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After the trauma of his last case and three months recovering in Ireland, life is looking up for newly retired homicide detective Brian (Brick) Kavanagh. Back home in Washington, DC, a new job shows promise training criminology students in cold case techniques. While enjoying a whirlwind weekend in Chicago, he receives shocking news that his former partner’s wife and twin infants are missing. Brick rushes back to DC to support Ron, but as days pass, he questions how well he really knows this man. Brick finds gaping holes in the cold case and wonders if diplomatic immunity granted someone a get-out-of-jail-free card. Meanwhile, Ron’s family tragedy unfolds in a most bizarre way, and the escalating cold case points to high level corruption.

“Could not put it down! A terrific plot, yes, and wonderful settings—but the star of Duplicity is the endearing Brick Kavanagh. He’s the perfect and reassuring hero for our times—with honor and heart, with a gripping background and a complex personal life, but bottom line, he’s a truly good guy. When Kavanagh is on the case, you’re in for an engrossing and entertaining read.” — Author Hank Phillippi Ryan

“A police procedural steeped in knowledge about the area’s culture. Duplicity is a welcome addition to the growing Washington, DC fiction canon. The tension is accompanied with moments of heartbreak and relief and skillfully plotted twists that will keep the most ardent mystery fans guessing. Crime fiction fans are going to want to read more stories about Brick Kavanagh.” — Author E.A. Barres

Shawn Wilson recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, DUPLICITY.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Although plot took shape first, setting was a critical component. With all of the embassies and consulates in Washington. DC, diplomatic immunity is a way of life for those who qualify for the privilege. As a result, is it possible someone was granted a “get-out-of-jail-free” card?

Shawn Wilson

What attracts you to this book’s genre?
A combination of write what you know and write what interests you. For over thirty years, I worked with cops and the courts in Washington, DC. Often there was more drama than at the Kennedy Center, and it was unscripted.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
Duplicity was written during the pandemic. It was difficult to stay focused and motivated during that time, especially when everything was locked down. Not being able to write at a neighborhood Starbucks took its toll.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series. Although the plot details may be forgotten, Detective Stephen “Steve” Carella is memorable. And creating a memorable protagonist is exactly what I’ve tried to achieve with Brick Kavanagh. I was very pleased with a Publishers Weekly review that stated, “Wilson has created a protagonist with the full complement of angst-inducing problems and an appealing white knight sense of decency.”

Is there a reason you chose the pen name Shawn Wilson?
When I was in high school, I submitted a poster in a county-wide art contest. Weeks later, the winners’ names were printed in the local newspaper. First prize went to Shawn Wilson. Until the poster was returned to the high school, I had no idea the judges had misread my signature and I had actually won. Although it has faded over the years, I still have the blue ribbon and a pseudonym that for me represents creativity.


Shawn Wilson is a produced playwright and author of Relentless, the first novel in the Brick Kavanagh mystery series. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from American University in Washington, DC and spent over thirty years working for the US Marshals Service, the US Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Administrative Office of the US Courts. Having traveled on five continents, she is very happy to call Chicago home.

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