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 Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Crystal Meth Cowboys
ISBN: 0974319902

Blue Steel Press. 2004

An idealistic rookie cop is teamed with a wildly cynical training officer in small, blue-collar Wislow, California. They confront a beserk biker amped out of his skull on meth. This bloody confrontation propels them down a twisted path of violence, corruption and intrigue as the rookie learns lessons they never taught in the Police Academy.

The Violin Player
ISBN: 193227801X

Mayhaven Publishing. 2004

Winner of Mayhaven's Award for Fiction! There are two personalities at play in this gripping tale of suspense. One is Walter Sumner. The other is the shadowy figure that stalks him. As the 44-year-old owner of a Chicago trading firm, Walter doesn t want any more responsibility. In fact, he s trying to avoid it when his mother suddenly drops dead in mid-phone conversation, thrusting him to the head of the family. When he attempts to post her date of death on the family s GenealoG web page, he finds her d.o.d. has already been posted prior to her death. And when a second family member s d.o.d. pops up prematurely on the same web page, business becomes the least of Walter s worries. He soon discovers the Polish proverb is real: The violin doesn t play for everyone.

Pure Double Cross (Book One of the American Spy Trilogy)
ISBN: 0974319910

Blue Steel Press. 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. The FBI recruits him to infiltrate the Cleveland mob and conduct a series of sting operations targeting crime boss Teddy Briggslavski, alias, 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 meeting 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.

A Despicable Profession: Book Two of the American Spy Trilogy
ISBN: 0982090307

Blue Steel Press. 2010

May, 1946. America is basking in hard-won peace and prosperity. The OSS has been disbanded, the 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: Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy
ISBN: 0982090390

Blue Steel Press. 2012

October, 1948. Former OSS agent Hal Schroeder is back polishing his bar stool at The Harbor Inn in Cleveland when he gets a surprise invitation from Frank Wisner, who heads the CIA's new covert ops 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 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 guerrillas? Hal has already survived two previous suicide missions and a third does not appeal. 'But I told Frank Wisner I would need a few days to think it over. I had some D.C. 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 conclusion.


The Violin Player

  • Winner, Mayhaven Fiction Contest

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)