Tom Wallace is the award-winning author of six mysteries featuring Lexington, Kentucky Detective Jack Dantzler—The Poker Game, The Fire of Heaven, The List, Gnosis, The Devil’s Racket and What Matters Blood. He also wrote the thriller, Heirs of Cain.
In 2010, Tom’s novel, Gnosis, won the prestigious Claymore Award at the Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. Gnosis would go on to become one of the most downloaded e-books on Amazon in 2013. In 2007, The Devil’s Racket also took home a top prize, capturing the Mystery Novel Award.
A graduate of Western Kentucky University’s outstanding Journalism Department, Tom spent many years as a
From 1986 until 1993, Tom worked for the legendary broadcaster, Cawood Ledford, serving as the editor for the successful sportswriter in his native Kentucky. From 1983-86, he served as sports editor for the Gleaner in Henderson, where he twice was honored by the Kentucky Press Association for writing the best sports story in the state.
Cawood on Kentucky, a weekly publication covering UK basketball and football. During that time, Tom also wrote many of Cawood’s TV and radio commentaries. He also helped put together and write Cawood’s Comments.
As a freelance writer, Tom has authored five sports-related books, among them the highly popular Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia, an in-depth history of the University of Kentucky’s legendary hoops program. He has also written books with former Wildcats Travis Ford and Jeff Sheppard. In addition to those books, Tom and the late John McGill wrote Embracing the Legend with former UCLA coach Jim Harrick.
Tom, a Vietnam vet, lives in Lexington and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and the Author’s Guild.
Legendary homicide detective Jack Dantzler has never failed to solve a murder. Thirty-three killers apprehended, tried, convicted. Perfect, like God’s soul. But Dantzler’s perfection ends when three college women are brutally murdered, victims of a serial killer who strangles his prey, decorates their bodies with a St. Jude medal and photo of Michelangelo’s Pieta, then lacerates the jugular post-mortem. The series of murders reawaken Dantzler’s memories of his own mother’s murder when he was still a young boy. As he delves deeper into the case, haunted by thoughts of his mother, Dantzler must first regain control of his own emotions. What Matters Blood presents Dantzler with his ultimate challenge, entering into the dark and twisted mind of a cunning adversary, who will stop at nothing to prevail in what he calls this “Waltz of Death” with the great detective.
Murder, mystery and redemption are at the heart of “Gnosis.”
Detective Jack Dantzler has no clue why he has been summoned to the prison to meet with the Reverend Eli Whitehouse, a man convicted of committing a double murder twenty-nine years ago. He is stunned when Eli claims to be innocent and wants Dantzler to prove it. But Eli only gives Dantzler a single clue—look at the obituaries in the local paper for a specific two-week period. Reluctantly, Dantzler agrees to look into the case. As he does, two more people are brutally murdered. And although Dantzler isn’t aware of it, he has become a target for the killer. Dantzler goes back to Eli and pleads for another clue. All Eli says is, “think of Jesus’s empty tomb.” It will be this whispered utterance that unlocks the mystery and reveals the killer’s identity. But this isn’t just any ordinary killer. This is a man with a dark and bloody past, a man with connections to the highest levels of organized crime. Dantzler is now on the trail of an ice-cold assassin, fully aware that one slip will mean instant death.
Sometimes having too much knowledge can lead to deadly consequences.
Detective Jack Dantzler always believed his father was killed by a sniper in Vietnam. Dantzler’s world is rocked when a stranger shows up and informs him that his father died in Laos, and was killed by the CIA. Dantzler asks the stranger how he can uncover the real truth. The stranger tells Dantzler there is only one man who can help him—the legendary assassin called Cain. Dantzler contacts Cain, and Cain agrees to help. But when a U.S. general is assassinated in Las Vegas, Cain’s priorities change. He knows who killed the general, and he knows the names of the men who ordered the hit. He also knows they must pay for their sins, and he’s the one who will collect the bill. Cain and Dantzler are on the trail of dangerous men who will stop at nothing to save their empire, an empire built on greed, treason and murder. But what Cain doesn’t know is that a Russian assassin has him in her crosshairs. The hunter has become the hunted. The List is a fast-paced thriller that takes readers on a deadly journey, and proves once again why Night Owl Review called Tom Wallace a “powerful and compelling” writer.
Lexington Detective Jack Dantzler is asked to look into a death that has been ruled a suicide. When he learns how the person died-cyanide poisoning-he immediately suspects that the victim was murdered. Although the death occurred in another county, Dantzler agrees to look into what is a closed case. However, before he can begin his investigation, a medical clinic is bombed and a woman dies in the blast. Within days, the owner of the clinic is murdered. As Dantzler digs deeper into these cases, he begins to suspect that the murders are somehow linked together. But how? And who is the link? Dantzler’s list of potential suspects grows, and so does the body count. Suddenly, Dantzler is scrambling to bring down the killer-or killers-before more blood is spilled. It’s a race he cannot afford to lose. The Fire of Heaven features a cast of memorable characters, headed, of course, by Dantzler, the gifted detective critics have compared to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. Critic Natasha Jackson said it best: “The Fire of Heaven pulls you in right from the very first paragraph, and Tom Wallace does a great job of creating a world-class detective in Dantzler.”
Judge Leonard Kurtz presides over a Saturday-night poker game fifty weeks each year. But this is no ordinary game—it begins at precisely seven p.m. and lasts exactly twelve hours, and to sit at the table, each of the six players must have ten-thousand dollars in cash. But then, on a warm summer night, five players are brutally murdered, victims of a single gunshot wound to the head. Veteran homicide detective Jack Dantzler is faced with the task of finding the person—or persons—responsible for the crime. His initial questions are, which of the victims was the primary target, and what is the name of the missing player? Was that player lucky, or could he be the killer? As Dantzler begins to peel away the many layers of this baffling case, the answers he finds are not what he expected. They put him on several different paths, including one that will bring him face to face with the only murderer he has failed to catch.
When Jack Dantzler gets word that a former detective has committed suicide, he isn’t particularly shocked. After all, it’s a well-known fact that cops have a notoriously high suicide rate. A few days later, Dantzler learns that a second ex-cop has apparently taken his own life. But this time, when Dantzler takes one look at the scene, he realizes this is no suicide. This is murder. Things become even more troubling when it is discovered that each of the dead detectives were in possession of more than one-hundred thousand dollars, more than enough to cause Dantzler to wonder how two former cops could come up with that much cash.
Julie Bradley, author of two successful True Crime books, has been told by a source that a young woman was murdered in Lexington fifteen years ago, and the crime has never been solved. She is also given the names of six former cops who, she is told, “will be at the heart of your story.” But as Julie undertakes her research for the book, two more men are murdered, including her source for the story. Making matters worse, suddenly, Julie’s own life is in danger.
As Dantzler begins to peel away the layers surrounding this confusing mystery, he finds himself on a dark journey that leads him to a truth that is as personally shattering as it is unexpected.
Murder by Suicide proves once again why critics say “Tom Wallace excels in his ability to make his characters come alive.”
Struggling actor Danny Kafka is about to see his dream come true—he’s been hired to play a key role in a big movie to be filmed in Chicago. But when Danny, a Medal of Honor war hero, arrives in the Windy City, he is immediately arrested for the murder of United States Senator Dana Shapiro. And the evidence against him is overwhelming; he’s seen on tape announcing his intention to commit the crime, and his fingerprints are on the murder weapon.
Jack Dantzler, now a private investigator, receives a call from Grace West, the famous Chicago defense attorney with whom he once had a romantic relationship. She wants Dantzler to help prove Danny’s innocence. Reluctantly, he agrees to meet with Danny and to hear his story. Dantzler listens and instantly concludes that the kid has been framed for the crime. He agrees to take the case.
Dantzler’s investigation, which takes him from Chicago to Manhattan to Los Angeles, pits him against powerful men who occupy the highest corridors of power in two of the world’s mightiest countries. And they are not about to let a lone private investigator bring them down.
Dantzler’s digging into the case could well result in digging his own grave.
Heroes For Ghosts is the latest example of why critics say, “Tom Wallace excels in his ability to make his characters come alive.”
After winning a tennis tournament in Cincinnati, Jack Dantzler is approached by a man he once played against. The man wants to speak with Dantzler about a murder that occurred sixteen years ago. When Dantzler asks who the murder victim was, the man says it was his daughter, Jax. He wants Dantzler to look into finding Jax’s killer. Dantzler is reluctant—cold cases are rarely ever solved—but he eventually relents and agrees to take the job. For Dantzler, knowing a killer might be walking free is unacceptable.
As Dantzler begins digging into the case he learns that the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on the dead girl was murdered two years ago. Despite the lengthy gap between the two crimes, Dantzler becomes convinced they are related. To move things along, he enlists True Crime author Julie Bradley to help with research. This decision turns out to be a mistake—Julie’s recklessness puts her life in immediate danger. Now Dantzler must protect Julie while also trying to solve a pair of homicides.
For Dantzler, the key to success lies in finding Jax’s journal. But when the journal is located, what Dantzler reads is both informative and disturbing. The dead girl’s words describe a relationship that is dark, deadly and forbidden. They also put Dantzler on a twisted journey that brings him face-to-face with his own death. Suddenly, finding a killer is secondary to staying alive.
As critics have previously noted, Tom Wallace has “created an entire cast of memorable characters without taking the focus off (Jack) Dantzler.”
Jack Dantzler is surprised when Kentucky governor Mark Baker calls and requests a late-night meeting. Dantzler is reluctant to say yes, but eventually agrees to the
meeting. Dantzler is surprised to learn that the governor is being blackmailed. He’s even more surprised when the governor says he wants Dantzler to find out who is behind the
Dantzler agrees to help, unaware that he is setting forth on an investigation that involves two of this country’s deepest and darkest sins—anti-Semitism and white
supremacy. It’s a case unlike any Dantzler has ever undertaken in the past. Although the blackmailer is murdered, Dantzler knows there is far more evil to
uncover. It’s at this point that Sam Rosen arrives on the scene, seeking Dantzler’s help in bringing a former ex-Nazi to justice. To do this requires Dantzler to put his life at risk by
joining a group of white supremacists. Once he’s accepted into the group, he learns that a planned bombing is in the works. Now he is in a race to find out who has ordered the
bomb, and where it will be placed. What Dantzler doesn’t know is that the bomb’s location is dangerously close to home.
The race to find it is on, and failure to do so is not an option.
Nick Gabriel is a script doctor for the movies and the author of a successful one-man play about William Blake. In LA, he has dinner with his daughter, Angel, a student at USC, and a friend of hers named Carly King. Carly informs Nick that her mother, younger sister, and stepfather were murdered on 9/11. Carly, 12 at the time, was spending the night with a friend when her family was murdered. Nick decides to travel to Carly’s hometown, Lexington, Ky., with the idea of possibly writing an original screenplay based on the crime. There, he is soon joined by Angel and Carly.
Nick hooks up with retired detective Tom Mills, the original investigator, and Harper Young, a rookie detective who is working the Cold Case files. Their investigation will soon unveil the names of Sebastian Carlyle and Emily Lowell, both of whom worked with Carly’s stepfather in a somewhat nefarious business. As the investigation unfolds, and after two more homicides, Nick becomes convinced that Carly, an expert shot with a pistol, might be the killer. It’s a dark thought, and one Nick hopes isn’t true. But is it?
Jacob Cohen enters O’Toole’s, an Irish pub owned by Rico Sabatini, an Italian, and orders a pint of Guinness. Displeased with the way Rico pours the pint, Jacob offers to demonstrate how it’s properly done. Rico likes Jacob and immediately offers him a job as bartender, which Jacob accepts. Jacob works well with Elaine Bradley, the co-bartender, and the three waitresses, all christened Molly by Rico as a tribute to the Molly Bloom character in James Joyce’s classic novel Ulysses.
Not long after taking the job, two events disrupt Jacob’s nice, quiet life. First, Jacob gets word that a man is intent on killing him, and second, Jacob finds himself caught in the middle of an oncoming war between Angelo Moretti’s Italian mob and Ivan Karpov’s Russian gang. Not only is Jacob’s life in imminent danger, he is also under the watchful eyes of the FBI and the local cops. Jacob tries to distance himself from what is happening, but when Rico Sabatini’s daughter is taken prisoner by the Russians, all bets are off. He has no choice but to put his life on the line to save her. Can he succeed? Perhaps.
For, as the FBI agent says, “Jacob Cohen is more than just a bartender.”
Pick up your copy of O’Tool’s Pub today