Thrillers with a Dash of Whimsy

The Journalist

If Jeff can’t save his ghostly ancestors from disappearing, so will he.

Writing for a cheesy Boston tabloid, Jeff Beekle fabricates a whimsical tale about a mob-built CIA prison for ghosts.

Which turns out to be true.

Now both the mob and the CIA have Jeff in their sights.

Even worse, Jeff discovers that his great-grandmother is an inmate and that she and the other spectral residents are being groomed as CIA spies. (And why not? They’re invisible, draw no salary, and won’t hop into bed with enemy agents.)

To his horror, Jeff learns that ancestors held too long in earthly captivity will vanish as if never born, taking with them all their descendants, including him.

Can Jeff outwit the mob and the CIA, free his ghostly ancestors, destroy the prison and save himself?

Encircle Publications. (

(I strongly recommend that you buy two copies in case you misplace one.)

David Gardner

David Gardner grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, served in Army Special Forces and earned a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught college, worked as a reporter and sold women’s shoes.

He coauthored three programming books for Prentice Hall, wrote dozens of travel articles as well as too many mind-numbing computer manuals.

He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Nancy, also a writer. He hikes, bikes, messes with astrophotography and plays the keyboard with no discernible talent whatsoever.

The Last Speaker of Skälwegian

A whimsical thriller coming in September 2021 (Encircle Publications).

Desperate to salvage his teaching career, Professor Lenny Thorson seizes the opportunity to document the Skälwegian language with Charlie Fox, its last living speaker. Or so he says.

If Charlie can convince a judge that he’s the last speaker of Skälwegian, he’ll inherit a mineral-rich island off the coast of Norway, which he plans to give to charity. If Charlie fails, the island will go to a mobster and his wife. 

When Lenny learns that Charlie isn’t quite who he says he is, he faces a dilemma: Should he blow the whistle on Charlie, or should he break the law and stay with the project?

Lenny chooses the latter, and he subsequently loses his job and his girlfriend, becomes the unsuspecting object of several grotesquely unsuccessful attempts to kill him, and ends up fighting for his life as a reenactor in an uproariously inaccurate Revolutionary War battle.