Meet today’s featured ThrillerFest 2017 debut author, Brian Klingborg, and his new novel of suspense, Kill Devil Falls. Check out how he answered our “thrill-worthy” questions!

BookTrib: If you were on death row, what would be your last read? And why? 

Brian Klingborg: If I were on death row, I would choose as my final reading material something to help me gain perspective on the nature of life, the universe, why we are born and why we die. One option might be Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. To be perfectly honest, I already own this book, but so far I haven’t been able to make it past the first three chapters. No doubt, knowing the end is near would provide sufficient motivation to finish it.

Alternatively, I might select a book I enjoy for the irreverent manner in which it explores the limits of logic and rationality – the Zhuangzi, a Taoist text written some two thousand years ago. Many folks will be familiar with the Zhuangzi’s famous “was I a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I was a man?” passage. The book is filled with similarly delightful and witty stories that illuminate the absurdity of both life and death.

BT: If you were going to kill off your protagonist what method would you use?  And why?

BK: If you’re going to kill off your protagonist, the inclination will be to invent an awesome death, equal parts heroic and heartrending. But in real life, people die in all sorts of silly and ignominious ways. Television personality Steve Irwin was speared by a stingray. The owner of the company that makes Segways tragically drove his Segway off a cliff. In 1919, 21 Bostonians drowned or were crushed when a massive tank of molasses suddenly burst.

That’s why, in order to emphasize the arbitrary and random nature of existence, I would kill off my protagonist by having him choke to death on a meatball while shopping for inexpensive, yet tasteful furniture at IKEA.

BT: What is the all-time best thriller you have ever read? And why?

BK: It’s tough to name the best thriller I’ve ever read, but certainly at the top of the list is The Terror by Dan Simmons. The Terror is a fictionalized account of the Franklin expedition, which set out in 1845 with two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, on a mission to locate the Northwest Passage. Both ships and their crews subsequently vanished without a trace (that’s not exactly true, but it sounds very dramatic).

Simmons appropriates actual members of the expedition as his characters, providing them with well-rounded personalities and motivations. He relates the difficulties they faced when their ships were trapped in the ice of the Canadian arctic, with no hope of getting free, hundreds of miles from civilization, their supplies of fuel and food rapidly diminishing. Oh, and did I mention there is a huge monster stalking them?

Not only is The Terror a good yarn, but Simmons does a wonderful job of incorporating history and fact into his fantastical tale. I really love a book that not only thrills me, but teaches me something as well.

Head to Amazon to purchase Kill Devil Falls.


KILL DEVIL FALLS Brian KlingborgWhen U.S. Marshal Helen Morrissey is tasked with collecting a fugitive bank robber from a remote town in the Sierra Nevadas, she braces for a rough trip. After all, with a name like Kill Devil Falls, her destination must be a real hellhole.

Turns out that it’s worse than she imagined. Much worse. After barely surviving a white-knuckle drive in what she suspects is a sabotaged car, she’s stuck in a virtual ghost town populated by a handful of oddballs and outcasts. But it’s not until her prisoner turns up dead that Helen realizes she’s in real trouble. There are secrets buried below the surface of Kill Devil Falls. Secrets worth killing for.


Brian KlingborgBrian Klingborg has served in various publishing roles, in the US, Europe and Asia, for more than two decades. He has written for television and authored two non-fiction books on the Chinese martial arts. He currently lives in New York City and Kill Devil Falls is his first novel.