Thomas Laird

Thoms Laird

Now published!

The Dancer in Autumn


The Dancer in Autumn is a novel that covers five decades in the life of its protagonist, Freddy Janek. Janek comes out of high school with the promise of being signed by the Chicago White Sox, but he leaves school after his freshman year in college in Chicago. He is promptly drafted and spends a tour in the Vietnam War.

When he returns home, he falls in love with Dee Dee Moret. They marry, but they're childless. Freddy and Dee then adopt a Vietnamese girl named Lin. Freddy lands a job at a Catholic high school teaching English and coaching baseball. His own baseball career ended when he came back and broke his leg trying out for those same White Sox. Now all he can do is watch younger men play the game. He turns back to his old game of Chicago style slow-pitch softball in order to re-live his former dreams.

When he approaches his fifties, his beloved wife Dee dies of cancer, and Freddy goes into a funk. Relief comes later with a potentially great baseball player at his high school, John (Doc) Holliday, a freshman at the school. The kid can throw a fastball at nearly 90 mph, and Freddy dreams of a State Championship. Complications with Holliday arise, however, and the struggle ensues as the novel ends.

The Dancer in Autumn is now published as an ebook from Parkgate Digital and is available via the BookShop.

Desert Storm Heart

A Novel of Chicago Streets

Thomas Laird’s sixth novel Desert Storm Heart (326 pages and $15.95) is released on June 28, 2013 by Parkgate Press / Dionysus Books. (Available on and Amazon worldwide.)

ISBN 978-1-937056-64-3                                                                                                      

To arrange a book signing or interview, contact Matt Fullerty at

Desert Storm Heart, back cover

Back Cover Blurb

Have you ever been trapped between two tough worlds? Desert Storm Heart is a crime thriller focused on the aftermath of the murders and rapes of several young girls in Kuwait during Desert Storm.

Book Description

Will Koehn, an NCIS investigator, looks into the slayings but never locates the killer. Later, he returns to the United States and subsequently becomes a Homicide detective for the Chicago Police Department. Soon more murders and rapes occur in Chicago, and the killer’s MO matches that of the girls murdered in Kuwait. The killer has followed Will home.


Thomas Palakeel, Professor of English at Bradley University, says:

Desert Storm Heart leaps out of the Conradian darkness of the Gulf War after a gore-thirsty Marine brings his murderous rage back home to America’s heartland. When he meets his match in the Chicago detective Will Koehn, a fellow Marine, a battle of wits commences in private and public. Laird offers a brilliant psychological portrait of a depraved, driven murderer and his enlightened pursuer.”

James Manlow, author of Attraction, says:

“Encountering a particularly nasty villain (or three), in Desert Storm Heart we’re hooked by the mystery—and the cruelty—of those who wield power, but mostly by our own curiosity for Detective Will Koehn’s lifestyle. How can a man with a healthy disrespect for the bad guys manage his own life so badly? Does he want a family, and to straighten out his ‘woman trouble,’ or does he just want to put a bullet in the bad guy’s back?”

Dr. Dean Lawson, University of East Carolina, says:

“Just when you thought it was safe to return to Chicago...Thomas Laird’s latest crime thriller packs a punch to the gut, and dissects the heart of an Iraq War veteran turned Chicago cop.”

Desert Storm Heart, front cover

From the Author: Meet Thomas Laird!

1) Thomas Laird will be signing copies of Desert Strom Heart at independent bookstore I Know You Like a Book in Peoria Heights, Illinois from 2-4 pm on Saturday July 13, 2013. Don't miss the chance to meet Thomas and get a signed copy! I Know You Like a Book is run by Mary Beth Nebel and is located at 4707 N. Prospect Avenue, Peoria Heights, IL 61616 (tele. 309-685-2665 and I Know You Like a Book is on Facebook here).

2) A second signing will take place at Barnes & Noble in Peoria, Illinois, on Sunday July 14, 2013 at 2-4 pm. The address is Barnes & Noble, 5001 N. Big Hollow Road, Peoria, Illinois 61615.

Much appreciation for publicizing these events to the International Association of Crime Writers.

The Underground Detective

A Novel of Chicago Streets

Thomas Laird's fifth novel is The Underground Detective (2012).

Buy The Underground Detective is on Amazon here and Barnes and Noble here.

He has published four other novels: Cutter (2001), Season of the Assassin (2003), Black Dog (2004), Voices of the Dead (2006). His fiction has received favorable reviews from the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, The Independent on Sunday (UK) and Crime Time (UK).

Thomas Laird lives in Peoria, Illinois. Visit the Thomas Laird blog here.

The Underground Detective

Other titles by Thomas Laird

Endeavour Press in London (UK) has recently published the ebooks of three earlier Laird novels: Cutter, The Long Midnight and Season of the Assassin. A fourth novel, Black Dog, will follow shortly.

The Ruin of Souls was published in paperback on November 7, 2015 by Ecanus Publishing (UK). The ebook for The Ruin of Souls is also available from Ecanus here.

Here is some local news in Peoria, Illinois about the relase of The Ruin of Souls, plus the recent publication of baseball novel The Dancer in Autumn on November 14, 2015 from Parkgate Digital.

On March 1, 2016, Boats Against the Current was the Number 1 Bestseller on the Amazon Kindle UK list (serial killers).

The Color of Fear was published as on 31 August 2016 by Endeavour Press (UK) and is available on Amazon here.

The latest Jimmy Parisi title, Black Widower, is due in late 2016.

Desert Storm Heart (2013)

Desert Storm Heart, back cover

Have you ever been trapped between two tough worlds? Desert Storm Heart is a crime thriller focused on the aftermath of the murders and rapes of several young girls in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

Thomas Laird’s sixth novel Desert Storm Heart (326 pp and $15.95) was published in June 28, 2013 in paperback and May 14, 2014 in ebook (Kindle, Nook, iBook).

The Underground Detective (2012)

The Underground Detective

The Underground Detective is Thomas Laird's first crime novel in six years, and it proves the wait was worth it. It transcends genre thrillers and detective fiction and heads for pure literary territory.

The Underground Detective smacks of Raymond Chandler, James Lee Burke, and Stieg Larrsen. Don't miss it.

--Vincent Rocco, Evansville, Indiana

For The Underground Detective on Amazon, click this link.

Black Widower (2016 ebook)

Derek Skotadi is a dirty cop. And everyone knows it…

The problem is, he covers his tracks well and everyone is too afraid of him to talk.

Then Skotadi’s wife Jennifer goes missing and Detective Jimmy Parisi and his partner Doc Gibron, are not going to let it go.

But even without a body, they start to tail Skotadi, determined to bring him down.

Set in the mean streets of Chicago and the intense heat of Louisiana, Black Widower is a story of good versus evil, of man and beasts and of how love makes it all worthwhile.

The Color of Fear (2016 ebook)

the_color_of_fear_coverHomicide Detective Jimmy Parisi lives in a world of homicide, racism and tragedy.

After recently losing his wife, life is tough. Raising his two children on his own is hard enough, let alone when he is responsible for catching cold blooded killers and bringing them to justice. When Andres, an eight-year-old boy is murdered on Cabrini Green, Jimmy and his partner Doc are called to the scene of the crime. They must prove that the notorious gang of the projects were responsible, and get them behind bars before they can take any more innocent lives. But soon Jimmy finds himself falling for the victim’s mother, the beautiful Celia Dacy. Is there any hope for their relationship? Or will recent events keep them apart forever?

The Color of Fear is an explosive thriller packed full of tension, love and guilt.

In the Forests of The Night (2016 ebook)

The death count is rising by the day…. It’s the end of the seventies in Chicago, and body bags are turning up all over Lake Michigan. A serial killer is on the prowl, targeting the young, vulnerable girls who walk the cities cold streets.

Lieutenant Jimmy Parisi and his partner, Doc Gibron, know the man responsible is a thief named Casey McCaslin, they just can’t pin it on him. But everything changes when Casey picks up 18-year old Mary O’Connor, the daughter of coke heads who abandoned her when she was just a child....

With six bodies already to the killer's name, Lieutenant Jimmy Parisi and his partner Doc Gibron know that Casey’s urge to kill will return. It’s just a matter of time….

Set in the cold streets of Chicago during the Regan era, In the Forest of the Night is as dark as the cold waters of Lake Michigan, and as penetrating as the wind that comes off it.

Black Dog (2004 paperback / 2016 ebook)

'Black Dog' lives in the deep pit of the human soul, where desolation and depression also hang out. In this third Jimmy Parisi novel, the Chicago detective is fighting against fatigue and homicide burnout. His latest case involves a killer—Black Dog—who is draining the blood from young women before leaving them to die.

There are signs that a crude needle is being used in the process, and it looks like the work of someone who knows the art of mortuary science. Jimmy and his partner suspect that the blood is connected to satanic ritual and that vampire cults that celebrate the black arts are alive and well in sophisticated twenty-first-century Chicago.

For Black Dog on Amazon, click this link.

Boats Against the Current (2016 paperback / ebook)

‘More tightly knit than his even more grisly debut.’ – Kirkus Reviews

Jason Kennedy is a hard-nosed Vietnam Vet and no-nonsense Homicide Detective who is not afraid to tell it as he sees it. Drafted at the age of 19, Jason – known to those close to him as J.R. – returned from the Vietnam War a changed man. After dedicating his life to the service of both his family and the Chicago Police Department, J.R. is tested time and time again. He must fight to retain his dignity and honour as he comes up against the pervasive corruption of the police department, the loss of a partner and the exasperation of an unsolved string of murders.

Boats Against the Current is a gripping crime thriller and a comprehensive portrait of a life lived on the thin blue line – a line that will become increasingly blurred.

‘Laird keeps the suspense churning as leads fall apart.’ – Publishers Weekly ‘

‘It’s always good to get in at the start of something major. And I think that Lieutenant Jimmy Parisi…could be very major indeed. The publishers have come up with a winner here’ - Mark Timlin, The Independent

For Boats Against the Current on Amazon, click this link.

The Ruin of Souls (2015 paperback and ebook)


The Ruin of Souls is a post-World War II thriller that centers around an ex-SS captain, Eric Daemon, who escapes Nazi Germany at the end of the war and who is captured by the OSS in South America. Daemon is recruited to spy on East and West Germany during the Cold War, he finds himself in Chicago as part of a deal for his help in Europe. But when Daemon sets up his new residence, a survivor of the Holocaust, and the camp where the German officer did his evil, spots the SS captain on the streets of Chicago. Daemon murders the survivor, and Detective Jake Parisi of Chicago Homicide begins pursuit of the Nazi war criminal.

Season of the Assassin (2003 paperback / 2015 ebook)


In the 1960s, seven student nurses were murdered by an assailant who went unapprehended by Chicago police detective Jimmy Parisi's father. Now a frighteningly similar massacre has occurred.

"This well-paced, first thriller [has] an engaging narrator... and a new twist." --Publishers Weekly

For Season of the Assassin on Amazon, click this link.

Cutter (2001 paperback / 2015 ebook)


He’s a cutter. He accosts unsuspecting young women, he overwhelms them with a pad of ether. Then he kills them. And eviscerates the corpses. The crime scenes he leaves behind are not pretty. Nor is the talk, in this tough, tautly plotted, and tersely written crime novel that sets Jimmy Parisi of Chicago Homicide, a strictly no-nonsense kind of Italian cop, on the gruesome trail of an elusive but very efficient—and alarmingly active—killer.

For Cutter on Amazon, click this link.

Blue Collar and Other Stories (1994)

A collection of Thomas Laird's early police stories, published in over 20 U.S. literary magazines. Read the stories that gave birth to Detective Jimmy Parisi and Danny Mangan. A cult classic that started a career.

For Blue Collar and Other Stories on Amazon, click this link.