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Rhoades, J.D. 1962-

RHOADES, J.D. 1962-


Born 1962, in NC.


Home—Carthage, NC. E-mail[email protected]


Lawyer in Carthage, NC, 1989—; has also worked as a radio news reporter, television cameraman, waiter, disk jockey, and advertising salesperson.


Best crime novels of 2005 citation, Booklist.


The Devil's Right Hand (mystery novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Good Day in Hell (mystery novel), St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2006.


Attorney J.D. Rhoades is the author of mystery novels featuring recurring character Jack Keller. The Devil's Right Hand introduces Keller, a bounty hunter, bail bondsman, and Gulf War veteran with a guilty conscience over the friendly fire deaths of members of his military squad. In his first adventure, Keller is on the trail of Dwayne Puryear, who skipped out on a bond for breaking and entering. Complicating matters is the Fayetteville, North Carolina, police department, whose members have a particularly virulent hatred of Keller. The situation gets messier when Puryear and his cousin Leonard rob and kill a harmless old man, who is also a local Lumbee Indian, during an armed robbery. Worse for all concerned is the fact that Raymond, one of the old man's sons, is a powerful local crime boss intent on avenging his senselessly murdered father. Caught in the middle is Jack Keller, who is just trying to do his job when he becomes the target of every crook, psychopath, and cop in the state. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book a "gritty novel" and remarked that it contains "spectacular car chases, kidnapping, torture, carjacking, a dozen killings and lukewarm sex scenes." The same reviewer felt that the book was weak on suspense and character development. Booklist critic Bill Ott, however, called Keller a "definite keeper, the kind of flawed noir hero that women want to nurse, cops want to bust, and bad guys want to hurt."

Rhoades's second Keller novel, Good Day in Hell, met with a much better reaction from critics and reviewers. In the book, Keller still struggles with the post-traumatic stress disorder that occasionally makes him as dangerous and unpredictable as the criminals he chases. Angela, Keller's boss at H&H Bail Bonds, worries about her friend and valued employee, while Deputy Marie Jones, a romantic interest, tries to determine if Keller is marriage-and-stepfather material. Keller is brought in to hunt down one of a trio of young murderers who have gone on a killing spree throughout North Carolina. Laurel Marks, who skipped on a 75,000-dollar bond, is young, rich, and vicious, and so he poses a tremendous danger not only to hard-as-nails Keller but to those he loves most. Ott, in another Booklist review, noted that Rhoades works from familiar crime-drama formulas, but he still called the book a "high-voltage thriller," and concluded that "Rhoades shuffles the deck skillfully and deals an altogether new hand." A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked favorably on Rhoades's "well-crafted second novel," calling it "fast-paced and rich in regional color" and a "satisfying thriller."



Booklist, November 15, 2004, Bill Ott, review of The Devil's Right Hand, p. 564; January 1, 2006, Bill Ott, review of Good Day in Hell, p. 69.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004, review of The Devil's Right Hand, p. 1031; February 1, 2006, review of Good Day in Hell, p. 115.

Publishers Weekly, December 20, 2004, review of The Devil's Right Hand, p. 37; January 2, 2006, review of Good Day in Hell, p. 38.


J.D. Rhoades Home Page, (September 29, 2006).

J.D. Rhoades Web log, (September 19, 2006).

Mystery Ink, (September 29, 2006), biography of J.D. Rhoades.*

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