Ken Kuhlken

Biography

Ken's stories have appeared in Esquire and dozens of other magazines and anthologies, been honorably mentioned in Best American Short Stories, and earned a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He has been a frequent contributor and a columnist for the San Diego Reader.

His novels are Midheaven, a finalist for the Ernest Hemingway Award for best first novel, The Loud Adios (Private Eye Writers of America Best First Mystery Novel, 1989), The Venus Deal, The Angel Gang, The Do-Re-Mi (a January Magazine best book of 2006 and a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel), and The Vagabond Virgins,
The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles, and The Good Know Nothing.

He has also published (at Hickey's Books) a memoir, a road saga (with Alan Russell), and two indispensable guides for writers.

He lives on a hill overlooking Mexico and the Pacific Ocean with his daughter Zoe, their cat, and some chickens.

He reads a lot, avoids most television, often attends church, blogs on books, writing, and education, teaches writing, and enjoys smacking balls with a bat and clubs.

Where to buy in print

Series

Hickey Family Crime Novels
The Hickey family novels, which begin with Tom Hickey's first investigation at age twenty-one and continues, over ten books, until his eighty-fifth year, are riveting stories of crime, heroics, and sacrificial love that also offer a vivid and panoramic vision of California as it transforms from a frontier to the most influential place on earth. Readers who accompany Tom and his extraordinary family on their adventures enrich their knowledge of America and the dark and bright recesses of the human heart. “Tom Hickey is one of detective fiction’s most original and intriguing creations.” San Francisco Chronicle “Elegant, eloquent, and elegiac, Kuhlken’s novels sing an old melody, at the same time haunting and beautiful.” Novelist Don Winslow
The Good Know Nothing
Price: $1.99 USD.
The Venus Deal
Price: $3.99 USD.
The Loud Adios
Price: $3.99 USD.
For America
Five novellas following the trials, challenges and adventures of woke boomers attempting to postpone the end of the world..
Supermen
Price: $0.99 USD.
This Rough Beast
Price: $2.99 USD.
The Gas Crisis
Price: $2.99 USD.
War
Price: $2.99 USD.
The Holy Grail
Price: $3.99 USD.

Books

The Angel Gang
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,600. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2021 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
(Lake Tahoe, San Diego, L.A. 1950) An L.A. mob’s beef against Tom leads to the kidnapping of pregnant Wendy Hickey. Alone, Tom can’t save her, but with the help of the Nevada mob and Tahoe’s resident angels, in whom Wendy steadfastly believes, maybe . . .
The Loud Adios
Series: Hickey Family Crime Novels. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,660. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2020 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel winner. In 1943, Tom Hickey, an M.P. on the U.S./Mexico border, accompanies Private Clifford Rose to a Tijuana nightclub where Clifford claims German Nazis are holding his sister captive. They find Wendy dancing naked on the stage. She appears so lost and innocent, Tom agrees to rescue her.
The Venus Deal
Series: Hickey Family Crime Novels. Price: $3.99 USD. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2020 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Historical » USA
(San Diego, Mount Shasta, Denver, Tijuana, 1942) A gifted jazz singer leaves her job at a Tom Hickey's San Diego nightclub to avenge the sexual crimes of a spiritualist guru. To save her from throwing away her future, Tom risks losing his business as well as his wife and daughter.
The Vagabond Virgins
Pre-release—available February 13, 2021. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,210. Language: English. Published by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
A Holy Virgin, or a convincing fraud, appears in Mexico, dedicating herself to the overthrow of the corrupt and tyrannical Partido Revolucionario Institutional. And a woman who claims to be the Virgin’s sister brings San Diego law student and private investigator Alvaro Hickey a chance to help reform the country of his birth.
The Good Know Nothing
Series: Hickey Family Crime Novels. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 70,840. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2020 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
While the Great Depression threatens to divide Tom's family, a popular novel delivers clues about his father's disappearance. To learn the truth, he needs to confront the author B Traven, a desperado alleged to be the Sundance Kid, and tycoon William Randolph Hearst. “Kuhlken is an original, and in these days of cookie-cutter fiction, originality is something to be prized.” San Diego Union
The Do-Re-Mi
Pre-release—available January 23, 2021. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,910. Language: English. Published by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
A Shamus Best P.I. Novel Award finalist. Rural Northern California, 1972, Tom and Wendy Hickey’s adopted son Alvaro, a musician booked at a folk festival, flees from a murder accusation. His brother Clifford’s best chance of proving him innocent requires the help of hippies and Jesus freaks.
The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles
Series: Hickey Family Crime Novels. Price: Free! Words: 70,110. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2020 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
In 1926, Tom Hickey's dear friend is lynched, yet neither police nor mainstream media admit the crime happened. Tom, a USC fullback, feels compelled to investigate and soon finds himself a one-man team taking on a formidable opponent whose roster includes the KKK, a corrupt and violent police force, newspaper magnates Harry Chandler and W.R. Hearst, and beloved Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.
The Holy Grail
Series: For America. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 51,840. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2020 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Literature » Literary
The Holy Grail concludes the For America saga with Otis escaping from prison and fleeing Mexico in pursuit of revenge and to settle with his nemesis Cynthia Jones and with the man she calls the Enemy, who has returned to his family home on a spiritualist commune near Mount Shasta.
War
Series: For America. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 39,950. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2020 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Historical » USA
Book Four of For America. Otis Otterbach decides he won't live in the same world as the ones who killed his dearest friend. He trains to make himself into a ruthless warrior then and sets off on what he supposes will likely be a suicide mission. After searching in wilderness and jungles, he finally arrives in the capital of Mexico, where the Enemy and followers await him.
Happy
Price: Free! Words: 11,320. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2019 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Movements / existentialism, Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
Soren Kierkegaard has helped me navigate through difficult times, some of which involved a state of mind Mr. Kierkegaard lived through. Rather than use a more clinical (and offensive) word, I'll call it melancholy. For Christmas, 2019, I'm trying to share and honor the philosopher's wisdom.
The Gas Crisis
Series: For America. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 42,220. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2019 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Following the loss of his home and best friend,, Otis faces tough questions including whether to stay married and whether to kill Henry Tucker, whom his nemesis Cynthia Jones calls the Enemy. These dilemmas send him from California to Iowa where he enrolls in a prestigious graduate school, encounters famous writers living and dead, and flees in haunted desperation.
This Rough Beast
Series: For America. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 39,700. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2019 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Otis Otterbach attempts to make a life after his best and most trusted friend disappears, perhaps on the run from arrest for murder. The story follows and interprets the hopes and turmoil of the 1960s including the Vietnam war, protest movements in Berkeley, and the Manson family from the point of view of the girl whose testimony assured Manson's conviction.
Supermen
Series: For America. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 35,850. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2019 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Sports
Otis Otterbach, born the day the atom bomb destroys Hiroshima, is mentored by his grandma, a poet and painter who teaches him to believe in the implausible, and his father who coaches him in baseball so well, he becomes a big-league pitching prospect. But wicked conflicts visit in the person of Cynthia Jones, mother of Casey, Otis’s best friend and catcher.
Hickey and McGee
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 274,200. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2018 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Christian » Mystery & detective
Hickey and McGee is at once an epic love story and a novel of crime, corruption, faith, madness, and extreme courage. A Hickey family crime novel: "Elegant, eloquent, and elegiac, Kuhlken's novels sing an old melody, at the same time haunting and beautiful." Novelist Don Winslow
The Answer to Everything
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 92,630. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2018 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Courtroom, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
The Answer to Everything: (San Diego, Tijuana, Lake Tahoe, 1990) Attorney Alvaro Hickey assists in the murder of a Tijuana cartel sicaro then becomes the murderer’s lawyer. The cartel, which has lately massacred an entire family, now targets another whole family -- Alvaro's.
The Very Least
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 99,310. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2018 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Literature » Literary
The Very Least: (San Diego, Tijuana, Lake Tahoe, 1985) A dear friend of journalist Clifford Hickey's cousin Bo crosses the border on the run from a charge of molesting children in a church nursery school. After Clifford offers to help Bo clear her friend, he infuriates killers, politicians, church leaders, and tycoons on both sides of the border.
Newport Ave.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 66,550. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2018 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Christian » Suspense
A fugitive from a manslaughter charge returns home to a foggy California beach town hoping to protect his sister Olivia from her estranged husband, a mob-connected gambler. He and his closest old friend, a devoted Christian family man decide the only sure way to protect Olivia is to kill the gambler. Newport Ave, a gripping novel in the noir tradition explores crime's endless consequences.
Cars: California Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,000. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2016 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Cars: California Stories: The lowdown about a state we all should visit though we might not want to risk living there.
Write Smart
Price: Free! Words: 9,850. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2013 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing & books
(4.00 from 1 review)
Ken Kuhlken shares insights gained over thirty-some years as a novelist and professor. By following the Write Smart process, writers will efficiently conceive, create, revise, and sell their stories.
Reading Brother Lawrence
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 34,230. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Religious biography, Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christianity
(5.00 from 1 review)
The Practice of the Presence of God is a classic of Christian literature, loved by Catholics and Protestants, praised by the likes of John Wesley and A.W. Tozer. During a troubled time, novelist Ken Kuhlken discovered the book helped him find some peace and promised even more if he could fully understand. Reading Brother Lawrence chronicles his search for understanding.
Midheaven
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 93,110. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2010 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Christian » Romance
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Finalist for PEN's prestigious Ernest Hemingway Award, Midheaven is told by Jodi McGee who, troubled by her father's gambling and the arrogance of her wealthy peers, turns from drugs and boys to radical Christianity. But when she falls for a gambler, hard choices test her will, her faith, her love, and her sanity.
No Cats, No Chocolate
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,310. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2010 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel, Nonfiction » Publishing
In No Cats, No Chocolate, mystery authors Ken Kuhlken and Alan Russell hit the road with high hopes and dreams of winning the fame they're convinced they deserve, as guests on a national television show.
Road Kill
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,650. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2010 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Road Kill introduces Ken Kuhlken and Alan Russell, an odd pair of mystery writers on an epic journey to convince America's readers. to buy their books. But allied against them are dark forces perhaps led by their competitors.
Writing and the Spirit
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 33,300. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2010 by Ken Kuhlken, Publisher Hickey & McGee. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
Ken Kuhlken, much acclaimed author of stories, novels, and essays, has long puzzled over the mystery we call inspiration. Here he offers insights about attitudes, habits and practices through which all manner of artists find themselves inspired. Writing and the Spirit is a guide to living as a successful and valuable artist.

Ken Kuhlken's tag cloud

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