Michael C. Wootton
  • Thrillers

Robert Blake Whitehill

Robert Blake Whitehill was born into a Quaker family in Mardela Springs, just outside Salisbury on Maryland’s Eastern Shore peninsula. The family home lay next to the pond that powered a colonial-era relic, the Barren Creek Mill. He grew up sailing the Chesapeake Bay, and one of her most beautiful tributaries, the Chester River.

After graduating from Westtown School Whitehill stayed in Pennsylvania to earn his B.A. in creative writing at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Later he trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London,  ...See more >

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"A familiar plot that pushes itself above average thanks to a brooding ambiance and a scene-stealing baddie."

Kirkus Reviews


Conversations Book Club Top 100 Books of 2012, 2012: DEADRISE

Deadrise, 2013

Nitro Express, 2013

Deadrise, 2012

Hometown Chestertown, Maryland

Favorite author Scott Smith

Favorite book A Simple Plan

Day job Writing

Unexpected skill or talent Licensed Pilot, Emergency Medical Technician

Passion in life Flying, Boating,


Pub Date:
Page count: 393pp

In Whitehill’s thriller, an unearthed treasure comes with the promise of wealth—along with covert operatives who will do whatever necessary to retrieve their loot.

While diving for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, former Navy sniper Ben Blackshaw identifies the body of his father, who abandoned him 15 years ago. The shipwreck nearby bears a fortune in gold, but when Ben and his sole crewman, Knocker Ellis, return under the cover of darkness, the salvaged gold comes with a bonus: a nuke that they’ve inadvertently triggered with a 24-hour timer. Maynard Chalk, working for a corrupt senator, desperately needs the booty and the bomb because his shell company was a go-between for two factions anticipating the delivery of their goods in a couple of days. There is a sense of wariness among the characters that envelops Whitehill’s debut novel. Distrust adds dimension to Ben’s interaction with people on his island home—a boatman’s curiosity may or may not be innocent—as well as Chalk’s knowledge of terrorists actively looking for the device. A hardy action sequence is ignited by multiple villains making their way to the island and the islanders arming themselves to defend their homes. The novel might have benefited from a stronger female presence: Taheer, an Iranian officer, is introduced after being outwitted by Chalk and forced to tend to his wounds; LuAnna, Ben’s fiancée and a natural resources officer, is little more than a victim; and the island women spend their time making coffee and meals for the men. As for the male characters, none are quite as unforgettable as Chalk, an outrageous antagonist whose animosity for nearly everyone but himself is complemented by a stunning amount of charm. He’s a man who’d suggest using the bomb because he’s bored and wants “to put the fun back in dysfunction.”

A familiar plot that pushes itself above average thanks to a brooding ambiance and a scene-stealing baddie.



Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Action

Holed up in a frigid New York City basement lair, Ben Blackshaw gets a coded distress call from his former commanding officer. The new mission takes Blackshaw on an international manhunt for a mysterious sniper. To launch the mission, Blackshaw is secretly flown across the country in an unmanned drone. When the UAV's encrypted guidance system is hacked by a sleeper cell of terrorists, the plane crashes, delivering Blackshaw into the hands of gunmen intent on killing him. He barely survives this opening skirmish, only to come under fire on a Los Angeles rooftop from the rogue sniper. His former CO, and two innocent bystanders are cut down in the barrage of bullets. Racked with grief, driven by guilt, Blackshaw reconnects with his old friend, Knocker Ellis Hogan, and together they try to lead the murderer away from populated areas before making the kill. The chase leapfrogs from the high Chilean desert to the icy wastes of northern Canada. At every turn, the killer slips away from their traps like a ghost. Along the way, Blackshaw learns that the sniper's deadly work is directed from the highest offices of the United States Government, and is part of a larger conspiracy to ignite a genocidal war-for-profit in South America. After Ellis is gravely wounded, Blackshaw makes a final stand on a wrecked ship in the Chesapeake Bay, only to discover that the killer's identity could make completing the mission next to impossible

ISBN: 978-1-939927-60-6
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