Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Knoerle  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1949 in Cleveland, Ohio

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Illinois Connection

Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996.

Biographical and Professional Information

Knoerle began his creative endeavors in the early 70's as a member of the ''DeLuxe Radio Theatre'', a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He went on to work as a reporter for AP Radio in New York, then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams. Knoerle wrote the screenplay ''Quiet Fire'', which starred Karen Black and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, and the stage play ''The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club'', an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s ''A Prairie Home Companion'', and he wrote, voiced and produced hundreds of radio spots as Creative Director of ''Sound Concepts Inc''.Knoerle's first novel, ''Crystal Meth Cowboys'', was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel,'' The Violin Player'', won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction. His newest novel, ''A Pure Double Cross'', is the first volume of a 1940s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder.

Published Works

  • Crystal Meth Cowboys, Blue Steel Press, 2003
  • The Violin Player, Mayhaven Publishing, 2005
  • Pure Double Cross, Blue Steel Press, 2008
  • A Despicable Profession, Blue Steel Press, 2010
  • The Proxy Assassin: Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, Blue Steel Press, 2012

Selected Titles At Your Library

Crystal meth cowboys /
ISBN: 0974319902. OCLC Number:

. .

The city of Wislow sits on the frayed elbow of central California, sealed off from the world by mountains and sea. Rookie Wes Lyedecker begins his first day as a cop there, brimming with the desire to 'make a difference.' His comically cynical training officer, Thomas Bell, is unimpressed with the rookie's idealism. The cops confront a berserk biker in a motel room. The man is amped out of his skull on crystal meth. This bloody confrontation propels the cops down a twisted path. Wes Lyedecker learns lessons they never taught in the Academy as the two cops battle shadowy Sinoloan drug lords, as well as the Chief of Police, the Mayor and Wislow's largest employer, in their quest to find the source of the uncut methamphetamine that is tearing their town apart. The two cops finally track down the heavily-armed drug dealers and their lab. Wes Lydecker, against Bell's strict admonition, chooses to share evidence with a civilian, a very attractive female civilian. And all hell breaks loose.

The violin player :
ISBN: 193227801X. OCLC Number:

Mayhaven Pub.,. Mahomet, IL :. ©2004.

44-year-old Walter Sumner doesn't want any more responsibility then his Chicago trading firm, but when his mother suddenly drops dead in mid-phone conversation, he's thrust into the position of head of the family. When he attempts to post his mother's date of death on the family's geneaology web page, he finds it already posted prior to her death. And when another family member's d.o.d. pops up prematurely on the same page, Walter begins to worry.

A pure double cross /
ISBN: 0974319910. OCLC Number:

Blue Steel Press,. Chicago, Il :. 2008.

Cleveland, 1945. OSS spy Hal Schroeder returns from two harrowing years behind German lines. The horrors of war have left him bitter and cynical. He is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the Cleveland mob, to conduct a series of escalating sting operations that target elusive crime boss Teddy Briggslavski, a.k.a Mr. Big. Hal signs on, planning to double cross the feds, pocket their front money and disappear. He struggles to walk the double cross tightrope between the G-men and the mobsters until the FBI gives him the final sting, a huge payroll heist. Hal Schroeder goes to his long-sought meet with Mr. Big, confident he can turn the heist plan to his advantage and make off with a bundle. But he gets a very unpleasant surprise. THREE very unpleasant surprises.

A despicable profession /
ISBN: 0982090307. OCLC Number:

Blue Steel Press,. Chicago :. 2010.

May, 1946. America is basking in hard-won peace and prosperity. The OSS has been disbanded, CIA does not yet exist. Rumors swirl about the Red Army massing tanks along the Elbe in East Germany. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets an offer from Global Commerce LTD to be a trade rep in Berlin. He flies to New York to meet his new boss. Hal's jaw drops when former OSS Chief Wild Bill Donovan strides in. Schroeder, who survived perilous duty behind German lines, says he is no longer interested in being a spy. General Donovan assures him that's not part of his job description. Hal comes to doubt that when he meets his immediate superior in Berlin. It's Victor Jacobson, the case officer who sent him on repeated suicide missions in WWII.

The proxy assassin :
ISBN: 0982090390. OCLC Number:

Blue Steel Press,. Chicago, IL :. 2012.

October, 1948. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder gets an invitation to Washington D.C. from Frank Wisner, who heads the CIA?s new covert opps division. Hal is whisked off to Wisner?s Maryland shore retreat and introduced to a brace of Romanian royals, including the scarily beautiful Princess Stela Varadja, a direct descendant of Vlad Tepes Draculea. Then Frank Wisner pops the question. Would Hal consider parachuting into a remote mountain camp to meet with the leader of a group of Romanian anti-Communist guerillas? 'I had already survived two previous suicide missions and a third did not appeal. But I told Frank Wisner I would need a few days to think it over. I had some sightseeing to do.' As it turns out Hal Schroeder gets to do a lot more sightseeing than he bargained for. A journey that brings the American Spy Trilogy to a surprising, and emotional, conclusion.


The Violin Player

  • Winner, Mayhaven Fiction Contest

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)