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In the middle of a withering heat wave, the murder of a top NFL cornerback draft pick in a house owned by developer Kent Kramer presents a puzzle for his best friend and Prosperity, NC, police chief Judd Wheeler. First, while the athlete was murdered naked in the kitchen, there are bloodstained bills in the pocket of his pants upstairs. Second, the stains aren’t from the player, but rather link to a second murder that took place in Morgan, the Bliss County seat, days earlier.

To solve the puzzle, Wheeler deals with a paroled sex offender, con games perpetrated by an itinerant tent preacher with a dark secret, a burgeoning motorcycle gang war, a phantom suspect who is always just beyond his grasp. In the small town of Prosperity, NC, it seems that nothing ever comes to a good end in the month of the Thunder Moon.


“Shamus Award nominee Richard Helms has written a damned fine book! Helms twists the plot like a strand of DNA without ever cheating the reader out of excitement or emotional depth. One of my favorite reads of the year! A big thumbs up for Thunder Moon!” –Reed Farrel Coleman three-time Shamus Award winning author of Innocent Monster

“With lots of suspects, lots of secondary characters, and enough plot threads to weave a hanky, the second Wheeler series entry is busy. But, amazingly, three-time Shamus Award nominee Helms keeps it all clear for readers as he moves the various plot elements toward a satisfying finale…Fun reading!” –Wes Lukowsky, ALA Booklist Online

“…An exciting police procedural…The story line is fast-paced from the opening eviction to the final immaculate interception. Wheeler is the focus who holds the plot together…as he methodically recreates the crime scenes as a diligent, intelligent and caring cop.” –Harriet Klausner, The Mystery Gazette


College professor Richard Helms retired in 2002 from active practice as a forensic psychologist. He has three Shamus Award nominations, four Derringer Award nominations, and is a 2011 Thriller Award nominee. In addition, he is the only author ever to win the Derringer Award in two different categories in the same year (2008). The parents of two grown children, Richard Helms and his lovely wife Elaine live, as they refer to it, “back in the trees” in a small town in North Carolina.

To learn more about Richard, please visit his website.