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Featured: Adults

Do you enjoy reading about real and fictitious Iowa murders and mysteries? Then join us on July 30th when bestselling Iowa author, Heather Gudenkauf, visits to introduce her new book, One Breath Away!

One Breath Away

By Heather Gudenkauf

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits. Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

Deadly Scholarship: The True Story of Lu Gang and Mass Murder in America’s Heartland

By Edwin Chen

A gripping study of mass murder at the University of Iowa analyzes the tragic events of November 1, 1991, to examine why a Chinese graduate student killed a fellow student, three faculty members, and a university associate vice-president, before killing himself.


A Long December

By Donald Harstad

Harstad is at the top of his game in this captivating fifth case for rural Iowa deputy sheriff Carl Houseman. It all begins when Carl and state agent Hester Gorse get a call to come out to the Heinmen boys’ farm, where they find one dead, and I mean really dead, dude lying in the roadway. Another even deader dude leads the pair to a crime with international implications, involving a kosher meat-packing plant that employs enough illegal aliens to make the small town of Battenberg a cultural melting pot, with the nation’s highest per capita population of rabbis.

Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America’s Heartland

By Patricia L. Bryan

In 1900, Margaret Hossack, the wife of a prominent Iowa farmer, was arrested for bludgeoning her husband to death with an ax while their children slept upstairs. The community was outraged: How could a woman commit such an act of violence? Firsthand accounts describe the victim, John Hossack, as a cruel and unstable man. Perhaps Margaret Hossack was acting out of fear. Or perhaps the story she told was true-that an intruder broke into the house, killed her husband while she slept soundly beside him, and was still on the loose.

The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story

By Mark A. Tabb

After the citizens of Parkersburg, Iowa, survive a F-5 tornado that nearly destroys their entire town, they are stunned by the murder of their beloved football coach, Ed Thomas, at the hands of a former player. What happens next in this incredible true story provides a lesson in grace and forgiveness that inspired the entire country.


These Things Hidden

By Heather Gudenkauf

From a critically acclaimed author comes a provocative, powerful, and deeply moving story. A legacy of secrets connects the birth of one little boy, where, if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who had tried to protect him, and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

Villisca: The True Account of the Unsolved 1912 Mass Murder that Stunned the Nation

By Roy Marshall

In 1912 what was arguably the most violent crime, the darkest mystery, in Midwest history took place. Law enforcement officers encountered a scene of unimagined violence: eight victims, six of them children, bludgeoned to death with an ax while they slept. Everywhere there were clues. But inexperienced investigators failed, and private detectives took over. When Detective James Newton Wilkerson charged that a respected state senator had been motivated to the unthinkable by the promiscuity of his daughter-in-law, the community was drawn into a bitter and accelerating struggle between powerful men.

Wake Up Little Susie

By Edward Gorman

In 1958, with hoopla and picnics and fireworks, Ford introduced the Edsel to America. In Black River Falls, Iowa, the dead body of the nineteen-year-old Suzie Jo O’Herlihy in the trunk of a brand-new Edsel upstages the ill-fated car. Sam McCain makes some troubling discoveries about his hometown’s upstanding citizens as he tracks down Suzie’s elusive murderer.

The Weight of Silence

By Heather Gudenkauf

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

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