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To Colonel Zack Kelly, a trip to New York City is more than an opportunity to bond with his daughter, Laura.  It’s a chance to find out once and for all what happened to his father, an NYPD cop shot and killed by drug dealers, then branded a dirty cop some thirty years before.  Someone doesn’t want Zack to learn the truth of his father’s past.  When he arrives to talk to one of his father’s partners, he finds the man assaulted and on the floor of his apartment.  Zack suspects the corruption his father was investigating may reach as high as the New York City Police Commissioner.  Or maybe even higher?

Laura Kelly is caught up in an hijacking aboard the Staten Island Ferry.  Meanwhile Zack’s partner, Lieutenant Colonel Rene Garcia, uncovers a plot by a group of ex-military called the Forgotten Warriors to take over the Alamo in San Antonio.  Zack suspects these two events are connected and to find the solution, he’ll have to take the longest walk of his life.  And it may not even lead him home.

Don Helin took time out from his busy writing schedule to discuss LONG WALK HOME  with The Big Thrill.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

In today’s environment, things can happen fast and you have to be prepared to react.  One moment you may be enjoying the sun and water, the next you may be on a hijacked ferry.  People must learn to keep their cool and develop a plan to get out of any situation.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

It mixes New York City today with the New York City of thirty years ago.  LONG WALK HOME provides a historical perspective of the police force, to include the difference on tools the police had to work with.

Was there anything new you discovered or surprised you as you wrote this book?

It surprised me how easy it was to find motivation for veterans to hijack the Staten Island Ferry and to take over the Alamo in San Antonio.  These veterans have real problems that are not being effectively addressed.  Therefore readers sympathize with the veterans even though they are breaking the law.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material. 

I got the idea for LONG WALK HOME from my trips to New York City for ThrillerFest.  As retired military, I could stay at the Coast Guard Station on Staten Island, then take the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan.  One morning I was traveling on the ferry and got the thought, “What If” which always helps me form my ideas.  From that idea, LONG WALK HOME was born.

What authors have influenced you in your career and why?

There are so many great thriller writers.  First on my list is Lee Child.  Lee was the ITW Board representative when I was a debut author.  He took the time to work with our class and give us helpful advice.  Jon Land is another talented author.  He has been very helpful to me with his tips and with his blurbs.  I enjoy reading their books as they pace their novels, keeping me glued to the page.

Reviews for LONG WALK HOME:

“LONG WALK HOME is a bruising and blistering thriller, coolly reminiscent of Nelson DeMille at his best. Don Helin’s emotionally-wrought, angst-riddled, morality play is ever true to its title, making it a wondrous and tortuous tale of one man’s descent to hell and heroic climb out of it. A mystery of rare depth, pathos, and conviction.”
–Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of Strong to the Bone

“Fasten your safety belt!  Don Helin delivers a gripping, masterful thriller that unfolds at breakneck speed. From haunting memories of Afghanistan to terrorist attacks at the Statue of Liberty and the Alamo, to a 30-year murder mystery, there’s no stopping LONG WALK HOME. Take it all the way to its heart-thumping climax!”
–Gary Grossman, bestselling author of Executive Actions and Old Earth

“If you like thrillers with plenty of action, a strong cast of good and bad guys, corruption, and mayhem, you’ll love LONG WALK HOME. Don Helin will put you on an adrenaline ride of action and suspense.”
–Joseph Badal, Amazon #1 bestselling author of Sins of the Fathers


During his time in the military, Don Helin served at a number of stateside posts as well as overseas assignments in Vietnam and Europe. He is the author of five thrillers that draw from his military experience, including three tours in the Pentagon. His novel Secret Assault was selected as the Best Suspense Thriller at the 2015 Indie Book Awards.

Don is a member of International Thriller Writers, Military Writers Society of America, Pennwriters, a state-wide writers group in Pennsylvania, and is a mentor with Mystery Writers of America.

To learn more about Don, please visit his website.