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Former U.S. Army investigator Mason Collins grapples with a web of lies, secrets, and murder as he races against time to save the lives of abducted teenagers in a case as twisted as the streets of Tangier’s medina.

After Mason busted up a powerful crime ring in occupied Germany, a shadowy organization has put a contract out on his life. He thought he’d eluded the assassins, but in a plaza in Marseille, France, the assassins now have him in their sights. Just as they close in for the kill, a flamboyant stranger offers Mason a way out, but only if he accompanies the stranger to Tangier, Morocco, to investigate the abductions of teenage girls. The man seems as two-faced as Janus, but the plight of the innocent girls boils Mason’s blood, and he agrees to go.

Once Mason lands in Tangier, he discovers that nothing—or no one—is what it seems. This playground for the super-rich is called the wickedest city in the world, where anything goes.

As Mason digs deeper into the girls’ abductions, he realizes everyone has a hidden agenda, including those who harbor a terrible secret. And just as Mason begins to unravel the mystery, the assassins have once again picked up his trail. Now, Mason must put his life on the line to find the girls and discover who’s behind the heinous crimes before it’s too late. If he lives that long…

The Big Thrill spent some time with author John A. Connell discussing his latest thriller, BONES OF THE INNOCENT. Here’s what he had to say:

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

I’ve always been a Sherlock Holmes fan, but I first connected historical crime fiction after discovering Ellis Peters’s (really Edith Pargeter) series of the monk detective, Brother Cadfael, and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. I thought, how cool was it to have a detective in the Middle Ages? Later came Martin Cruz Smith, David Downing, and, of course, the late, great Philip Kerr for their great characters and stories taking place before, during, and after WWII.

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

I hope readers find a compelling story that keeps them guessing and on the edge of their seat. That the story has enough pathos and joy, good and evil, drama and moral dilemmas to keep any reader happy. But for lovers of historical crime fiction, they also get to drop back into Tangier during this amazing time.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

I’ve always been drawn to novels that pull you into a historical setting, making you feel as if you were there, peering into a window of another time and place and walking in the characters’ shoes along the paving stones of the past. Then I discovered the fascinating history of post-WWII and had to write crime fiction during this era. For BONES OF THE INNOCENT, it was the crazy, downright jaw-dropping history of Tangier. It reminded me of the film Casablanca on steroids. I couldn’t wait to dump Mason into the middle of that cauldron.


John A. Connell is a 2016 Barry Award nominee and the author of the Mason Collins series. John has worked as a cameraman on films such as Jurassic Park and Thelma and Louise and on TV shows including NYPD Blue and The Practice. Atlanta-born, he spends his time between the US and France.

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.