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What kind of person would harm a child? P. I. Gabe McKenna and his buddy The Onion find out the hard way, when their plan to ransom a kidnapped boy goes horribly wrong. Finding themselves in a battle against international human traffickers, they rely on the help of unlikely friends in a race against time to rescue dozens of enslaved young victims. In a final, deadly showdown at a New Mexico ghost town, Gabe faces his ultimate challenge. How high a price is he willing to pay? Can he risk death and his own conscience to save the innocent without becoming worse than his enemies?

The Big Thrill caught up with award-winning author Robert D. Kidera to discuss the fourth installment of the Gabe McKenna mystery series, MIDNIGHT BLUES:

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

Hopefully, my readers will gain some insight into the corrosive problem of human trafficking, especially as it affects young people, native peoples, and the poor.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I believe that MIDNIGHT BLUES is topical and informative about a growing problem in this country and that it shows suspense novels can be both entertaining and address social problems in a responsible way at the same time. Thrillers and suspense novels can have serious purposes and social goals.

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

The most surprising aspect of human trafficking I came to appreciate was the sheer magnitude of it, and the difficulties law enforcement has when working across different jurisdictions, i.e. local, state, federal, and tribal personnel, trying to use resources and information in more effective ways.

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

Each of my Gabe McKenna novels features interesting secondary characters. That is one of the ways I try to keep the series fresh every time out. MIDNIGHT BLUES, even more than my other books, surrounds Gabe with some remarkable friends and allies. You won’t soon forget them.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

As I tell everyone who asks, I came to my writing career later in my life, and so the example of Raymond Chandler has strongly influenced me not only in style and subject matter, but in finding the courage as a writer to take a new creative challenge when others are looking to retire. Another writer who has had a formative role in my career is Donald Westlake, who shows how much you can do with an ensemble of great characters. I only wish I’d had the opportunity to thank those two gentlemen in person.


Robert D. Kidera’s debut novel, Red Gold, received the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction of 2015, and won Best Mystery of 2015, and Best eBook at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards.

Red Gold is the first novel in the Gabe McKenna Mystery series from Suspense Publishing. Its sequel, Get Lost, won Best Mystery and Best eBook in the 2016 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards competition. The third Gabe McKenna novel, Cut.Print.Kill., debuted in September of 2017 and has been nominated for Best Mystery and Best eBook of 2018. MIDNIGHT BLUES is the fourth Gabe McKenna novel.

To learn more about Robert, please visit his website.