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The Big Thrill Discusses WENT MISSING with Chris Riley

Book Cover: WENT MISSINGSam Nolan is a man with a history he is desperately hiding from. Born a cattle rancher, he grew up near the Gila Wilderness, where he learned how to live off the land from an Apache friend. As he grew older, he applied these skills as a hunting guide, local Search and Rescue leader, and ultimately, after 9-11, as a United States Special Forces Operative.

Now, while living alone in the wilderness near his family’s ranch and trying to recover from PTSD, Sam learns that his brother, Bryson, also a skilled hunter and survivalist, has mysteriously gone missing, deep in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The incident carries with it a haunting echo of Sam’s past, as well as a calling to come out of seclusion, in which he tries to solve the mystery of what happened to his brother. And what Sam discovers in the process is a darkness beyond the scope of his own suffering – along with something he could never have imagined.

Author Photo: Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Chris Riley recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest adventure thriller, WENT MISSING.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

The spark came after reading David Paulides’ “Missing 411” books. I knew I had to write something about people missing, as well as something that included the bigfoot myth. Why not tie these two things together, right?

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

As previously mentioned, David Paulides’ “Missing 411” books started the avalanche. With regards to research, I spent a good amount of time reading Fundamentals Of Mantracking by Taylor Cooper; as well as Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. I found this really cool app called Spotify, so I’ve got a ton of playlists that I write to. One song in particular, which I played on loop for hours at a time, is the theme song for Last of the Mohicans.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

For my protagonist, visually, it was none other than Sam Elliott’s character “Tell Sackett,” from the television series “The Sacketts.”

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

Like all stories I end up completing, something usually hits me beforehand. When the entire story, including the ending, has suddenly flooded my thoughts, as this novel did, then I know I’m ready to begin the lengthy process of writing.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

If you look at how many people go missing throughout each year in wilds of North America, and who are never found, that number alone is alarming. Now add to that those who are found (not necessarily alive), or who simply sustain injuries due to being careless in the outdoors. I would hope that upon publication of my novel, some of these numbers might go down.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

The second book in the Sam Nolan series is now complete, and pending approval with my publisher. I will begin working on the third novel soon, but first, I am busy writing another batch of gothic fiction, for my second short story collection. Additionally, I am also chomping at the bit to write a novel of weird fiction that relates loosely to the theme of quantum mechanics; not to mention completing a horror novel involving, of all cliches, a haunted orphanage.


Chris Riley lives near Sacramento, California, vowing one day to move back to the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of over 100 short stories and essays, published in various magazines and genres. In the realm of long fiction, he has written two literary suspense novels, The Sinking of the Angie Piper, and The Broken Pines, and his debut thriller novel, titled WENT MISSING, has just been released. His debut short story collection featuring gothic tales and dark fiction, and titled Of Woodland Textures and Charnel Delights, has recently published with Incunabula Media. He is a member of International Thriller Writers, and would love to hear more from his fans.

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