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Writers Inspiring Change feature book review: The Chalk Line Killer

Updated: 2 days ago

The Chalk Line Killer (The Detective Cole Sullivan Series 2) by Russell Warnberg, is a crime thriller in the classical style. A spree of bizarre killings with a chalk line drawn around the victims by the killer, leads Cole Sullivan and his team into a dark world of sociopathic monsters, where the caustic and poisonous touch of revenge has cast its players in roles where murder is easy and where empathy and guilt are not scripted. The story plays-out in several towns and cities, drawing in police and detectives who must work together as the blood-lust threatens their lives and the lives of their loved ones. This is good old-fashioned crime-fighting, Sherlocking the trail of blood and scraps of clues, while holding the reader to the very end of the novel to find out what will happen.

Review by International Writers Inspiring Change

About Russell Warnberg

IWIC: Tell us about yourself.Russell: I grew up in Minnesota and at the age of eighteen I shipped out with the Navy. They sent me to an Anti-Submarine Squadron based in Maine. While there I met a young lady, who later was foolish enough to accept my proposal of marriage. We then moved back to Minnesota where I attended the University of Minnesota and after three years we moved back to Maine where I finished my two degrees at the University of Maine. I spent the next forty-one years teaching in both public and private schools. We have one son who went to the Naval Academy and served in the Persian Gulf. After his discharge he was married and has given us two wonderful grandchildren.

IWIC: What inspired you to start writing?Russell: I first became interested in writing while taking a creative writing class at the University of Minnesota and several years later I wrote a short novel that I was unable to get published. It wasn’t until my last year of teaching that I decided it was time to try again. It was at this point that I was given a laptop. Brushing up on my typing skills I wrote a short piece that ended up being the first page of what later became the first novel in The Detective Cole Sullivan series. I am now working on the fifth in that series. After finishing the third mystery novel, I needed to write something entirely different. “2064 A Warning“, is the result of that change in direction.

IWIC: Tell us about your book.Russell:2064 A Warning“, is a dystopia. This genre is not generally uplifting, but rather a dark look into the future. Woven into the novel is a love story that some readers have found to be the best part of the story while others found my look into the future intriguing. Many have said it was a real page turner and hard to put down.

IWIC: Is there a message weaved into your writing – some inspiration?Russell: Having taught history for forty-one years and while watching the direction the United States is taking, I decided it was time to spell out where I believe we are headed. Throughout time, many great empires, those based on some form of democracy, have come and gone. Most have followed a similar pattern. The central theme of my novel is showing how many of these great empires have fallen. Alexander Tyler, a Scottish historian wrote in the late 1800’s, “A democracy is always temporary in nature, it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.” The details of his argument is spelled out in the story. Having read Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Orwell’s “1984“, I felt it was necessary to update their visions of the future.

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