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thriller-roundtable-logo5ITW Members Jodé Millman, Sheila Lowe, Mike Houtz and Hilary Davidson join us this week to discuss researching their novels. Inquiring minds want to know, What was the most difficult thing to research in your last novel? Scroll down to the “comments” section to follow along!


After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. Consuming a steady diet of Clancy, Flynn, and Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, DARK SPIRAL DOWN, a Zebulon Award winner. The Rockies are right outside the office window.


Jodé Millman is an attorney who lives in and writes about the Hudson Valley. Her debut thriller, THE MIDNIGHT CALL was short-listed for the Clue Award and named “Best Police Procedural” by Also, she’s a podcast cohost/producer (Backstage with the Bardavon), writes a publishing law column for InSinC Quarterly and the bestselling theatre guide, “Seats:New York.”


Hilary Davidson has won two Anthony Awards as well as the Derringer, Spinetingler, and Crimespree awards. Her latest novel, One Small Sacrifice — published by Thomas & Mercer — received a starred review from Library Journal, which said, “Fans of Karin Slaughter, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner will devour this new police procedural, which boasts a strong female detective and an intriguing antagonist. Sheryn [Sterling] will draw in readers, and Davidson’s complex storytelling will keep them wanting more.”


Like her fictional character, Claudia Rose, Sheila Lowe is a real-life forensic handwriting examiner. The mother of a tattoo artist and a former rock star, she lives in Ventura, California. She is the author of five nonfiction books on handwriting psychology and seven in the Forensic Handwriting Mysteries series. Her new series is the Beyond the Veil Mysteries. Sheila frequently appears in the media when handwriting is in the news.