Dreyer, Eileen 1952–

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Dreyer, Eileen 1952–

(Kathleen Korbel)


Born 1952, in Brentwood, MO; married Rick Dreyer (an engineer); children: Kevin, Kate. Ethnicity: "Irish and a bit of German for stability" Education: Earned R.N., 1972, B.S., 1982; Tactical Emergency Medic Services School certification. Politics: "Committed independent." Religion: "Roman Catholic, but playing under protest." Hobbies and other interests: Traveling, sports (St. Louis Cardinals and Rams), gardening, reading, music, Irish history and traditional music.


Home—St. Louis, MO. Agent—Jane Rotrosen Agency, 318 E. 51st. St., New York, NY 10022. E-mail—[email protected].


Author. Sixteen years' experience as a trauma and forensic nurse death investigator.


Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., International Association of Forensic Nurses, Emergency Nurses Association.


Best New Contemporary Romance Author designation, Romantic Times, 1987; five other Romantic Times awards; five RITA awards, Romance Writers of America.



A Man to Die For, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

If Looks Could Kill, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Nothing Personal, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

Bad Medicine, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.

Brain Dead, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

With a Vengeance, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Head Games (sequel to Bad Medicine), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.

The Sunken Sailor, Berkeley (New York, NY), 2004.

Sinners and Saints, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.

(With others) The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.


Playing the Game, Silhouette Desire (New York, NY), 1986.

A Stranger's Smile, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1986.

Worth Any Risk, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1987.

A Prince of a Guy, Silhouette Desire (New York, NY), 1987.

Edge of the World, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1988.

The Princess and the Pea, Silhouette Desire (New York, NY), 1988.

The Road to Mandalay, Silhouette Summer Sizzlers (New York, NY), 1989.

Perchance to Dream, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1989.

The Ice Cream Man, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1989.

Hotshot, Silhouette Desire Man of the Month (New York, NY), 1990.

Lightening Strikes, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1990.

A Rose for Maggie, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1991.

A Fine Madness, Silhouette Desire Man of the World (New York, NY), 1991.

Jake's Way, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1992.

Isn't It Romantic?, Silhouette Desire (New York, NY), 1992.

Walk on the Wild Side, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1992.

Simple Gifts, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1994.

A Soldier's Heart, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 1995.

Don't Fence Me In, Silhouette Desire (New York, NY), 1996.

Sail Away, Silhouette Desire (New York, NY), 1998.

Some Men's Dreams, Silhouette Intimate Moments (New York, NY), 2003.

Dangerous Temptation, Silhouette (New York, NY), 2006.


Contributor of stories to anthologies, including The Marilyn Anthology, Forge (New York, NY), 1996; Mothers and Daughters Anthology, NAL (New York, NY), 1998; Fun with Forensics, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999; Safe at Home: Fathers and Daughters Anthology, NAL (New York, NY), 1999; Murder, She Wrote, 2000; and Variations on a Theme: Mothers and Sons Anthology, NAL (New York, NY), 2000.


With a Vengeance was adapted for audio (seven cassettes), read by Laural Merlington, Brilliance Audio, 2003.


Eileen Dreyer is a writer who has sixteen years of experience as a trauma nurse, and who is trained in death investigation and forensic nursing. After finishing her sixth crime novel, she attended and passed the course at the Tactical Emergency Medic Services School at Camp Ripley, Minnesota. Dreyer has a growing list of medical mysteries to her credit, but she began her writing career penning romance novels under the pseudonym Kathleen Korbel, for which she has received many awards.

Publishers Weekly reviewer Melissa Mia Hall interviewed Dreyer and asked her how and why she writes in two very different genres. "Romance is character driven," replied Dreyer, "and it's much easier for me to do character than plots. When you're writing suspense, the language is completely different. I enjoy different focuses. I love action, too. I began writing romance while working as a trauma nurse. I never started to write suspense until I was out of nursing for about a year. There were things I dealt with in the ER that I couldn't deal with after I got home."

Dreyer began publishing her crime novels in 1991, with her debut mystery, A Man to Die For. Emergency room nurse Casey McDonough suspects the charming gynecologist Dale Hunsacker of the deaths of nurses with whom he had quarreled, and when a prostitute is found dead, it is revealed that he knew her as well. Casey approaches homicide sergeant Jack Scanlon, but she has no evidence to back up her suspicions. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called this first mystery outing an "entertaining romantic thriller."

In Nothing Personal doctors are dying in a Catholic hospital in St. Louis. Protagonist Kate Manion, a critical care nurse recovering from an automobile accident, is a suspect, even though she is on crutches, because she struck back at a nurse who was tormenting her. A serial killer is using hospital drugs to poison the staff, including Kate's roommate, Tim, a gay surgeon who was still in the closet, and she nearly loses her lover in the same way before she discovers the killer's identity.

Kliatt reviewer Jean Palmer wrote that the plot of Bad Medicine rivals "the best of Robin Cook, Sue Grafton, or Patricia Cornwell." It is set in St. Louis, but this time it's lawyers who are dying. Vietnam veteran Molly Burke is an ER nurse and part-time crime scene investigator who is trying to figure out why the attorneys are ingesting large quantities of the same pills. She discovers both a connection to a city project and a link between her hospital and a large drug company. Romantic Times Book Club online reviewer Jill M. Smith felt that "with her own unique blend of dark humor, complex motivations, and riveting suspense, Eileen Dreyer is a very tough act to beat."

Head Games is a sequel to Bad Medicine. A serial killer Burke helped when he was an abused child is now leaving her trophies of his crimes. Dreyer said on her Web site that the reason she decided to write this novel "is because, after the extensive research I've done on the subject, I'm tired of serial killers being portrayed as the monsters under the bed. Every serial killer is someone's child, which, I believe, is a far more frightening concept."

A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that with Brain Dead Dreyer "debuts in hardcover with a galloping suspenser." Timmie Parker, recently divorced and the mother of six-year-old Meghan, has returned to her hometown of Puckett, Missouri to work in the Emergency Room at the local hospital. She also hopes to keep an eye on her father, Joe Leary, who quotes Yeats and sings Irish melodies at the drop of a hat, and who is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Timmie is unable to handle Joe, a strong man who she fears might accidentally hurt Meghan. Soon elderly hospital patients are dropping dead in the hospital, which is about to become an HMO facility, and Timmie is nearly shot while talking with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dan Murphy. Timmie and Dan team up to try to uncover who is responsible for the deaths that the town chooses to ignore. A Publishers Weekly critic commented that Dreyer's "medical thriller is refreshing to the extent that it's fueled much more by character than by mechanical surprise and gore."

With a Vengeance features nurse and SWAT team member Maggie O'Brien, daughter of local legend Tommy O'Brien, formerly with the St. Louis police department. Maggie joins the team during a summer of extreme heat and violence; her first case involves Montana Bob, a former FBI agent, now delusional, who takes as hostage Sean Delaney, Maggie's friend and sometime lover. Sean is saved, but Montana Bob dies, along with a number of others whose names appear on a list the hospital staff keeps of suspects and perpetrators of the most despicable crimes who have come under their care. What Maggie fears is that someone may be taking the law into their own hands. A Kirkus Reviews critic called With a Vengeance a "turbocharged thriller."

Sinners and Saints, Dreyer's eighth medical and forensic thriller, appeared in 2006, featuring St. Louis forensic nurse Chastity Byrnes. For years, Chastity has had no word of her mother or sister, Faith, after the tragedy in their family: the father was convicted of incest and another sister, Hope, committed suicide. Now Chastity gets word that Faith has gone missing in New Orleans, but searching for her sister leads to the deaths of two others, and soon Chastity realizes she is involved in something much larger than a simple missing persons case. Jill M. Smith, reviewing the thriller on the Romantic Times Web site, noted: "The depth of pain and dysfunction in these characters' lives makes their actions understandable and the danger intense." Harriet Klausner, writing on the Best Reviews Web site, also had praise for the novel, observing that the author "writes a brilliant crime thriller that starts off fast and never slows down." Klausner further felt that the book is "filled with excellent characterizations, realistic action scenes and terrific pacing."

Dreyer once told CA: "When I was ten years old I ran out of Nancy Drews to read, and realized (picture light bulb over head) that I didn't have to wait. I could write my own. Not only that, I could make them turn out just the way I wanted them to.

"Everything and everybody influences my work. I'm an organic writer, which means that I taught myself by reading everything and writing constantly. I do admit that I consider Dick Francis to be my mystery godfather—although we've never met, I think I learned more about the craft from him than anyone. Oh, and Sister Mary Alice from eighth grade, who gave me a love for the simple declarative sentence.

"I'm what I call a binge-and-purge writer. I gather all my information—for instance, I spent two weeks in New Orleans just soaking in atmosphere and forensics for the book I'm working on now—and then let it stew for a bit. When I begin to write, I write notes to myself, but no real outline. The picture of my book is like a jigsaw puzzle in my head, but I can't tell you the progression until I write it down. Then I spend a good four of five days at a stretch visualizing a set of scenes, and then spit them out in a huge rush. I'm not an extensive reviser, except to tighten up my prose and reorganize scenes that somehow get out of place.

"Each book is a totally new experience. As a nurse, I learned a set of rules and procedures, and they really didn't change over the course of time. Once I learned the basics, I'd learned them. But each new writing attempt is a huge leap into the unknown, and I don't know exactly how [the story ends] until I sit down to write the book.

"I have a sentimental favorite book, which is A Man to Die For, simply because there was so much I'd been waiting to say about medicine, and I said it—and it took so long for publishing to agree with my views and my voice. It was a personal triumph. I hope my latest is my best. I love the different challenges in each book (at least I say I do. I tend to be less enthusiastic when it's three in the morning and my characters refuse to talk to me).

"I'm a storyteller. Among my ancestors, that was the most powerful position in society, because the storytellers were even in charge of what history would know about the kings. Or, as I like to say, it's the oldest profession sitting up. I love telling stories. I love sharing fun facts, scaring people, challenging people, discovering people through my research and writing. All I want is to know that somebody is still sitting by the fire when my story is finished, anxious to hear how it ends."



Booklist, August, 1997, William Beatty, review of Brain Dead, p. 1877; September 15, 2006, John Charles, review of Dangerous Temptation, p. 41.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1997, review of Brain Dead, pp. 890-891; December 1, 2002, review of With a Vengeance, p. 1715.

Kliatt, September, 1995, Jean Palmer, review of Bad Medicine, pp. 8-9.

Library Journal, May 15, 1995, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Bad Medicine, p. 62; January, 2003, Rebecca House Stankowski, review of With a Vengeance, p. 152.

Publishers Weekly, June 14, 1991, review of A Man to Die for, p. 53; March 3, 2003, review of With a Vengeance, p. 53; February 21, 1994, review of Nothing Personal, p. 249; June 30, 1997, review of Brain Dead, p. 65; March 3, 2003, Melissa Mia Hall, interview with Dreyer, p. 54.


Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (February 10, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of With a Vengeance; (April 22, 2003), Sheri Meinick, review of With a Vengeance; (February 23, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of Head Games; (July 1, 2005), Harriet Klausner review of With a Vengeance; (September 24, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Dangerous Temptation.

Bookloons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (July 1, 2003), Martina Bexte, review of With a Vengeance; (March 1, 2004), Martina Bexte, interview with Dreyer.

Eileen Dreyer Home Page,http://www.eileendreyer.com (June 17, 2007).

Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (July 1, 2003), Thea Davis, reviews of Brain Dead and With a Vengeance.

Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (June 17, 2007), Jill M. Smith, reviews of Bad Medicine, Brain Dead, Head Games, With a Vengeance, and Sinners and Saints.

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Dreyer, Eileen 1952–

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