PJ O'Brien


It would not be fully truthful to say that the author was challenged to write a genre-bending mystery after losing an argument with ducks about the inevitability of violence. But it wouldn’t be fully false either.

O'Brien, a somewhat optimistic rurally-raised resident of a US city infamous for its violence and hopelessness, decided to test a theory. After inventing a country devoted entirely to fairness and peace, she added characters that had to abide by the framework of their culture. They were given horrors that plague real people and were allowed to respond as they saw fit. They had only to be true to their culture, retain essential elements of modern humanity, and be charming when not dealing with threats that could potentially end the world as they knew it.

After four books, they felt they had fully addressed the most essential questions of suffering, violence, love, and happiness, and still retain their sense of humor. And did they? That’s for you and the ducks to decide.

Where to find PJ O'Brien online


Waterloo Sunset: Book 4 in Sanctuary Series
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 438,700. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
In this finale of the Sanctuary series, the cousins investigate the death of a young woman, cross international borders to rescue family members, keep their country from disintegrating, and figure out ways to live happily ever after.
Absolution: Sanctuary Book 3
Price: $4.25 USD. Words: 452,320. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Mashups, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(5.00 from 1 review)
In Book 3 of the series, the prosecutions relating to the coup attempt are winding down. Civil liberties are restored and there is a renewed movement to end mandatory marriage and abolish the monarchy. Master Tehv, the son of the assassinated king, leaves the palace to assist at his uncle’s training camp for the kinetically uncoordinated. His cousin busies himself tracking a mysterious stranger.
Grave-climbing: Sanctuary Series Book 2
Price: $4.50 USD. Words: 522,700. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
"Grave-Climbing" continues from where "Surviving Sanctuary" left off. Violence erupts once again in a land that has forbidden it. As tensions rise, a university professor is suspected of destroying historical records, a father is pressured to cut ties to a beloved daughter who has eloped, and an otherwise rational young man worries that his new wife’s seizures are of a diabolic origin.
Surviving Sanctuary
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 490,140. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
On a spring evening in 1982, a thousand people are killed in Sanctuary, a country founded by genocide survivors and devoted to pacifism. Decades later, Brian, a congenial and underemployed American, goes there to look for the sister of a former girlfriend who disappeared while visiting there. As he looks for clues and tries not to marry anyone accidentally, he learns he may be a target too.