What I Learned During the Government Shutdown

It appears the longest government shutdown in U.S. history has come to an end. At the time of this posting, it was announced that a three-week Continuing Resolution would be passed fully reopening the government. We shall see if another shutdown occurs after that point. The downside of this 34+ day shutdown should be fairly obvious. Many federal employees didn’t receive a paycheck, although we will receive back pay once the government reopens. Contractors are not so fortunate and they have suffered greatly throughout this shutdown which apparently achieved nothing. They are the forgotten victims of this mess.

On a personal note, I’ve worked full-time since I graduated college so I think this was the longest I’ve ever been off work. I wasn’t certain how I would react, but I learned a little about myself over the past month.

First, given time during the day, I can still get into really good physical shape. Even before the shutdown, I hit the gym four or five times per seek. However, during this hiatus from work, I awoke early every morning, helped get my daughter to school and then started my workout. I usually begin with a two to three-mile run or fast walk and then I’d hit the weights for about 45 minutes to an hour. I started integrating a system called AR-7 (AR=Advanced Results) into my workouts and ended up cutting some body fat and gaining some muscle. I complimented my exercise regimen by eating extremely healthy (I’m a vegetarian anyway) and really cutting back on alcohol.

Second, I could absolutely write for a living (if it paid anything). After my workout was finished, I’d retreat to an upstairs “office”, get in front of the laptop, and work on my next manuscript. In no time at all, I conducted quite a bit of research and cranked out several thousand words. I found the work enjoyable and the biggest challenge was staying off the internet for non-research purposes.

Third, I can work from home and still get some things done around the house. I managed to fix several items around the house which probably didn’t need to be fixed and I only broke a few other things. All in all, it was a wash.

Finally, I discovered I still want to go do my regular job. While I love writing novels and short stories (and would LOVE to have more time to do so), there is a purposefulness to working in the federal law enforcement training field and I enjoy having that sense of meaning. I work with a lot of great people who do some amazing things and it will be nice to get back to my regular duties. Also…I’m pretty sure my wife wants me out of the house for a while. She works from home and I’m driving her CRAZY.

So, back to work I go. Like most furloughed feds, I WANT to go back to work and serve my country. Sadly, there are too many people out there who have little understanding of what the government actually does and how it affects our quality of life, whether it is felt in the short-term or the long-term. I work at the main campus of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center where thousands of employees on the lower end of the pay scale have been going through training without pay and many of the staff normally in place to support them (so-called nonessential employees) had been furloughed. These trainees will be going out into the field to save lives. These are the government employees who work the front lines. For the good of our country, I hope none of us have to face another shutdown anytime soon.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, Bolt Action Remedy, Record Scratchand other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Available Now!



“There are two types of men you must fear in this world: Men who have everything to lose—and men like me.”

It’s a case Trevor Galloway doesn’t want. It’s certainly a case he doesn’t need. The client—the sister of a murdered musician—seems a bit off. She expects Galloway to not only solve her brother’s homicide, but recover a vinyl record she believes could ruin his reputation. Galloway knows he should walk away. He should simply reach over the desk, give back the envelope of cash that he admittedly needs, and walk away. However, when the client closes the meeting by putting a gun under her chin and pulling the trigger, his sense of obligation drags him down a path he may not be ready to travel.

A story divided into twelve songs from Jimmy Spartan’s final album.


Record Scratch shocks you out of your ordinary groove. Sometimes witty, other times haunting, but when the needle jumps the track, the body count screams.” —Marc E. Fitch, author of Paradise Burns and Dirty Water

“In Record Scratch, Hensley, a former secret service agent, gifts us with a bounty of goods: a solid mystery, a damaged but relatable main character—one you root for, and swift plotting that weaves a compelling, compulsive tale of music and death and the demons carried by those in law enforcement. Bring me more Trevor!” —Shannon Kirk, international bestselling author of Method 15/33

“J.J. Hensley’s Record Scratch is a tersely written and tightly plotted gem, featuring one of the most unique protagonists around, Trevor Galloway, a man who has a way of getting himself into and out of trouble at an alarming rate. The book is action-packed with a dash of mordant wit, and I can’t wait to read more in this intense, engaging series.” —David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter

“J.J. Hensley’s tale of a stoic PI investigating the murder of a has-been rock star is equal parts classic whodunnit and gritty noir, peppered with high-octane action scenes that will leave you breathless. Record Scratch is like a throat punch: powerful, shocking, and unapologetic, but the surprising poignant ending will stay with you a long after you’ve finished the book. This is a thriller that crackles from the first page to the last.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts

Available Now!


Buy it on Amazon!

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.


image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.


An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.



In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology







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