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thriller-roundtable-logo5The late John Gardner suggested that all stories boil down to either, someone went on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. This week we’re joined by ITW Members Max Karpov, Elena Hartwell, Robert Black Whitehill, TG Wolff, Kelli Stanley and Humphrey Hawksley and we’re asking them: Do you agree? At their very core, how do you view your thrillers? Scroll down to the “comments” section – you won’t want to miss what they have to say!

Kelli Stanley is the Macavity Award-winning creator of the Miranda Corbie series (City of Dragons, City of Secrets, City of Ghosts), literary noir novels set in 1940 San Francisco and featuring “one of crime’s most arresting heroines” (Library Journal). She is also a Bruce Alexander Award and Golden Nugget Award winner, and a Shamus Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. Kelli has also published numerous short stories and essays, holds a Master’s Degree in Classics, and prefers her bourbon neat.


After years in the theater, Elena Hartwell turned her dramatic skills to fiction. She writes the Eddie Shoes Mystery series. One Dead, Two to Go received four nominations for “best mystery of 2016.” Two Heads are Deader Than One launched April 15, 2017. InD’Tale’s five-star review: “…a delightful heroine in a story that promises pleasant romance and a hint of danger with a twist of an ending.” She can usually be found in the tiny town of North Bend, WA, with her hubby, their dog, two horses, and a trio of cats.


Max Karpov is the author of the new Russia thriller The Children’s Game. Karpov is the nom de plume of James Lilliefors, who also writes the Bowers and Hunter mystery series (The Psalmist, The Tempest), featuring Methodist pastor Luke Bowers and homicide detective (and agnostic) Amy Hunter. Karpov/Lilliefors is a native of the Washington, D.C. area. He currently lives with his wife in South Florida.


Robert Blake Whitehill is a screenwriter and author of the award-winning, critically acclaimed, bestselling Ben Blackshaw Thrillers set on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. He has written highly rated true crime TV for Discovery, including The New Detectives, as well as UXO (Unexploded Ordnance), a feature script that won Whitehill a fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


TG Wolff writes thrillers and mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. Cause and effect drive the stories, drawing from 20+ years’ experience in Civil Engineering, where “cause” is more often a symptom of a bigger, more challenging problem. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.


Humphrey Hawksley is a journalist, author and commentator. His work as a BBC foreign correspondent has taken him to crises on every continent. He was expelled from Sri Lanka, opened the BBC’s television bureau in China, arrested in Serbia and initiated a global campaign against enslaved children in the chocolate industry. The campaign continues today. Hawksley is the author of the acclaimed ‘Future History’ series Dragon Strike, Dragon Fire and The Third World War that explores world conflict. MAN ON ICE is his fourth international political thriller. His work has appeared in the The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, Yale Global and other publications. His university lectures include Columbia, Cambridge, University College London and the London Business School.


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