Thriller / Suspense
Date Published: 7/28/2015
James Lilliefors's unlikely detective duo, Pastor Luke Bowers and homicide investigator Amy Hunter, return in a new murder mystery set in Maryland's picturesque Tidewater County
Tourists like Susan Champlain pass through the Chesapeake Bay region every year. But when Susan pays Pastor Luke Bowers a visit, he's disturbed by what she shares with him. Her husband has a short temper, she says, and recently threatened to make her "disappear" because of a photo Susan took on her phone.
Luke is concerned enough to tip off Tidewater County's chief homicide investigator, Amy Hunter. That night, Susan's body is found at the foot of the Widow's Point bluff. Hunter soon discovers Susan left behind clues that may connect her fate to a series of killings in the Northeast, a powerful criminal enterprise, and to a missing Rembrandt masterpiece,The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Whoever is behind the killings has created a storm of deception and betrayal, a deliberate "tempest" designed to obscure the truth. Now Hunter and Bowers must join forces to trace the dangerous secret glimpsed in Susan's photo. But will they be the next targets on a killer's deadly agenda . . . ?
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Somewhere in the middle, or maybe three-quarters of the way through, is often the toughest part. That’s when you have to decide what to cut, what to keep in and where it’s all headed. When the book’s going well, the characters do much of the decision-making. Other times, it can be a little like running a marathon (something I used to do). The beginning, no sweat. The final miles, you anticipate the ending. Three-quarters in, the finish line may seem farther away than it really is; that’s when you need the faith to keep going.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
Beethoven’s Seventh, the Beatles’ Girl, Lynne Clarke’s Plant Seeds, Bruce Springsteen’s Prove It All Night (live, 1978).
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I do have a very valuable first reader, yes, who tells me honestly all the places she thinks I’ve gone off track.
What book are you reading now?
Mr. Putin by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy. It’s partly research for my new novel but also a great read.
How did you start your writing career?
Making up stories in my room as a boy and writing some of them down. Later I discovered journalism and that became my career for many years. I still think of what I do as a kind of journalism.
I have two series going – the Amy Hunter/Luke Bowers novels, which are mysteries set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; and the Mallory Brothers books, which are geopolitical espionage novels.
The protagonists in the first are Pastor Luke Bowers and homicide investigator Amy Hunter; in the second, Charles Mallory, a private intelligence contractor and former CIA agent, and his brother Jon, a Washington-based investigative journalist.
The first book in the Bowers/Hunter series was The Psalmist. The new one, The Tempest, takes readers into the world of stolen art, in particular the theft and fate of Rembrandt’s painting The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. A third book in the series, tentatively called The Harvest, should be out next year.
I’m finishing the third book now in the Mallory Brothers series and hope it will be out next year as well.
About the Author
James Lilliefors is the author of the geopolitical thriller novels The Leviathan Effect and Viral. A journalist and novelist who grew up near Washington, D.C., Lilliefors is also the author of three nonfiction books. The Psalmist and The Tempest are the first two books in the Luke Bowers and Amy Hunter series