Book 2 now available!
“Wilson’s excellent sequel to Relentless finds Brick Kavanagh, a former Washington, D.C., police detective, back home after three months in Ireland, where he was recovering from the previous book’s traumatic events. Now, at 42, he’s ready to try something new. One possibility, suggested by Grace Alexander, a professor at a local university, is for him to teach a seminar on cold cases to students of criminology. Grace even has a real case in mind—the hit-and-run death of a grad student—though it’s complicated by the prime suspect having diplomatic immunity. Then, on a weekend in Chicago with a flight attendant he met in Ireland, Brick hears that the wife and infant twins of his friend and former partner, Ron Hayes, have vanished, possibly kidnapped. Back in D.C., Brick lends Ron his wholehearted support, even as some disturbing information about his friend surfaces in the course of the investigation. Never mind, as Brick and Ron admit, that dumb luck and coincidence result in satisfying resolutions to both cases: it’s a cracking good time. One doesn’t have to be a mystery fan to relish this.” [Publishers Weekly Starred Review]
Praise for the Brick Kavanagh Series
“The star of Duplicity is the endearing Brick Kavanagh. He’s the perfect and reassuring hero for our times—with honor and heart, with a gripping background and a complex personal life… When Kavanagh is on the case, you’re in for an engrossing and entertaining read.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Life
—David Putnam, bestselling author of the Bruno Johnson crime series
“The action is top-notch . . . Wilson does a good job whipping up some mysterious murders.”
—Matt Witten, author The Necklace
“[In Relentless,] Wilson has created a protagonist with the full complement of angst-inducing problems and an appealing white knight sense of decency.”
—Jamie Freveletti, best-selling author of Blood Run
—Matt Coyle, Anthony-award winning author of Wrong Light
Shawn was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, where she was a classmate of Mickey Spillane’s daughter. After graduating from high school, she attended Averett College in Danville, Virginia before moving to the Washington, D.C. area. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from American University and spent more than 30 years working for the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Those years confirmed her belief that on most days, there was more drama at the courthouse than at the Kennedy Center.
Having traveled on five continents, Shawn is very happy to call Chicago home.
Q & A
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not sure I knew it at the time, but in the days before email and Facebook connected us to the world, I corresponded with foreign pen pals. And since I grew up in a small town in upstate New York where the local library was my main source of entertainment, I had to use creative writing skills to make life seem more interesting than it really was. I loved writing letters and even liked writing term papers. I enjoyed doing the research as well as the actual writing.
What writers have inspired you?
Ed McBain, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, J.A. Jance. And Sue Grafton, not only for her Kinsey Millhone series, but her generosity in sharing her knowledge and encouragement to aspiring writers. In addition to mysteries, I enjoy reading memoirs and I’m often inspired by the stories the authors share. Like millions of readers, I loved Angela’s Ashes. When ‘Tis followed, I immediately bought a copy, and to my amazement I ran into Frank McCourt on a street in Georgetown when he was in Washington for a book signing. We had a very nice chat and he, of course, signed my copy of his book.
What is the writing process like for you?
I approach writing in much the same way I approach life—I’m a planner. But I also recognize the importance of being flexible, because as the saying goes, “life happens.” I spend a lot of time outlining before I actually start writing. Also, I sometimes use a Q&A interview of characters to get a sense of their voice and personalities and motivations. My favorite part of the writing process is rewriting and the satisfaction that results from making something better.
What inspired you to write RELENTLESS?
I enjoy traveling and have visited five continents. Being in a place where I didn’t speak the language and was unfamiliar with the culture was sometimes intimidating as a tourist, so I can only imagine what it’s like for an immigrant who comes to the United States hoping for a better life. I was fortunate to get to know several men and women in the Washington, D.C. area who faced that challenge. I was impressed with their work ethic and adaptability and, in some cases, envious of their multilingual skills. As far as I know, none were victims of a serious crime.
What part of writing your book did you find most challenging?
It’s always challenging for me to put the movie in my head into words on a page, especially scenes that are not very dramatic. A lot of police work and court proceedings are tedious, so it’s challenging to keep it realistic without boring the reader.
Are any characters based on real people?
Some are composites of people I know or have known, while others are figments of my imagination.
Anything autobiographical in your novel?
Even though I may not have realized it when I was there, I guess the time I’ve spent in Irish pubs was actually research.
What’s next for you?
I think Brick has series potential and I have some ideas I’m exploring for the next book. He is, after all, a baseball fan, and every baseball fan should visit Wrigley Field at least once in their life.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Write the book you want to read to the very best of your ability and pursue your dream. It may take longer than you would like but it is possible to make it a reality. I’m proof!