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Lev Raphael books in order

Lev Raphael is an American award-winning author of literary fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction.

His writing also features LGBTQ themes and figures.

Born in New York City to Jewish parents, Raphael holds an MFA in Creative Writing and English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Michigan State University.

As the son of Holocaust survivors, Raphael is a trailblazer when it comes to writing fiction and creative non-fiction centered around America's Second Generation.

The recipient of numerous awards, including the Harvey Swados Fiction Prize and a Lambda Literary Award, Lev Raphael’s teaching experience spans various universities in New York, Massachusetts, and Michigan, where he has taught creative writing, crime fiction, Jewish-American fiction and other subjects.

He left teaching in 1988 in order to focus on writing and reviewing full-time, but recently did a six-year guest author stint at Michigan State University's Department of English.

More about Lev Raphael

Genres: Gay and Lesbian, Historical Fiction, Memoirs, Mystery, Non-fiction

Born: 1954

United States


Non Series

  • Winter Eyes (1992)
  • The German Money (2003)
  • Rosedale In Love (2011)
  • Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile (2011)


  1. Dancing on Tisha B'Av (1990)
  2. Secret Anniversaries of the Heart: New and Selected Stories by Lev Raphael (2006)

Nick Hoffman

  1. Let's Get Criminal (1996)
  2. The Edith Wharton Murders (1997)
  3. The Death of a Constant Lover (1999)
  4. Little Miss Evil (2000)
  5. Burning Down the House (2001)
  6. Tropic of Murder (2004)
  7. Hot Rocks (2007)
  8. Assault with a Deadly Lie (2014)
  9. State University of Murder (2019)
  10. Department of Death (2021)


  1. Dynamics of Power: Fighting Shame and Building Self-Esteem (1991)
  2. Edith Wharton’s Prisoners of Shame: A New Perspective on Her Neglected Fiction (1991)
  3. Coming Out of Shame: Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives (1996)
  4. Journeys & Arrivals: On Being Gay and Jewish (1996)
  5. Stick Up for Yourself!: Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem (1998)
  6. Writing a Jewish Life: Memoirs (2005)
  7. My Germany: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped (2009)
  8. Book Lust! : A Buffet of Essays (2012)
  9. Writer's Block is Bunk: Advice for Writers (2012)
  10. A Teacher’s Guide to Stick Up for Yourself!: An 11-Session Course in Self-Esteem and Assertiveness for Kids (2019)


  1. The Vampyre of Gotham (2012)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Winter Eyes

A coming-of-age novel set in New York and Michigan during the Vietnam War era, Winter Eyes shows how the past controls and divides the immigrant Borowski family, and isolates their American-born son Stefan. But when Stefan comes to learn the terrible secrets at the heart of his family, that knowledge transforms them all and points the way to a happy new future for him, despite his doubts about his sexual identity.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0312105761
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
The German Money

Paul has spent his life running—from New York, the city of his birth; from his beautiful beshert; from contact with his own siblings; but mostly from his mother, a Holocaust survivor of inexplicable coldness. Upon her mysterious death, the children face shocking questions. What caused her to die? Why did she divide their inheritance so that Paul, the least favorite son, was singled out to receive the most, the dreaded "German money," a bequest of a million dollars accrued from German reparations to survivors...a gift as cynical as it is generous.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0967952000
Publisher: Leapfrog Press
Rosedale In Love

In the glittering world of money-mad 1905 New York City, Jewish financier Simon Rosedale plans to force his way into high society through marriage and has his eye on Lily Bart. One of the most beautiful women in the city, Lily is a down-at-heels aristocrat plagued by gossip and might be vulnerable to his proposal. 

With his money and her style and connections, he can rise to the top - but will she lower herself to marry a Jew? Could such a marriage heal Rosedale's secret shame, and will Florence Goodhart, the cousin who adores Rosedale, help or hinder his plans?

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B004X2ILRA
Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile

Lizzy Bennet's been transformed into an Anglo-Jew with a Jewish mother, some Jewish attitude, and lots to say about Mr. Darcy. And he's got some serious attitude problems of his own when it comes to “Hebrews.” When these two proud people meet, is it still love at first...slight? Will prejudice keep them from bridging the gap between Jew and Gentile? 

Raphael lovingly and meticulously retouches Austen's portrait of Regency England and gives us a whole new way to see her inimitable work. No vampires, giant squids, zombies, or ghouls of any kind here--but a rewoven tapestry that can leave you in stitches if you read carefully: Austen Through the Looking Glass.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B005FQ1FMG


Dancing on Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av (the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Ab), which commemorates the destruction of both Jerusalem temples, is observed by fasting and public mourning. In the title story of Raphael's first collection, a gay student has been publicly humiliated in a university synagogue. 

Furious and frustrated, he lashes out at God and his own commitment to Judaism by dancing on the holiday. Raphael's characters, struggling to find identities as Jews, gays or children of Holocaust survivors, are angry, humorless and largely self-absorbed. 

Although message dominates plot in most of the tales, when the author permits personalities and events to play themselves out, he creates a more natural and sympathetic setting for his themes. 

In ''War Stories,'' a remote, morose New York cab driver believes he is his family's sole survivor. When a cousin long thought dead enters his cab, he is transformed; he can finally break down and express his emotions. 

In ''Abominations , '' on the other hand, in which the characters in the title story are reencountered, Raphael errs into overemphasis: the torching of the gay student's dormitory room is compared by his sister to the Holocaust's conflagrations. 

Here as in other stories, Raphael forgets that people's lives can be interesting, instructive and important without the explicit ascription of cosmic significance.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1990
ISBN: 978-0312063269
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Secret Anniversaries of the Heart: New and Selected Stories by Lev Raphael

When Lev Raphael published the controversial story collection Dancing on Tisha B’av, he broke new ground in the publishing world. Never before in one book had an American writer dealt with the conflicts between homosexuality and traditional Judaism, linked the chilling mind diseases of antisemitism and homophobia, and borne witness not only to the legacy of Holocaust survivors but the suffering and conflicts of their children. Winner of the prestigious Lambda Literary Award, Raphael opened the door to a new kind of American Jewish fiction.

Secret Anniversaries of the Heart unites the best stories from Dancing on Tisha B’av with 12 new stories, including one never before published. Here we encounter tales of antisemitism on the college campus, of self-hatred and body obsession, and of survivor parents whose only response to the Holocaust is to isolate themselves, unconsciously committing a kind of emotional suicide.

In a collection that encompasses over 25 years of his award-winning stories, Lev Raphael proves himself a visionary like James Baldwin and shares Anita Brookner’s gift for dramatizing the pain of seemingly quiet lives in stories that are both passionate and precise.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0972898478
Publisher: Leapfrog Press

Nick Hoffman

Let's Get Criminal

Nick Hoffman has everything he’s ever wanted: a good teaching job, a beautiful house, and a solid relationship with his lover, Stefan Borowski, a brilliant novelist and writer-in-residence at the State University of Michigan. But when Perry Cross shows up, Nick's peace of mind is shattered. 

Not only does he have to share his office with the nefarious Perry, who managed to weasel his way into a tenured position without the right qualifications, he also discovers that Perry played a destructive role in Stefan's past. When Perry turns up dead, Nick wonders if Stefan might be involved, while the campus police force is wondering the same about Nick.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-1951092078
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
The Edith Wharton Murders

Nick Hoffman, desperate to get tenure, has been saddled with a thankless task: coordinating a conference on Edith Wharton that will demonstrate how his department and his university supports women's issues. There's been widespread criticism that SUM is really the State University of Men. Problem is, he's forced to invite two warring Wharton societies, and the conflict between rival scholars escalates from mudslinging to murder. Nick's job and whole career are on the line unless he can help solve the case and salvage the conference.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-1951092221
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
The Death of a Constant Lover

When the son of a professor is murdered on a campus bridge, Nick's presence at the scene puts him right where he can't afford to be: in the middle of trouble. With his tenure review coming up, he's been warned by his department chair to avoid bad publicity.

But Nick is forced to wade in deeper anyway, inexorably drawn into yet another risky investigation in the surprisingly cutthroat world of academia. He may be surrounded by academics with deadly agendas, but he's armed with the hope that his wit and insight will be enough to avert the death of his career... and maybe his own as well.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-1951092337
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
Little Miss Evil

It appears that Nick's career is finally moving in the right direction, and the celebrity that comes with solving murders has brought him more students than he can possibly handle. But things are never calm at the State University of Michigan: Nick's partner's career seems to be taking a downturn, a new faculty member is causing a lot of nasty talk, and cryptic messages are showing up in Nick's mailbox. What turns up next is a corpse—and some very unsettling thoughts for the reluctant sleuth.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-1951092412
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
Burning Down the House

Evil Stalks the Halls of Academe!

Welcome to the hothouse world of academia where egos bruise as easily as peaches and vendettas grow like weeds. Nick Hoffman's State University of Michigan is a place where the Borgias and the Marx Brothers would be equally at home. 

Heading into the Christmas season, SUM is being torn apart by bizarre attempts to make it more diverse while an autocratic new provost pushes for a White Studies program and Nick faces not only a tenure battle but conflicting requests for support in a battle for department chair.

With his professional life a mix of seasonal chaos and departmental warfare, Nick discovers that he’s not only attracted to the outrageously sexy Juno Dromgoole and disturbed by these disorienting new feelings in his life, but also the target, along with Juno, of a vicious harassment campaign that escalates into stalking, assault, and attempted murder.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-1951092658
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
Tropic of Murder

There's gold in them thar hills again, but only trace amounts in this sixth Connor Westphal mystery. No one in Flat Skunk, Calaveras County, California, puts much stock in old Sluice Jackson even when he's sober, but there's no denying that what he's just pulled out of his miner's poke has a persuasive shine to it. "Gold," says Sluice, displaying a tooth-sized nugget. 

First witnesses to the find-if indeed it is one-are Connor, demon reporter (sexy and deaf), and P.I Dan Smith, her lover (an attentive hunk). Since both like bucolic Flat Skunk the way it is, neither feels sanguine about the prospect of prospectors descending en masse. And they're right to be concerned, since a virulent case of gold fever is accompanied by the expected vicious behavior. 

For starters, someone burns down Sluice's cabin. Then there's a pair of killings, brutal and inexplicable. Meantime, Josh Littlefield, an old college friend of Connor's, suddenly turns up in Flat Skunk-a "deafie" married unhappily to a "hearie." 

Could they be in any way connected to Sluice's strike? When Sheriff Mercer arrests Josh on a charge of homicide, Connor knows it's time to dust off her Nancy Drew cap.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-1880284681
Publisher: Daniel & Daniel Publishers
Hot Rocks

When Professor Nick Hoffman and his partner Stefan return from a Caribbean vacation, Nick decides it's time to get back in shape at Michigan Muscle, a luxurious health club near the State University of Michigan. But every palace has its intrigue, and when Nick finds a dead trainer in the steam room, he's drawn into a web of passion and privilege like nothing he's experienced before. The prime suspect because he discovered the body, his academic and personal lives take unanticipated turns, and he gets a real workout in the bittersweet denouement.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-1880284834
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Assault with a Deadly Lie

Successful professor Nick Hoffman finds his secure, happy, college-town life changed forever after a nightmarish encounter with police. But even when that horrible night is over, life doesn't return to normal. Someone is clearly out to destroy him. Nick and his partner Stefan Borowski face an escalating series of threats that lead to a brutal and stunning confrontation.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2014
Ebook: B00NQTVR68
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
State University of Murder

Still reeling from having escaped a mass shooting on campus, English professor Nick Hoffman finds himself on the receiving end of confessions by one colleague after another. 

All of them have good reason to hate the new department chair, Dr. Napoleon Padovani, who throws his weight around capriciously and cruelly. Resentment mounts on campus -- with an inevitably fatal result. Chaos and confusion reign among the faculty, which then turns on its own. 

Can Nick and his spouse Stefan restore order and save the day? Raphael has described the university as "a unique combination of the vanity of professional sports, the hypocrisy of politics, the cruelty of big business, with a touch of organized crime thrown in."

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1564746092
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Department of Death

Years ago Nick Hoffman was given a position in the English Department at the State University of Michigan because SUM wanted to hire his partner as writer-in-residence, but now he's been unexpectedly installed by his dean as chairman of that department. 

It's a wildly unpopular choice, and he's suddenly the focus of more animosity from his colleagues than he's ever dealt with before. He can't seem to make anyone happy and can't get a handle on his myriad new responsibilities as an administrator, a position he never wanted.

Then tragedy strikes again way too close to home: Someone seeking his help is murdered, and under the shadow of another recent murder, Nick is a prime suspect. Hounded by campus police, the local press, and social media, Nick wonders if this could finally be the end of his career―that is, if he manages to stay out of prison.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1564746191
Publisher: Perseverance Press


Dynamics of Power: Fighting Shame and Building Self-Esteem

As an outgrowth of Kaufman's work on shame, this book's comprehensive educational curriculum for psychological health and self-esteem has professional, educational, and personal relevance. The principles and tools in this book directly combat addiction, violence, and stress-related disorders by reversing the very conditions responsible for them: shame and powerlessness.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1991
ISBN: 978-0870470516
Publisher: Schenkman Books
Edith Wharton’s Prisoners of Shame: A New Perspective on Her Neglected Fiction

Delving into the themes of societal constraints, gender roles, and the complexities of human nature, this insightful examination reveals the hidden gems within Wharton's extensive literary repertoire. Through meticulous research and fresh interpretations, "Prisoners of Shame" invites readers to discover a renewed appreciation for the depth and brilliance of Wharton's often-neglected fiction, solidifying her position as a true master of the written word.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1991
ISBN: 978-0333552032
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Coming Out of Shame: Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives

Most gay men and lesbians grow up learning that to be gay is to be sick, to be unnatural, to be a sinner. By adolescence, such negative attitudes have produced and reinforced a single, powerful emotion: shame, the feeling that you’re inferior and judged as “bad,” for what you are—gay.

In Coming out of Shame Gershen Kaufman and Lev Raphael expose the role shame has come to play in gay and lesbian lives. Rarely discussed but vastly important, shame powerfully shapes each individual’s development of self-esteem, identity, and intimacy—three areas in which gay men and lesbians have been extremely vulnerable to the crippling effects of shame.

Tracing the historical and cultural sources of gay shame, Kaufman and Raphael reveal how gay men and lesbians have internalized shame, resulting in self-loathing and destructive behaviors.

The hallmark of shame is silence, and by breaking the silence around the dynamics of gay shame, Kaufman and Raphael offer a way to “come out” of shame and begin the journey toward wholeness and self-acceptance.

Filled with the experiences of those struggling to overcome shame, Coming Out of Shame includes strategies for:

• Storing self-esteem

• Creating a positive gay identity

• Healing scenes of shame

• Developing partnerships in intimacy

NB: Co-authored with Gershon Kaufman Ph.D.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-0385477963
Publisher: Main Street Books
Journeys & Arrivals: On Being Gay and Jewish

In Journeys & Arrivals prize-winning author Lev Raphael explores for the first time in non-fiction the gay and Jewish identities that have dominated his highly acclaimed fiction for many years.

Journeys & Arrivals reveals in a collection of autobiographical and critical essays the influence these often conflicting identities of being gay and Jewish have had in his life and his writing.

The child of Holocaust survivors, Raphael came to his positive Jewish identity late in life and his gay identity even later. He describes growing up in a secular family, discovering a Jewish community, early sexual exploration, the turning point that came with writing his first autobiographical story, and life with his partner and his partner's sons. 

Other pieces report on gay literature, gays and lesbians in Israel, and the legacy of the Holocaust for both Jews and gays. Throughout, Raphael confronts with unflinching honesty the difficulties and rewards of laying claim to both a gay and a Jewish identity.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-0571198825
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Stick Up for Yourself!: Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem

Fully refreshed to address modern issues, this popular essential guide helps kids build self-confidence and assert themselves.

Using simple words and real-life examples, this book shows kids how to be assertive with other kids—and with adults. Kids will learn to feel better about themselves, stronger and more secure inside, and more in charge of their lives. They’ll read about effective ways to deal with intense feelings and to build self-esteem and self-confidence.

In addition, they’ll learn strategies for building inner security to cope with powerlessness and uncertainty and discover ways of protecting themselves when using social media.

NB: Co-authored with Gershon Kaufman Ph.D.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1631983221
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
Writing a Jewish Life: Memoirs

Writing a Jewish Life chronicles novelist Lev Raphael's struggle to claim both his religious and sexual identities, and the happiness he subsequently found. 

Until he reached his mid-20s, the author felt alienated from other Jews, ambivalent about his homosexuality; or as he puts it, "twice strange ... in each [community], different, lesser, ashamed." A son of Holocaust survivors, Raphael grew up in an unmistakably Jewish but nonreligious home. 

However, as an adult he initiated his own affiliations with Judaism: He had a bar mitzvah at age 30, went to Israel twice, and fell in love with a Jewish man. It was "coming out as a Jew,' he writes, that "ultimately made it possible for me to come out as a gay man and then work at uniting the two identities." 

Attesting to his journey is the contrast between his confused childhood and the joyful domestic life he now shares with his lover, Gersh, and their two sons.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0786716494
Publisher: Carroll & Graf
My Germany: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped

Haunted by his parents’ horrific suffering and traumatic losses under Nazi rule, Lev Raphael grew up loathing everything German. Those feelings shaped his Jewish identity, his life, and his career. 

While researching his mother’s war years after her death, he discovers a distant relative living in the very city where she had worked in a slave labor camp, found freedom, and met his father. Soon after, Raphael is launched on book tours in Germany and, in the process, redefines himself as someone unafraid to face the past and let it go.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0299231545
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Book Lust! : A Buffet of Essays

Lev Raphael brings together his best essays, reviews, and reflections on the writing life from the late magazine Bibliobuffet. Whether writing about mother memoirs, Shakespeare Denial, or some puzzling fans, Raphael displays his trademark wit and erudition.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2012
Ebook: B007FL0N0E
Writer's Block is Bunk: Advice for Writers

Practical and Entertaining!

Written with encouraging humor and honesty, "Writer's Block is Bunk" offers advice for both newbies and experienced authors on writing and the writing life. It tackles topics like how to do a book reading, build your audience, respond to fans, and find inspiration. Raphael doesn't pull any punches, but he also has fun. And so will you when you read this smart, timely guide to the complex world of being an author.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2012
Ebook: B008ZK11A0
A Teacher’s Guide to Stick Up for Yourself!: An 11-Session Course in Self-Esteem and Assertiveness for Kids

This teacher’s companion to a classic book for kids provides tools for building self-esteem and personal power.

Without self-esteem, kids doubt themselves and may turn to unhealthy habits as a way of coping. With self-esteem, kids feel secure, are willing to take positive risks, and are resilient in the face of challenges. This teacher’s guide expands the messages of Stick Up for Yourself!, teaching self-confidence and how to be assertive with easy-to-use sessions.

Created for the classroom, these sessions can also be used in other group settings including counseling groups, out-of-school programs, community programs, and more. Digital content includes reproducible handouts.

NB: Co-authored with Gershon Kaufman Ph.D.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1631983252
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing


The Vampyre of Gotham

Sex. Money. Power. Blood.

Grief-stricken by his wife's untimely death, a wealthy New York banker turns to sexual abandon in the bordellos of 1907 New York City. Then one fateful night, after a mysterious attack, he dies to his old life and is reborn a Vampyre.

Once obsessed solely with making money and social advancement, he's now driven by a new, perverse hunger for blood. Written in a period voice, this deeply erotic work takes you into dark corners of the psyche as it explores a secret world of obsession.

NB: Previously published as Rosedale the Vampyre.

Author: Lev Raphael
First Release: 2012
Ebook: B008C3HD8O
Publisher: Lev Raphael