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Authors plan to meet fans at Northern Tier Library in Richland

| Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Mary Frailey Calland
Mary Frailey Calland
C. William Davis
C. William Davis
J.J. Hensley, a former Secret Service agent, has been getting strong reviews for his first novel, 'Resolve.'
J.J. Hensley, a former Secret Service agent, has been getting strong reviews for his first novel, 'Resolve.'
Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor

Former U.S. Secret Service agent J.J. Hensley, 39, of Cranberry, writes novels as a sideline to his day job of training federal background investigators.

Suspense magazine named “Resolve,” Hensley's first crime novel — about a runner in the Pittsburgh Marathon — one of the best books of 2013.

“The protagonist is Dr. Cyprus Keller, who is a college professor,” Hensley said. “In the prologue, he tells the reader right off the bat that he knows somebody is going to be murdered during the Pittsburgh Marathon … because he plans on killing that person.”

International Thriller Writers also named “Resolve” (The Permanent Press, $28), as a 2014 finalist for their Best First Novel title.

Hensley said his wife, Kasia, suggested that he try writing a book.

“We're both readers,” he said. “We had read hundreds of mysteries and thrillers.”

Hensley is among three area authors — and one from Lackawanna County — slated to introduce their books during Authors Night at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in Northern Tier Regional Library, Richland.

Hensley will talk about “Resolve,” plus, “Measure Twice” (Assent Publishing, $12.95), his new, second novel about a serial killer, a police officer, their addictions and their redemption.

“I didn't start writing until 2010,” said Hensley, who grew up in Huntingdon, W. Va., and moved to Western Pennsylvania in 2006.

As a former police officer and special agent with the U.S. Secret Service, Hensley worked on teams charged with ensuring the safety of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Hensley works as a training supervisor for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Slippery Rock.

Among other writers booked to speak at the library, C. William Davis, 69, of Brackenridge will acquaint people with his Clive Aliston mysteries, featuring a determined, but fallible sheriff in Western Pennsylvania: “The Forever Man,” “Tail of the Scorpion” and “The Ticketmaster.”

Mary Frailey Calland, 59, of Mt. Lebanon, will introduce her novel “Consecrated Dust: A Novel of the Civil War North” (Dog Ear Publishing, $19.95).

“Consecrated Dust” weaves a tale of two Pittsburgh families' and their ties to a pair of simultaneous Civil War events: the U.S. Allegheny Arsenal explosion of Sept. 17, 1862 in Lawrenceville, which killed about 70 women; and the Battle of Antietam, also on Sept. 17, 1862 near Sharpsburg, Md.

“Consecrated Dust,” a work of historical fiction, “really highlights Pittsburgh's role in the Civil War,” said Calland, a mother of five and graduate of Notre Dame Law School.

Calland spent years researching her book's historical basis.

“I didn't feel that there had ever been a story told about the real effects of the Civil War on a northern city,” Calland said.

Barbara J. Taylor, 51, of Scranton, Lackawanna County, a high school English teacher, also will talk about her novel “Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night” (Kaylie Jones, $15.95).

Taylor's book, inspired by a true story, focuses on the aftermath of a girl's death in a 1913 fireworks mishap in Scranton.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

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