Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About David Wiltse


Blown Away
Copyright © 1997
by David Wiltse
How to Buy

A phantom bomber with a signature "Spring" bears a well-nursed grudge against New York City. To wreak vengeance on the city he holds responsible for his thwarted academic career, Spring launches a campaign of terror. His goal is purely revenge, but he is soon intercepted by a lowlife with higher aspirations: getting the city to fork up $5 million in exchange for no more bombings. Relying more on old-fashioned policework and Becker's instincts than on the kind of state-of-the-art technology employed by the eccentric bomber, Becker and FBI Agent Pegeen Haddad must track down the elusive Spring and his abettor before more lives are lost - and before the city caves in to Spring's demands. — from the jacket

Wiltse illuminates a broad spectrum of heroism and villainy with a colorful, often humorous cast of characters that makes agent Becker seem drab by comparison. These engaging folk will hold readers in thrall through a fast-paced, cleverly plotted tale that features plenty of action, on the street and off, and that will leave readers just as the title says. — Publishers Weekly

Characters are well defined and realistically developed. Becker, while sympathetic, remains intriguingly mythic and mysterious. — Library Journal

Bone Deep
Copyright © 1996
by David Wiltse
How to Buy

When heavy spring rains reveal a long-buried bag of bones, local police in the quiet Connecticut community of Clamden realize that a string of presumed runaways is really a case of serial murder. Someone is brutally slaying local teens and au pairs before taking them apart calmly, methodically, bone by bone. To find the killer, FBI agent John Becker is brought in to assist his old buddy, Clamden police chief Terrence "Tee" Terhune. — from the jacket

Wiltse manages to weave the psychological foibles of cops and criminals expertly, adding depth to a story that, even on the surface, is a nail-biter. — Publishers Weekly

Close to the Bone
Copyright © 1993
by David Wiltse
How to Buy

Terrorism, murder, and an icepick-wielding assassin are the pieces of a deadly puzzle John Becker must assemble before the killer strikes again, in this harrowing prequel to Prayer for the Dead. "A spellbinding thriller," Wrote Publishers Weekly of Wiltse's Prayer for the Dead. "Bloodcurdling and insanely original," said The New York Times Book Review. Now FBI agent John Becker is back to face Roger Bahoud, a mercurially violent international assassin who has descended on New York City for his latest victim: a visiting diplomat who holds the key to peace in the Middle East. A wild card too unpredictable for the KGB handlers who trained him, Bahoud is employed this time as a mercenary by Islamic fundamentalists. In the end, Becker must battle against time and his own psychological demons to outwit and outstep the ruthless Bahoud before the assassin can strike. The tension mounts and cuts close to the bone as Becker and Bahoud stalk each other in this taut, chilling thriller. — from the jacket

The Edge of Sleep
Copyright © 1994
by David Wiltse
How to Buy

A tantalizing thriller about a lethal pairing of two sociopaths who escape detection, in part because they don't fit the serial-killer bill. "David Wiltse is remorselessly skillful in capturing and holding our complete and breathless attention," said The New York Times Book Review about Prayer for the Dead, the author's first novel featuring former FBI agent John Becker. Now Wiltse brings Becker back in a thriller that breaks all the rules and takes the reader to the edge. The Edge of Sleep reunites John Becker with FBI agent Karen Crist, his former protegee and ex-lover. Crist is at her wit's end: little boys are disappearing, only to turn up murdered at an alarming — and increasing — rate. The killer is in free-fall: out of control, desperate, unchecked. What Becker and Crist don't suspect is that the murderer in no way fits the standard serial-killer profile. So even when they come face to face with the guilty, neither Becker's instincts nor Crist's training puts them any closer to breaking this chilling streak of crime. Before they come close to unmasking the killer, they will themselves become not so much the hunters as all-too-easy prey. Fast-paced and hard-driving, The Edge of Sleep is a brilliant novel of the hunter and the hunted that secures Wiltse's reputation as a writer who can keep readers up all night. — from the jacket

Wiltse, author of The Serpent, has written another edge-of-your-seat thriller. — Booklist

The Hangman's Knot
Copyright © 2003
by David Wiltse
St Martin's P
How to Buy

It's the hottest summer ever in Falls City, Nebraska. Acting deputy Billy Tree is struggling to readjust to his old hometown as well as recover from the shattering tragedy that ended his Secret Service career. But amid the shimmering heat, deserted barns, and burning plains, a horrifying, decades-old injustice is about to rear its ugly head when a stranger with a vendetta arrives, hell-bent on making Falls City pay for its sins...
It all begins for Billy when sinister miniature nooses arrive in his mail. And it soon escalates when deadly shots ring out in the night. Hot on the trail of a relentless killer, Billy discovers a viper's nest of secrets and lies that turns everything he thought he knew about his own family and the woman he loves into terrifying doubt-and renews the deep hatred that still festers beneath Falls City's rural peace ... — from the publisher

His kindest, gentlest outing yet. — Kirkus Reviews

... mood and local color ... incisively capturing the rhythms and details of rural life. — Publishers Weekly

Everyone who has driven through Nebraska knows how murderous thoughts can take hold. Wiltse showcases murder against the bleak backdrop of the Nebraska plains, the unforgiving landscape a good match for his characters. — Booklist

Wiltse has created one of the most intriguing lawmen in the current mystery genre. — Tulsa World

Soul-chilling ... David Wiltse's multi-layered tale, with more twists than that Hangman's Knot, demonstrates how a cruel past inevitably catches up with the present. — Philadelphia Inquirer

Copyright © 2002
by David Wiltse
St Martin's P
How to Buy

After a would-be assassin leaves Billy Tree's partner dead, and Tree wondering whether his own panicked firing played a part, the decorated Secret Service Agent suffers a crisis of confidence — in his ability, his courage, and his principles — that ends his career. He returns to his hometown, Falls City, Nebraska, in search of solitude and a chance to rediscover his moral center. But danger lurks where he least expects it: behind a small town's bigotry lies deadly intrigue. As the myth of rural tranquility explodes around him, Tree unravels a conspiracy more terrifying than his most haunting nightmares. — from the jacket

You'll never look at a grain silo in the same way after reading this novel. Wiltse injects his small-town Nebraska setting with Hitchcockian terror: a cornfield, a school yard, even pieces of farm equipment all move from ordinary to horrific in the blink of an eye. — Booklist

Wiltse ... [reveals] some dastardly new secret every forty pages or so. — Kirkus Reviews

The kind of spectacular violence that readers associate with Wiltse's novels. Wiltse is adept at pumping up the action. — Chicago Tribune

Terrifying ... a heart-stopping conclusion. — St Petersburg Times

Well-wrought, suspenseful scenes ... an engaging and occasionally frightening story. — Denver Rocky Mountain News

First-rate suspense and a knock-out ending. — Sullivan Sunday Democrat

Excellent characterizations, surprising moments of real humor, and a truly winning leading character. — Sulllivan County Democrat

Into the Fire
Copyright © 1995
by David Wiltse
How to Buy

A taut thriller studded with unexpected reversals and surprising intersections of con artists, hardened prisoners, and the wiliest of serial killers. Former FBI agent John Becker returns, in Wiltse's most absorbing shocker yet. Still on indefinite medical extension from the Bureau, Becker finds he can't fully disengage from the wackos and serial killers with whom he inexplicably shares a certain sensibility. An inmate from a maximum-security prison is sending Becker anonymous coded messages. After successfully decoding these unwanted missives, a reluctant Becker agrees to a face-to-face with the offender - who ultimately cuts a deal for his freedom with Becker's hated superior, Associate Director Hatcher. Even Becker can't anticipate the kind of demon Hatcher unwittingly unleashes, though he is the first to wise up to it. And he is the only one who can catch the fiend - by exploiting the very talent he would like most to repress: his uncanny empathy for the most twisted of criminal minds. — from the jacket

Engrossing. — Booklist

Wiltse takes the reader into the frightening recesses of the serial killer's world; those who choose to visit won't be able to put this book down. — Library Journal

Wiltse's characterizations are deft, believable and often funny, adding a welcome depth to this scary and very satisfying thunderbolt of a thriller. — Publishers Weekly

Prayer for the Dead
Copyright © 1992
by David Wiltse
How to Buy

A gripping cat-and-mouse tale of wide-eyed terror concerning a diabolical psychopath who's found the will to kill and a detective who's lost the will to win. A chilling thriller in the tradition of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs. — from the jacket

Wiltse displays powerful writing skills in this spellbinding thriller. ... builds tension with subtle, chilling precision. — Publishers Weekly

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