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Halftone Palm Trees

Agent Clark

a Novel
Based on a true story
Hadley Benton Book 1
My Story
My Story

   In 1989 my grandfather, Julian H. Clark, picked up a cassette recorder and started dictating. It would be two years later before he put it down.


     Julian, the consummate storyteller, lived a life of excitement and intrigue. Not only did he want to share his experiences on life in the first part of the 20th century, he also wanted to share the many stories of his life on the road chasing car thieves, bootleggers, and bank robbers. It was fun, and it was dangerous. His stories span three decades with many ups and downs for him personally and for the country, but they also span some of the most interesting times in American history.


     I grew up hearing “Papa’s” stories all the time and as a native Georgian like him, I loved learning about our state’s remarkable history and culture through his tales. I also spent a lot of time in Florida in college, and many of his best stories take place in Florida. We used to talk about the places he lived and worked when I was home on breaks. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until around 2013 before I popped the first of his tapes into the cassette player of my father’s old GMC pickup and started to listen. Hearing his voice amidst the hiss and crackle of a twenty-four-year-old recording in an old truck five years after his death was like being transported back in time. I was hooked. At the end of each tape, I couldn’t wait to listen to the next one. It took me several months to listen to them all because the only tape deck we had was in dad’s truck. Having died out about the same time Julian did, cassette players are hard to come by these days. It wasn’t long before I started finding excuses just to drive that old pickup.


     Julian led an interesting life to say the least, but his stories about chasing car thieves around the southeast were just too good not to do something with. When I embarked on this “little” project, I had no idea what I was getting into. It was much more difficult than I imagined, but it quickly became a labor of love. It started with the purchase of an old Panasonic Dictaphone Transcriber with a foot pedal for about fifty dollars on eBay. It’s a tech dinosaur for sure, but it really was the best way to listen to him talk about his life while typing at the same time.


     It took me over two years to transcribe all of his tapes. They degraded over time, and I found myself having to borrow my sibling’s and mother’s copies to listen to several versions before I captured everything. I included some audio clips on the website, so you can hear some of this in his own words. I published All This Reminiscing in 2018, which was basically an edited version of the stories he told on tape.  While writing ATR, I got the idea to write Agent Clark.


     Julian had one of the coolest jobs around, and it all happened against the backdrop of Prohibition and The Great Depression. While Agent Clark is a work of fiction, it is based on the true stories of Julian’s exploits.


My Books

All This Reminiscing

Agent Clark

Coming Soon

My Books


Hadley Benton was born in Atlanta in 1970.  He is the author of two books.  The first, All This Reminiscing in 2018, is about the life of his grandfather Julian H. Clark.  The second is the beginning of the new Agent Clark series based on the true stories of his grandfather’s life.  

You can connect with Hadley on Facebook, and Ahadbenton on Instagram.  You can send him an email at

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