A professor of literature, film, and communications in Kentucky, Rock has been a newspaperman, a sales manager, a contributing editor to several magazines, and a bad guitarist in a garage band. Raised in Kansas, he shot basketballs and pheasant in his youth.

Now he plots mysteries, murders, and mayhem. At present, he has penned four novels and a book of short stories. He lives with his wife in Warren County, OH. There, Rock Neelly writes.


“What do wounded warriors do when they return from war missing a leg or two? These tough guys start The Purple Heart Detective Agency. Using battle-tested skills, laughing all the way, when others have turned their backs, these sleuths solve mysteries. Rock Neelly’s novel is easy to pick-up, hard to put down.”

– Robert Beattie, author of Nightmare in Wichita: Hunt for the BTK Strangler

“Rock Neelly hands the reader well-defined, believable characters, caught up in a deft blend of old-school detective noir and modern technology.”

– Brian Dobbins, author of The Witch’s Cartel and Corryville. 

The sudden disappearance of a magician isn’t usually cause for alarm, but it’s a different story when the disappearance isn’t part of the act.

Clay and Roddy are two war veterans – both amputees – trying to rebuild their shattered lives through their struggling Purple Heart Detective Agency. Then the beautiful Angela Thayer enters the picture, asking for their help in finding her missing friend and employer, Trevor Baker – stage name, Merlyn the Magician. The high profile case promises to jumpstart their careers…until the search leads to betrayal, intrigue and mind control. And then the murders begin…

A hard-boiled detective story of murder and mayhem, a war story of pathos and survival, an action story of intrigue and violence, a love story of abandon and betrayal, a stick in the eye of the entertainment industry, wry social commentary on how America treats its veterans of war, but mostly a rousing tale of brotherhood in war and beyond.

And of course, a foul-mouthed monkey named Jerry.


The ordinary writer often has trouble switching from novel to short story. But then again, Rock Neelly is no ordinary writer. Following up on his highly acclaimed “Purple Heart Detective” series, Neelly has penned a series of short stories that not only fill in gaps on some of the series’ already well-defined characters, but also stand on their own as yarns worthy of attention. Reading a Rock Neelly story leaves you wanting to know the shipping date for the next one.
— Rick Robinson, 2017 Winner, Best Fiction, Hollywood Book Festival & 2013 International Independent Author of the YearThe perilous life of a detective is definitely not a 9 to 5 gig. Every case offers a different way to die. You can’t make a false step—and our wounded warriors only have one leg left between the two of them. The Purple Heart Detective Agency’s Roddy O’Malley and Clayton Grace, decorated veterans of the Iraq War, now sleuths, know the mean streets of the City of Angels well and they’d thought they’d seen it all. But in these new adventures, each case is stranger than the last. Are they up to the task? Lives and loves in the noir world of underworld Los Angeles are hanging in the balance.

The Babylon Blues has a clip full of new adventures with our favorite damaged private eyes, Roddy O’Malley and Clayton Grace. The soldiers turned detectives risk life and limb again and again, busting heads and cracking wise as they battle gang banger moguls, assassins, would-be vampires, and other cockroaches right out of the cracks in L.A.’s mean streets! Roddy and Grace are noir throwbacks to the time of Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade, sleuths cut from the mold created by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, but with a modern twist—in a pinch these wounded warriors can turn to weaponry and buddies straight out of the U.S. Army.

It’s the height of the Great Recession, and Roddy and Grace, partners in The Purple Heart Detective Agency, have fallen upon hard times. Reduced to repo work and shilling for the Military-Industrial Complex, they are barely scraping by. But then a new case arrives, and suddenly all hell breaks loose!

In a single week, the two wounded warriors are forced to battle the Mexican drug cartel, remnants of the Iraqi resistance, a Los Angeles street gang, and the Russian sex trade mob. With new friends and old enemies, Roddy and Grace bang heads and empty clips as they pursue answers—answers that may destroy the lives of those they have sworn to protect. The two detectives, surrounded by the band of brothers who helped them survive the Iraq War, will be forced the make deals with the very devils they seek to line up in the crosshairs. And while the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the body count continues to rise.

The Prince of the Border begins with a rush of adrenaline and stokes the flames until the final scene. Don’t miss this edgy noir classic!

A young black girl disappears from Cincinnati’s West End. No witnesses, no leads. Two days later, a white girl the same age is snatched from Hyde Park Square. Cincinnati’s mayor receives a letter brutally stating: “Find the black girl and we’ll return the white girl.”

The fuse lit, two female detectives race to uncover the kidnappers. Hope dwindles as time accumulates, and passes, without resolution. Cincinnati PD and the FBI form an uneasy alliance while battling the city’s racial stereotypes and stigmas.

In the latest thriller from Rock Neelly, author of the Purple Heart Detective Agency and the Prince of the Border, readers ride shotgun through the Queen City in police patrol cars, searching recently vacated safe rooms, questioning sorrowful family members, grilling drug lords, looking for anonymous white vans and dark motives. Each detective is tough on her own, combining to make a ferocious duo, but will that be enough…and in time.

Weaving together race, law enforcement, family ties, buried history, and life along the banks of the Ohio River, readers will face their own assumptions as they see suspicions reflected on the page. Written with complicated realistic characters, River of Tears makes us think about missing girls used as pawns – and what we would do if we had to find them?

“In Neelly’s taut new thriller, racism and civil unrest ratchet up the tensions on the mean streets of Cincinnati where Detectives Madison Jane Monroe and Rosie Coleman hustle to catch a kidnapper before it’s too late.” – Cedric Rose, Mercantile Library.