Tag Archives: writing

When it Rains it Pours – Bouchercon: An Apology to Those I Sprayed on a Flight

Well…that escalated quickly.

I thought I would cruise through autumn by celebrating the release of a new book while taking an peaceful journey to a mystery convention. I hadn’t planned any large book release events this time around and figured I’d keep everything online. It would be easy to manage and, you know…smooth.

Forgiveness Dies was released on October 14th.  Upon the release, I had not yet received my box of paperbacks since they were not coming from Amazon, but rather from a different distributor. Therefore, as has been the case with a couple of my books, some readers have received the final version of the paperback before I ever had a chance to really hold one. This is a quirk with dealing with an independent press. I usually see what is called the eARC and the Trade Paperback PDF prior to printing. In this instance, I only saw the eARC – used for the ebook production – and not the Trade Paperback PDF – as the publisher was in a rush to get the actual ARC (advance reviewer copy) out. Alas, when the actual paperback came out I received messages that there was an issue. A major issue. The text for Chapter 12 was repeated twice and the text for Chapter 13 was missing. It was a huge printing error and I had to blast out messages to the publisher and come up with a plan to get buyers the correct paperback while the new ones were created. You can see one such message here: https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/forgiveness-dies-misprint-replacement-info/

At this point, I believe the damage has been mitigated and the bleeding has stopped. The situation was obviously not ideal for a book launch and I was extremely disappointed and embarrassed although the error was not my doing. However, I had the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Dallas to look forward to and it’s always a blast to see so many friends and great authors and enthusiastic readers. It was time to decompress!

I packed my suitcase and carry-on bag, which is my norm when I travel. I always end up checking my suitcase, but in this instance I decided to pack a smaller suitcase and carry both bags on the plane. Again, this was not my normal procedure. I say this because that is why I thoughtlessly tossed a pocket knife into the bag I normally check. Now, if you’re wondering how observant the TSA screeners are at the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport, I can attest to the attentiveness and professionalism. Because they had no problem at all pulling me aside to let me know that knives aren’t allowed on airplanes. I declined to tell them that I had 20 years of law enforcement and national security experience and should have realized what an idiot I had been by tossing the knife in the bag, but kept my mouth shut and decided to not look more stupid than I already did.

They did let me on the plane, but now I need to buy a new knife. I tried to relax with a good book by Jeff Abott for my flight to Dallas. I had taken along a plastic bottle with me and filled it with water at the airport because why not be kind to the environment and all, right? Well, an hour and a half into the flight I was pretty thirsty. I pushed the button on my water bottle which sprung open the flip top of my now highly pressurized water bottle which caused a massive stream of water to shoot toward the ceiling of the aircraft and splash down on me, the lady beside me, and the seat back in front of me. I believe several other passengers were collateral damage as well. I cannot express the super-soaker power this water bottle possessed at the time of the opening as the entire episode was cartoon-like.

The flight attendant brought me a stack of paper towels to try to dry off, but they were fairly useless. I ended up turning the air vent on me and freezing for the remainder of the flight. The heated glares of passengers in rows 19-21 did warm me up from time to time.

Eventually, I did arrive at Bouchercon. This was my third Bouchercon and they always create a large program, complete with the author’s photo and bio. For the first time ever, I had submitted a decent author photo to use in the program. However, I’d already been given a heads-up by fellow writer Mark Pryor that there was a program issue. Upon arriving at the convention site, I was immediately approached by several people who mockingly said, “Hey, you don’t look anything like your photo!” And I didn’t.

 

However, I did meet my photo model during the convention. His name is David Burnsworth and it’s easy to see how the mistake was made. We’re basically twins.

The remainder of the convention went well and I did manage to make it back to Savannah without TSA jacking me up or other passengers killing me because I doused them with cold water.

I would again like to apologize to anyone who received a misprinted book, had to disarm me, or got sprayed by liquid. As we dive into November, I will try to do better.

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.

Praise for FORGIVENESS DIES: 

“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

Amazon

“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.

Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:

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

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

 

 

Publication Day!

Forgiveness Dies is now available via paperback and ebook. The audiobook will be available sometime in 2020. Publishers Weekly said some nice things about the novel, and you can read the review here.

As you know, Forgiveness Dies is the third book in the Trevor Galloway series. I’m planning on writing at least one more book in the series, but possibly more. I’ve I’ve got a couple of short stories being published for anthologies in 2020 and I’ll have news on those at a later date.

The Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is in Dallas this year and I’ll be attending. You can catch me there November 1-3 and I’ll be on a panel discussing Agatha Christie on Friday, Nov. 1 at 1PM.

I can’t thank all of you enough for the continued support I’ve received. The constant interaction I experience through Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads is a reminder of how amazing the reading and writing community can be. I’m astonished every single day. You rock.

A New Book and a New Look

The supposedly long days of summer seem to be flying by. The heat index down here in the Savannah area has been hovering around 108 degrees, but that hasn’t slowed things down a bit. So, let’s get right to it:

First, the third book in the Trevor Galloway series is now available for preorder! Forgiveness Dies is available in paperback on October 14th and the ebook version is coming soon.

Second, the audiobook version of Book 2 in the series, Record Scratch is nearly ready to go!

Third, you may remember my post – Image is Everything: https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/image-is-everything/

In that post, I mentioned I was getting a tattoo of an owl, and all the reasons why. Well, it’s finally finished thanks to the FANTASTIC, BRILLIANT, AWESOME Mags Beam at Black Orchid Tattoo. I can’t say enough about Mags. In fact, I’ll probably put her in a future book… and may even give her a quick death. Probably painless. Mostly. You’re welcome, Mags.

AnyWHOOO (strained owl pun intended), here are some pics of the process and the end result:

Mags initially had some difficulty getting the needle to penetrate my – what she called – “super hero tough” skin, but once she managed it, and navigated around my bulging bicep, we were good to go!*

 

 

*It’s possible none of that happened

 

 

 

 

So, now I have an owl. I wanted to name it Captain Marv-OWL, but my daughter has already made it clear I’m not funny and should make no further attempts to be funny. Kids can be cruel.

Anyway, thanks to Mags and thanks to all of you who have already preordered Forgiveness Dies. Also, thanks to everyone for leaving Amazon and Goodreads reviews for all my books. Those reviews really do help authors, so keep them coming!

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.

Preorder NOW

Amazon

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.

Praise for FORGIVENESS DIES: 

“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

Amazon

“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.

Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:

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

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

Local Author Day in Savannah: Mingling and an Actual Murder

I admit I saw the movie first. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil hit the theaters in 1997 and I don’t think I watched it until at least 2000. My wife and I read the book in 2002 and made the journey from our home in Virginia to visit Savannah for a few days. We were enchanted by city’s history, architecture… and humidity. Neither of us had any clue we would end up moving to the area by the end of 2017.

A lot had transpired throughout that fifteen-year journey that led us to the Georgia coast, one unforeseen change was my becoming a novelist. Having spent a decade establishing a bit of readership in the northeast, I am completely aware I’m lesser known in Savannah. And by “lesser known”, I mean not at all. Thus, is one reason I set up a table at this year’s Local Author Day, right in the heart of the city. Now, here’s a little secret about local author days:  if they aren’t run well, they can be AWFUL. It ends up being a bunch of writers staring at each other, eventually talking to each other, then taking each other’s cards for no reason whatsoever. I was afraid this might be the case with the event in Savannah. But… IT… WAS… AWESOME.

Not only was there lots of foot traffic from tourists, but plenty of locals stopped by. And when I say “locals”… well, remember Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah.

Savannah has some local flavor. There were men who may or may not have been bellhops. Women wearing enormous fur coats on a very warm day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least one poodle who wasn’t having ANY of this walking stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a kid with a Minotaur mask. A bishop staring at the kid with the Minotaur mask.

Oh… and readers too. I got to speak to lots of wonderful people who had a real interest in books. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there was the occasional lull in the action, but there were soooo many dogs around and I’m a huge dog person. One of my favorites was THIS guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be asking why I’ve expertly disguised his face. This is because I am a firm believer in the principal of innocent until proven guilty. Which obviously leads us to the story of Chicken BINGO. Obviously.

This entire event was part of a birthday celebration for esteemed writer Flannery O’Connor, who was born in Savannah. As part of this celebration,  something called Chicken BINGO was occurring on the other side of the square from where I was set up. From what I’m told, Chicken BINGO involves a large board of numbers and when a real live chicken defecates on that number, some lucky ticket holder wins… something. Anyway, I don’t know if it was before, during, or after the BINGO session, but I guess the chicken got away from the owner and strayed away from the fecal game card and away from its cage. And… well, did I mention there were lots of dogs around?

I couldn’t see it, but I heard plenty. A woof. Screams. Gags. Someone yelled, “Oh, my God!” Some people turned away and started crying. Through the pedestrians and shrubs I saw my large, white furry friend being escorted away. It was a shameful perp walk if there ever was one. That poultry never stood a chance.

But, THIS IS SPARTA… I mean, Savannah. Five minutes later, after the carcass had been scooped up, a band – complete with an accordion player – formed up, and led a line of children in a parade around the square. It was as if nobody remembered the chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I remember you, nameless chicken. I remember.

Now, all of this may seem a bit surreal to some of you. But, here is the best part. Throughout the afternoon, I watched all of this unfold and observed the faces of the writers who have lived here for many years. What I saw in their faces was – nothing. Other than the few moments surrounding the poultry homicide, nobody seemed to find any of this activity the least bit extravagant. It reminded me of a scene  in the movie version of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil when John Cusack’s character tells someone, “This place is fantastic; it’s like ‘Gone With the Wind’ on mescaline.”

I’ve never tried mescaline. But, Savannah is certainly fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

RECORD SCRATCH

Amazon

“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.

Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:

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!

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

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!

RECORD SCRATCH

Amazon

“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.

Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:

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!

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

 

 

 

 

Things That Will Cause a Novelist to Kill You

I’m on Facebook and Twitter as much as the next writer and I’ll occasionally send out a tweet or post about something somebody has done to annoy me and how I’m tempted to create a thinly veiled version of that individual and have them…well, die.

In a book.

Yes, definitely in a book.

Which got me to thinking about what my latest Top Ten list would be for these annoying activities. I say “latest” because a list like this needs to remain fluid. We are all human and our levels of annoyances regarding certain activities can differ from one day to another. For instance, there was a time when simply having neon lights outlining the bottom of your Honda Accord that you loaded down with a $3000 stereo might have me considering getting you hit by a locomotive in Chapter 4 of a future thriller. However, I’ve mellowed.

So, for the moment here is my Top Ten ways to get yourself killed in one of my books.

10. General idiocy – This broad category may include racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, or the belief my home state of West Virginia is near the ocean. It’s not. That’s why the word WEST is in there. Any of these may get you shot, stabbed, dismembered, or electrocuted. Understandably, the multiple avenues of ignorance here necessitate the multiple possibilities for your demise.

9. Singing in the gym – You wore headphones. Nice work. You realized not everyone wanted to hear your favorite music. Awesome. However, now you’re singing and everyone can hear your karaoke version of Enter Sandman. It’s not pretty. You’ve chosen poorly and it’s likely you get crushed by dumbbells in a particularly gruesome chapter.

8. Referring to your vacation as a “vaca” – Your “vaca” is not okay. I admit this seems minor, so perhaps I haven’t mellowed. But, when I hear anyone say they are going on a vaca it makes me crazy. Or as some people like to say, it makes me “cra-cra”. Which, not coincidentally, will also get you killed.

7. Shooting off fireworks after the legal cut-off time – Get off my lawn! Yes, this is my grumpy ol’ man item, but I have a young child, two dogs who are terrified of fireworks, and everyone in Georgia seems to like shooting them off in the neighborhoods. I have to tolerate it up until the cut-off time, but then I’m done. You’ll die in some sort of explosion in a future book. Or perhaps I’ll only give you a painful disfigurement. Hey! I have mellowed!

6. Watching and believing Fox News – I’m not even going into this other than to say a television is going to fall on you and you’re going to stop breathing.

5. Using the word “we” when discussing your favorite sports team – Look – you’re exempt if you’re actually part of the aforementioned sports team. However, the odds are you aren’t. You didn’t throw the pass, score the goal, or hit the home run. You watched from the stands or from your couch just like millions of others. Oh, you were wearing a jersey???! Guess what? Still doesn’t count. You die in one of the later chapters of a novella in which a sports mascot dressed as a snapping turtle ironically, and tragically, snaps.

4. Being late – I’m super punctual. In fact, I’m usually early. Did you hear the one about the writer who actually beats his deadlines? Yeah, that’s me. So, I don’t deal well with anyone being late. If you keep me waiting for something there’s a better than average chance a character resembling you will be a step too slow getting out of the way of something moving really, really fast.

3. Telling me I should’t drink coffee – Are you suicidal? I mean…this could get you hurt in real life! So, if you do this then you better expect to get scolded to death in a short story somewhere along the way. Psycho!

2. Keeping your dog tied up outside all the time – I’m probably going to do the same to a character with a name like yours and nobody is coming for you. Ever.

1. Being unable to drive in a roundabout – Yes, it’s a road. Yes, it’s a circle. It’s both! Look, I get that Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. is busy and confusing. I’ll grant forgiveness for messing that one up. However, that tiny, single lane roundabout that popped up outside your suburban neighborhood is not some sort of giant codex that you need to solve before you can pass through. Whoever is in the circle has the right of way. Don’t stop in the roundabout. Doing so is real bad. Failure to adhere to basic traffic laws may cause and accident and will certainly get you whacked in an early chapter of a mystery. It might be a hit and run and the killer may never be caught. Because let’s face it – you don’t deserve closure.

Do you have a Top Ten? Comment below! Now remember – we’re talking about fiction here!

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.

October 2018

RECORD SCRATCH

Preorder

“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.

Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:

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!

BOLT ACTION REMEDY

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I Decided to Quit Writing

“What do you write?”

It was a simple question being asked of me at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Toronto last year. I’d already participated in a panel discussion and answered similar questions, but this time I was being asked by the wildly successful Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines, Dark Matter, Good Behavior, etc.) while we were standing in the hotel lobby. Everybody knew of him. A handful people knew of me.

I shrugged and said, “I just released my fourth breakout novel.”

He smiled politely and moved on to talk to someone who wasn’t spewing gibberish. Looking back, I think this is when my bitterness with the book industry really began to manifest itself and my usual sarcasm and self-deprecation developed more of an edge. You see, my first novel WAS a breakout novel and got a lot of recognition. It’s not like I became a household name or anything, but I couldn’t ask for much more from a debut. The first novel led to the second, which several fellow authors and reviewers referred to as my breakout novel. Then my third breakout novel came out. Then, I started a new series with a new publisher and REALLY nailed it with my fourth breakout novel. My fifth breakout novel is set to come out this September. I think it’s my best work to date.

However, the problem with my breakout novels is they haven’t really ever broken out of the realm of the well-received, but not NYT Bestseller list material. They sell some copies and they get great reviews, but that’s about the extent of it.

Throughout the past year, I’ve watched as several of my author friends received large book deals and sold the movie rights to their books. While I’ve been happy for them, I’m going to make a confession here. I got jealous. Then, I got pissed off at myself for getting jealous. Then, I got furious at myself for not being able to eliminate my pettiness even though I recognized its ridiculousness. Bouchercon came and went and in the meantime I had changed jobs and moved to a new state, causing me to walk away from my latest manuscript. The stress of the move and the career change weighed on me throughout the winter. Then, Super Bowl Sunday came and my wife and I had the television on while I was cooking something in the kitchen.

I wasn’t paying attention, but a commercial came on and I heard my wife say, “Oh, no.”

“What?”

“Nothing,” she said.

I looked at the television. Sure enough, there was a Super Bowl commercial for a movie based on a book that had beat one of mine for a major award. At the time, critics had praised that author’s debut as a breakout novel. And it was. Hollywood had said so.

It’s been five years since my first breakout novel and a few months since I decided to walk away from writing. I told my wife I was probably done for good. Understanding my frustration and how I HATED that I had let myself feel petty and bitter, she didn’t try to stop me. I told an author I respect, Ed Aymar, I might be done. He called me a dumbass. He’s delicate in that way. Regardless, I went months without typing a word.

Here is the point where you’re thinking, Oh get over yourself, moron. Do you know how hard it is to get traditionally published even one time? 

And you’re right.

You’re thinking, Cry me a river, J.J. Stop being such a drama queen and appreciate what you’ve accomplished.

And you’re right.

You might want to ask me, “Are you writing for stupid accolades or for the art itself? Isn’t writing it’s own reward?”

And these would be valid questions.

Three weeks ago, I started writing again. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it had something to do with the fact I had run into some retirees who had nothing to do after they left their careers. I’m a long way from retirement, but I don’t want to feel adrift when it’s time for the next chapter of my life and writing has always given me a purpose beyond my role in the workforce.

The writing process has been more difficult than it’s ever been for me. I question the characters I create. I question the plot direction. I question the dialogue. These difficulties have made me really evaluate what kind of stories I write and the life choices of the characters I’ve created. The ambiguity I’ve felt about my writing is showing up in how my characters react, or don’t react, to situations. The story I’m writing is taking a direction none of my other novels have. The protagonist is at a crossroads and has come to realize he has very little control over the variables of life. The actions and opinions of others are outside his sphere of influence and while our existences are complex, satisfaction with one’s actions is based on simplicity and learning to accept some of our own demons.

So, I’m writing my sixth novel. It deviates from anything I’ve done to date and the protagonist will have changed a great deal throughout the series. During the construction of this story, both the main character and I are trying to reconcile how our expectations affect ourrealities and vice versa.

I’d been starting to feel negative about the breakout label, but maybe its a good thing if every book is considered a breakout novel. We’re supposed to break into new territory with every new idea. Otherwise, the storylines of our own lives can become stale and predictable.

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

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

Guest on Inside Thrill Radio

I was recently a guest on Inside Thrill Radio. I was one of three guests on the show, all of whom had background in law enforcement and utilized the experience to write crime fiction. It was a great discussion. Here is the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2017/10/26/inside-thrill-radio-with-special-guests-micki-browning-jj-hensley-and-isabell

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

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

The Writer’s Fitness Program

Writing can be a sedentary endeavor. Hours upon hours are spent at a keyboard, churning out tens of thousands of words you hope someone other than yourself may read in the future. You can get lost in the work as your mind descends deeper and deeper into a story and your body sinks deeper and deeper into a desk chair.

Oscar Wild did not follow this plan. Now he’s dead. Do the math.

The task of writing a book may take months or even years and if you aren’t careful, your physical conditioning will suffer and you will not be prepared for what’s to come. So, I present to you the Writer’s Fitness Program.

 

When in the early stages of piecing together a manuscript, it is easy to get tunnel vision. You cannot see much else other than what is directly in front of you and little attention is paid to what will come at you in the future. The following exercises will undoubtedly* keep you from getting injured and prepare you for the trials laid before you.

(*I actually have no idea. “Undoubtedly” just sounded good in my head.)

First off – Curls

Writers like to drink. Now before you jump to any conclusions, many authors don’t drink alcohol. I mean, I don’t actually know any of those people, but I’m sure they exist. Regardless, they don’t always drink alcohol when they write (probably). During the course of writing a book, authors will continuously sip away from their mug, glass, goblet, or chalice (possibly depending on the genre) and the sipping will be done mindlessly. Before you know it, your arms are tired from all the typing and sipping and do you know why? DO YOU?

You are suffering because you didn’t train, so don’t make this mistake. Go find yourself some dumbbells and crank out some curls. The amount of weight and number of repetitions will depend on both your current fitness level and the amount you anticipate drinking during the writing of your book.

For instance, if you are writing a nonfiction account of a WWII battle, then you can probably get by with doing two sets of 15 repetitions using 10 lb weights. If you are writing crime fiction ;and not setting the book in New York City or using the word “Girl” in the title, plan on buying really heavy weights and try not to break any toes when they slip out of your character-killing hands.

Make sure your beverage can make it to your mouth.

Next up – Rows

Writers are usually their own worst critics. I say “usually” because there’s always that one guy who leaves a 1-star Amazon review because on page 52 of your last novel you called a gun a “pistol” instead of a “sidearm” and the guy thought “sidearm” would have sounded much more official. Anyway… throughout both the writing and editing processes, you will certainly throw your arms up in disbelief more times than you can count. Imagine your embarrassment when you pull a muscle while propelling your arms to the sky when you realize you named one of the characters after your favorite cousin and now you realize you have to kill him off. The character, not the cousin. Don’t kill your cousin.

Knock out a few rows and firm up those shoulders and back. This exercise has the added benefit of toughening up your abs, which will come in handy when you see your cousin at the next family reunion and he punches you in the gut for having his namesake pushed in front of a locomotive.

Don’t injure yourself with shrugs of frustration.

Also – Deadlift

Some writers, don’t ask me why, like to print out and keep their rejection letters in a box. While I’ve never done this, I’m certainly accumulated my share of rejections from literary agents and publishers. I’m fairly sure if I were to print them out and place them in a storage container, I would need to borrow a forklift if I were to ever want to move them. However for those more fortunate, perhaps the box is lighter. My incorporating deadlifts into your workout, you can ensure you don’t add injury to the insults.

Rejection hurts. But, it doesn’t have to HURT.

Finally – Punching

Nothing eliminates frustration like the act of hitting something repeatedly. I know several writers who practice martial arts or box. However if you prefer to hit and not get hit (not an unwise practice), then go beat on a heavy bag. It’s good cardiovascular exercise, a stress reliever, and you almost always win the fight. If you don’t win, don’t tell anyone. The act of punching may also help you with your manuscript as it serves as a reminder that most people cannot knock out another person with one punch. It’s not that simple, yet it still shows up in novels and on television. It just doesn’t happen that often and I don’t know why people keep writing it into stories. KNOCKING A PERSON UNCONSCIOUS IS A HARD THING TO…

Great. Now I’m frustrated and I need to go punch something.

Or do some curls.

Where is my chalice?

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

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
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https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in October 2017!

Preorder 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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

Cyprus 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.image1 

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

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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

 

On The Thrill Begins – Shutting Places Down Like Eliot Ness

Many of you may not know this, but my road to publication came with some major potholes. As part of the Tough Times series on The Thrill Begins, I explain how I started to feel Untouchable – in a very bad way.

http://thrillbegins.com/2017/05/11/shutting-down-places-like-eliot-ness/

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

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

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