitch, two of the most profound noir novels published, an ex-criminal and former prison inmate, Edgerton knows what makes all of us tick, and how, with not much of a shove, any one of us could end up behind bars. One of the most fascinating autobiographies you will ever read: from professional thief and pimp to award-winning author and teacher.” —Jack Getze, author of the award-winning Austin Carr Mysteries

Adrenaline Junkie is at once heartbreaking as it is funny, and just plain sick. A masterful work that will be lauded by both writers and the general reading public alike.” —Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling and Thriller Award-winning author

“Edgerton is a back-alley Kerouac. Walk away from this knowing that your life-defining moments were his slow Tuesdays.” —Liam Sweeny, author of Presiding Over the Damned

“In a way, Edgerton already wrote Adrenaline Junkie in his crime novels. With the veneer of fiction removed, his always entertaining, often enlightening, sometimes infuriating and unapologetic stories hit even harder. Without any doubt, Edgerton is one of the great storytellers of fiction—and now non-fiction.” —Benjamin Sobieck, author of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Firearms and Knives

“Having survived an American Gothic horror story of a childhood, unrepentant former thief, dope dealer, hedonist, Navy hellraiser, and porn actor, Les Edgerton—now a writer and teacher—tells a tale of many tales: If Scheherazade were an old pirate who got away with the gold, this would be his opus.” —Earl Javorsky, author of Down to No Good

“Les Edgerton’s expertly told memoir is in turns tragic, thrilling, funny and heart-breaking. Adrenaline Junkie is a powerful blend of coming-of-age story, family drama and low-life crime thriller.” —Paul D. Brazill, author of Last Year’s Man

“Edgerton has lived a life most of us only write about. That he’s actually lived it and has the chops to deliver such a vividly drawn memoir gives me a raging case of writer’s envy.” —Maegan Beaumont, award-winning author

“How often is a memoir genuinely astounding? A reformed outlaw takes us through his harsh rural childhood, working harder before he was twelve than most of us ever will. There follows armed robbery, pimping, drug dealing, rape in prison, narrowly avoiding a hellcat’s castration attempt, suicide foiled by the rope breaking, a walk on part for Charles Manson and his creepy serial killer mate—who got short shrift from our host. And so much more…So many startling sentences: ‘She was going to be his last fuck before the operation and I was going to be his first after he became a woman.’ ‘It was then Charles Manson started to contact me…’ There’s a satisfying twist late on after he becomes a family man so this fascinating book has just the right ending. Essential reading. Makes Bukowski seem like Donny Osmond.” —Mark Ramsden, author of The Dark Magus and the Sacred Whore

“A tryst with Brit Ecklund, a shoot-out in a deserted high school, robbing a laundromat in front of a patrol car. Those are just a few moments is Les Edgerton’s checkered past. He went from a Huck Finn-like childhood in Texas, the swinging sixties as a criminal, time in Indiana’s Pendleton prison, and eighties excess in New Orleans, with little slowing him down until a good woman found a way. Funny, harrowing, and poignant in spots, reading Adrenaline Junkie is like being lucky enough to sit at the bar next to that guy who has lived a lot of stories and knows how to tell them. Yes, Les Edgerton was an adrenaline junkie and he always knew where to get a fix.” —Scott Montgomery, MysteryPeople Crime Fiction Coordinator

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