Tag Archives: Better of the Bad

I’m Shooting a Three-Pointer This Year!

During my high school basketball days, I hit one three-point shot. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even hit the shot in a varsity game. The three I hit was during a junior varsity road game and there may have been thirty people in the stands at the time. The shot heard round the empty gym was the only three-pointer I attempted in an actual game, and for good reason. I wasn’t much of a shooter and I knew the coaches would have yanked me had I heaved many prayers up from behind the arch. The only reason I had gotten up the nerve to fire the shot up on that particular day was it was my last junior varsity game before I became strictly a varsity player. To my, and everyone’s surprise, the ball rattled in, and I never attempted another three (meaning I ended my career with 100% from that range — Ka-Ching). After the game, the JV coach told the varsity coach about my legendary feat. He simply said, “Good. Don’t ever do that again.”

I really wasn’t much of a shooter. I was more of a defensive guy.

So here I am nearly thirty years later, defying my coach. I’m going to attempt a three-pointer this year, albeit of the literary kind.

This year I’m hoping to be part of not one…not two…but THREE published books. The weird thing is, I’m not even sure in what order they will be published. Also, I haven’t been given permission to give details on one of the titles. I’ll explain.

The first book is all mine. The fourth Trevor Galloway novel, The Better of the Bad, will be with the publisher shortly and publication is expected in the late fall. I’m really excited about this one, as it goes in a different direction than the others, brings some interesting new characters, and reintroduces some old “friends”. Here’s the gist:

“What’s your emergency?”
It’s 9:10 PM in the Chatham County Communications Center. The dispatchers stare at each other, afraid to move, afraid to breathe. One minute to go. Will tonight be the night? Another one of those nights? The crew is shorthanded, many of the communications officers having quit. What were they supposed to do? Nobody could have prepared them for this. A killer killing the families of dispatchers…madness. 

The clock on the wall changes. 9:11. A phone rings. The screens indicate the 9-1-1 call is coming from a blocked number. The dispatchers hope and pray it’s a coincidental call for service. Perhaps a car break-in or a bar fight. With all eyes on her, one dispatcher presses a button, puts the call on speaker for everyone to hear.

“Chatham 9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”

The distorted voice comes across the speaker. He gives the address. There will be a body at that location. That’s for certain. The killer dares the police to catch him and then, like before…he’s gone.

Having left the steel of Pittsburgh, Trevor Galloway and Bethany Nolan have decided to set up a P.I. business under the Spanish moss of Savannah. Business has not been particularly good and Galloway is starting to worry the endeavor may fail, when Chatham County Commissioner Sebastian Waterford walks in offering to personally finance an investigation into the area’s well-publicized 9-1-1 killings. While somewhat suspicious of Waterford’s motives, Galloway and Nolan take the case, with Nolan taking the lead and Galloway promising to stay in the background as to avoid stressful situations…and hopefully keep his hallucinations at bay. 

The investigation takes an unexpected turn when Galloway is forced to step out of the shadows and suggests the killer may be a first responder. Galloway is pushed to the limit as he wonders if his hallucinations are returning and if members of a drug gang that want him dead  have tracked him to Coastal Georgia.

Galloway discovers he doesn’t trust the police. He doesn’t trust his client. He doesn’t even trust himself. 

The clock never stops. Every night could be the night. What will happen at 9:11? The dispatchers know the caller must be stopped, because when the line goes dead–someone they care about dies.

I’m also thrilled to be part of another book that was just announced. This one is an anthology called The Swamp Killers. It is a novel told in stories and includes many of us who pieced together the critically-acclaimed The Night of The Flood. The official announcement and cover reveal for The Swamp Killers is here: http://bolobooks.com/2020/01/cover-reveal-the-swamp-killers/

The third part of the trifecta is another anthology I’m really excited about…but, can’t talk about yet. However, it’s a follow-up to an anthology that got a lot of attention previously and I’m excited to be a part of the project this time around. This publication of this book is scheduled for the Fall.

So, that’s 2020 in a nutshell. If all goes well, I will nail my second three-pointer. Of course this one will float in the air for most of the year before actually going through the hoop. But, hey…drama.

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 Scratch, Forgiveness Dies and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Upon being released after three years of incarceration in a psychiatric facility, former narcotics detective and unlicensed PI Trevor Galloway has no idea how to begin picking up the pieces of his shattered life. Having lost the woman he loved and exacting revenge upon those responsible, he is irreparably broken, heavily medicated, and unemployable.

When former Secret Service agent Nick Van Metre knocks on Trevor Galloway’s door, the last thing he expected was a job offer. However when the head of Metal Security hands Galloway a stack of photos and asks for his assistance with investigating a series of threats against a controversial presidential candidate, the former detective is stunned.

Galloway initially takes the case, but eventually has to question his own sanity after he reports an encounter with intruders who seem to have left no trace in his home. When Nick Van Metre turns up dead and an attack is carried out against Dennis Hackney, the former detective with a history of extreme violence becomes the focal point of multiple investigations.

Galloway pulls clues from photos and searches for answers while dodging bullets in Pittsburgh and Savannah.

Get set for a mystery told at a breakneck pace, with each of the chapters being linked to photograph in roll of film.

Look for the hints. Watch for the signs. Trevor Galloway doesn’t trust himself. Can you trust him?

The answers won’t be revealed until the final photo is flipped.


“Is someone setting Trevor Galloway up, or is his own mind deceiving him? Forgiveness Dies puts a uniquely fascinating protagonist–a detective who can’t trust his own perceptions–into a complex political thriller, and the result is propulsive. Hensley starts with a punch, and accelerates from there.” –Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Judgment and The Switch

“Inventive storytelling meets propulsive action in this wild thrill ride from J.J. Hensley, who brings real-life experiences to the page and delivers an authentic tale of double-crosses and dirty dealings. Don’t worry if you haven’t stepped into Trevor Galloway’s shadowy world yet…start right here, and you’ll soon want to read them all!” –Daniel Palmer, USA Today bestselling author of Stolen and Saving Meghan

“A snapshot of humanity in perfect focus. Edgy, furiously paced, raw. From the whip-smart dialogue to the deeply flawed characters, Hensley has a voice that will stay with you long after the final exposure.” –K.J. Howe, author of The Freedom Broker and Skyjack

Forgiveness Dies is a non-stop, gut churning thriller that you’ll read in one sitting. Hensley has conceived a brilliant but almost fatally flawed protagonist in Trevor Galloway, a man so tormented by his past that in the battle for truth and justice he’s forced to fight enemies that are dangerously real, and some that only real to him. J.J. Hensley is one of the best thriller writers out there, and he sits at the top of my must-read list.” –Mark Pryor, author of the Hugo Marston series

“With Trevor Galloway, the tortured, likable protagonist of J.J. Hensley’s Forgiveness Dies, Hensley has created a character destined to remain with the reader long after the last page is turned. Not only that, but readers will find themselves inextricably pulled into a tight plot that bears a brutally close, and necessary, resemblance to today’s America. Read this book, and you’ll want to read everything else Hensley has written.” –E.A. Aymar, author of The Unrepentant


“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


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