Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Kristine Kathryn Rusch  

Pen Name: Kris Nelscott, Sandy Schofield, Edward Heyer, Kris Rusch, Kristine K. Thompson


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1960 in Oneonta, New York

-- Website --
-- Kristine Kathryn Rusch on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Writes novels set in Chicago under the name Kris Nelscott

Biographical and Professional Information

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an award-winning mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy writer whose novels have been published in 14 countries in 13 different languages.Kristine is the former editor of ''The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction''. She lives and works on the Oregon Coast.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

A Dangerous Road
ISBN: 0312262647

Minotaur Books. 2000

It's February 1968, and tense race relations in Memphis are beginning to build into real conflict. The sanitation workers' strike has been going on for almost three weeks, and marches are beginning to turn into riots.

African-American P.I. Smokey Dalton is hired by Laura Hathaway, a young white woman from up north, to look into her mother's reasons for remembering Smokey generously in her will. Smokey reluctantly takes the case, as much to satisfy his own curiosity about these people he never knew as because he needs the work. What he uncovers is a thirty-year-old secret so powerful it will shatter both their lives.

Furthermore, this turning point couldn't come at a worse time for Smokey. As February turns to March, then April, Smokey must watch his city crumble around him and deals with the approaching visit of his childhood friend, now estranged from him, Martin Luther King, Jr. - a visit that turns out to be the very destiny of both men, and the city itself.

This wonderful novel launches a unique and atmospheric series, introducing an appealing character in Smokey Dalton and an equally compelling time period in our history.

Smoke-Filled Rooms
ISBN: 0312262655

Minotaur Books. 2001

In the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Smokey Dalton heads for Chicago to protect a young boy who knows too much about the crime, in an atmospheric whodunit set against the turbulent backdrop of Chicago on the eve of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. By the author of A Dangerous Road.

Thin Walls: A Smokey Dalton Novel
ISBN: 0312287836

Minotaur Books. 2002

"I hear you help people find things."

So begins the latest case for Smokey Dalton, Kris Nelscott's enigmatic African-American p.i. But when Mrs. Alice Foster comes to the door of his small apartment, she's not missing a pet, or even a loved one: She wants Smokey to find her husband's killer. Three weeks ago, Louis Foster was found propped up against a tree in a city park, stabbed once through the heart. The cops have given up, and Smokey isn't surprised: It's 1968, and the Chicago PD cops who responded to the scene have clearly written off the death of this black man as a mugging gone wrong, or something equally unimportant. Case closed.

Not for Smokey. He starts at the beginning, enlisting the reluctant help of a photojournalist who took pictures at the scene. Then, going back through newspaper archives, looking for patterns, clues, wild theories-anything that will help him figure out why a middle-class black man would be found dead in a public park miles from home-Smokey learns something startling. Louis Foster doesn't look to be the first.

Amid trying to protect his adopted ten-year-old son, who's being hassled at school by some older gang members, Smokey, the photojournalist, and two renegade cops who risk their careers to help him, set off on the hunt for a killer.

Nelscott's Edgar Award-nominated A Dangerous Road, which introduced Smokey Dalton and told the story of the days leading up to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in Memphis, launched an atmospheric crime series set during one of the most turbulent times of our recent past. Now, in this third installment, she delivers a gripping thriller about one man struggling to build a life in this divided city the only way he knows how, and the men who would kill to stop him.

Stone Cribs (P.I. Smokey Dalton, 4)
ISBN: 0312287844

Minotaur Books. 2004

It's Christmas time, 1969, in Chicago. After a night out, Smokey Dalton, Kris Nelscott's enigmatic African-American P.I., and his girlfriend find a young woman bleeding to death in his neighbor's apartment. Upon arriving with her at the hospital, they discover that her injuries are due to a botched illegal abortion.

This act of charity blooms into a more complicated situation when Smokey learns that the woman became pregnant after being raped. The woman survives, but the fallout is deadly: Her ex-husband vows revenge at any cost. And in a city torn apart by racial strife, gang wars, and a burgeoning drug problem, Smokey believes that cost could be too high.

Kris Nelscott, one of the most nuanced, intelligent writers of crime fiction working today, has authored another heart-stopping, complicated novel of a country ripped apart at the seams and a lone man doing all he can to put things right.

War at Home (Smokey Dalton Novels)
ISBN: 0312325274

Minotaur Books. 2005

It's summertime in 1969 when African-American P.I. Smokey Dalton and his adopted son Jimmy leave behind the hot violence of the streets of Chicago and head east to look for a missing college student. Daniel Kirkland never showed up for his spring semester at Yale University and seems to have disappeared without a trace. Daniel's mother, a local school teacher who works regularly with Jimmy, asks Smokey to see what he can find out.

The search for Daniel takes Smokey from the hallowed halls of the nation's wealthiest university to the poorest slums on the outskirts of New Haven. The harder he searches, the more he learns about the dark side of the anti-war movement, in which the idealistic young Daniel may have become involved. And he keeps hearing rumors about bombs.

When the trail finally leads Smokey to New York City, he discovers that someone might be trying to kill Daniel and Daniel's friends. Only nothing is exactly as it seems. Soon the rumors Smokey's been hearing become more and more concrete, and he knows it's only a matter of time before a bomb goes off. Because Smokey, a Korean War veteran, recognizes the pattern: He has stumbled into a war. A war at home.

In this blistering new book, award-winner Kris Nelscott continues her hard-hitting, absorbing look at the turbulence of the late sixties and early seventies, all in the guise of the modern crime novel.

Days of Rage (Smokey Dalton Novels)
ISBN: 0312325290

Minotaur Books. 2006

It's 1969 and the city of Chicago is in turmoil. The celebrity trial of the Chicago Eight---charged with inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention---has begun. Protests abound over the trial and the conflict has caught the attention of everyone from the Black Panthers to city gangs to local trade unions.

Meanwhile, African-American P.I. Smokey Dalton and his adopted son, Jimmy, are keeping a low profile. They've been on the run from their native Memphis since Jimmy witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., but have slowly settled into a steady life in Chicago. Smokey continues to accept cases and to inspect property for Sturdy Investments, the real-estate company owned by Laura Hathaway, his on-again, off-again girlfriend.

But the delicate balance in Smokey's daily life is threatened when he makes a horrible discovery in a house he's inspecting. Does what they've found have any connection to Laura's business, and her father, who used to run it? Is it evidence of a long-ago killer, and if so, how has it remained buried for so long? Or is it something that could threaten Smokey---and Jimmy, and Laura---today? Smokey must answer all these questions before the truth about what he's found is discovered by someone willing to kill to keep it secret, while the violent chaos surrounding "the trial of the century" whirls around them.

Duplicate Effort: A Retrieval Artist Novel
ISBN: 0451462602

Roc. 2009

When a journalist working with him is murdered and his daughter Talia goes missing, Retrieval Artist Miles Flint, on a mission to destroy a corrupt law firm, discovers that Talia's quest to find her other five clones and his search for a killer are somehow connected. Original.

Diving into the Wreck: A Diving Universe Novel
ISBN: 1591027861

Pyr. 2009

Boss loves to dive historical ships, derelict spacecraft found adrift in the blackness between the stars. Sometimes she salvages for money, but mostly she’s an active historian. She wants to know about the past—to experience it firsthand. Once she’s dived the ship, she’ll either leave it for others to find or file a claim so that she can bring tourists to dive it as well. It’s a good life for a tough loner, with more interest in artifacts than people.
Then one day, Boss finds the claim of a lifetime: an enormous spacecraft, incredibly old, and apparently Earth-made. It’s impossible for something so old, built in the days before Faster Than Light travel, to have journeyed this far from Earth. It shouldn’t be here. It can’t be here. And yet, it is. Boss’s curiosity is up, and she’s determined to investigate. She hires a group of divers to explore the wreck with her, the best team she can assemble. But some secrets are best kept hidden, and the past won’t give up its treasures without exacting a price in blood.


Herodotus Award, Best U.S. Historical Mystery for ''A Dangerous Road'' in 2000 Hugo Award, Best Novelette in 2001 Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award John W. Campbell Award

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)

Contact Information

Agent Merrilee Heifetz Writers House 21 W. 26th St. New York, New York 10010 (212)