Keevers, Thomas J.

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Keevers, Thomas J.


Born in Chicago, IL.


Home—Chicago, IL. E-mail—[email protected].


Trial lawyer and author. Chicago Police Department, Chicago, IL, former homicide detective.


Music across the Wall, Five Star Press (Waterville, ME), 2003.

What the Hyena Knows, Five Star Press (Waterville, ME), 2005.

The Chainsaw Ballet, Five Star Pres (Waterville, ME), 2007.

Contributed short stories to the Chicago Literary Review Quarterly, Wind Magazine, Innesfree, and Clockwatch Review. His short story "Thanksgiving Day in Homicide" was anthologized in New Chicago Stories and produced for radio by National Public Radio's Stories on Stage.


Thomas J. Keevers is a trial lawyer, retired homicide detective, and writer of crime thrillers. Keevers's novels, which feature Chicago locales, follow the exploits of private investigator Mike Duncavan. A divorced, hard-drinking, ill-tempered ex-cop and disbarred lawyer, Duncavan frequently investigates supernatural events and characters drawn from the impoverished backwaters of Eastern Europe.

Keevers's first novel, Music across the Wall, introduces Mike Duncavan. Hired by a defense counsel to solve the mysterious murder of an upstanding Polish immigrant, Duncavan undertakes a complicated and cryptic investigation in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green public-housing projects. Jenny McLarin, writing about Music across the Wall for Booklist, called Duncavan "an appealing underdog," the centerpiece of "an affectionate and powerful portrayal of a big-shouldered city and one of its big-hearted denizens."

In his follow-up novel, What the Hyena Knows, Duncavan is asked to help prove the innocence of an accused child murderer. Despite his misgivings, Duncavan takes the case, only to find himself the target of a bizarre international conspiracy.

In the third novel of this series, The Chainsaw Ballet, Duncavan is hired by an insurance company to investigate the mysterious murders of two Serbian clubowners. Assisted by exotic dancers and an ex-priest turned cop, Duncavan uncovers a sex-slavery ring while striving to prevent another murder. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews questioned the originality of the entire series, noting that the sex-slavery subplot was "both nauseating and routine," but also praised the author's "emphasis on sacrificial redemption dramatized by the figures of two ex-priests and Mike's dogged sense that ‘this was real life, not some cheap detective story.’"

A reviewer for Son of Spade admired the grit of Keevers's novels, noting that "the fact the writer has experience as a cop and lawyer himself gives it all a nice authentic feel." In an interview with Son of Spade, Keevers was asked to explain how his critically admired, fast-paced writing style has developed over time: "A number of my readers have said that the writing has become leaner with each new book. I don't know, I thought it was pretty lean to begin with. I'm a big believer in Elmore Leonard's caveat: cut out the parts readers tend to skip over."



Booklist, December 15, 2003, Jenny McLarin, review of Music across the Wall, p. 731.

CBA Record, June 1, 2004, Daniel A. Cotter, review of Music across the Wall, p. 57; April 1, 2006, Daniel A. Cotter, review of What the Hyena Knows, p. 64.

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, February 9, 2004, Bill Myers, "Mystery Novel Is Colored by His Real Life," p. 3.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007, review of The Chainsaw Ballet.

Publishers Weekly, November 17, 2003, review of Music across the Wall, p. 49.


Son of Spade, (January 14, 2008), author interview and review of The Chainsaw Ballet.

Thomas J. Keevers Home Page, (May, 2008).