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The Big Thrill Discusses DECEPTION SPECIALIST with John Shepphird

Book Cover: DECEPTION SPECIALISTRooting out deception is Jack O’Shea’s stock-in-trade.

On the road to redemption from his criminal past, reformed-swindler-turned-private-eye Jack O’Shea investigates a strange death at a shadowy Northern California mountain college—a “visa mill” with clandestine ties to Silicon Valley.

Accompanied by his retired racing greyhound, Jack discovers the college is built on top of an abandoned gold mine. Dark secrets lie below.

As he investigates the suspicious death, Jack’s prior sins come back to haunt. He suspected one day there’d be a knock on his door. Deception may be his specialty but not everything is as it appears.

John Shepphird recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss John’s latest crime fiction, DECEPTION SPECIALIST.

Author Photo: John Shepphird

John Shepphird

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

Deception Specialist Jack O’Shea was first introduced in a series of stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This is book #1 in a series. The first story was awarded the Shamus. The second was nominated for an Anthony.

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?

When it came to start on my next book I returned to characters I’d previously established in the short story series using the opportunity to novelize the back story and journey.

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

Not necessarily, but since I plan on this being the first in a series of at least three books I crafted “easter eggs” — stuff that will pay off in later books.

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?

I was a magician as a kid and have always been fascinated by the craft of magic which is all based on a twist on expectations.

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

Just have fun.

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

Book #2 of the Jack O’Shea series, and a number of short stories I’ve been asked to contribute to various anthologies.


John Shepphird is a Shamus Award-winning author, two-time Anthony Award-finalist, and writer/director of television films.

Novels include DECEPTION SPECIALIST (Jack O’Shea series book #1) and the Hollywood-themed whodunnit thriller Bottom Feeders.

John’s short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and various crime fiction anthologies.
As director films include Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Chupacabra Terror, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Teenage Bonnie & Klepto Clyde.

To learn more about the author, please visit John’s website.