Head Case
by Michael Wiley

Chicago private investigator Sam Kelson uncovers more than he bargained for when he investigates a series of suspicious deaths at the Clement Memorial Hospital.

“My friend, this place is killing people.”

While in the hospital recuperating from a gunshot wound, Chicago PI Sam Kelson is approached by a nurse who’s troubled by three recent deaths. No pattern, no connection – except that three patients died when they shouldn’t have.

Initially skeptical, Kelson starts asking questions – and the more he uncovers, the clearer it becomes that something isn’t right. What exactly has been going on at Clement Memorial Hospital? Has someone been killing patients? If so, why? As Kelson digs deeper, he comes to realize that someone is determined to prevent him finding out the truth. Whatever it takes.


Outstanding … The whodunit plotline is enhanced by Wiley’s superior gift at integrating humor, mostly deriving from Kelson’s inability to keep himself from sharing blunt truths. The author’s ingenuity shows no sign of diminishing. Fans of the TV series Monk will be enthralled

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

The setup is red meat to crime-story lovers ... The case is resolved in a stunning climax that will leave readers paging back to take in those magical lines one more time


Wiley's quirky lead, who's unable to keep his thoughts to himself, will appeal to fans of oddball sleuths like Jonathan Lethem's Lionel Essrog

Publishers Weekly on Lucky Bones

This darkly humorous PI novel offers nonstop, violent action, and is perfect for readers who enjoy Donald Westlake's quirky 'Dortmunder' characters

Library Journal on Lucky Bones

Wiley keeps the twists coming

Publishers Weekly on Trouble in Mind

Sam Kelson, the PI star of this thorny novel, takes the damaged-detective trope to a new level ... Sure to satisfy

Booklist on Trouble in Mind

A violent mystery that introduces a singular character guided by his sometimes twisted thoughts. Readers of L L Bartlett's 'Jeff Resnick' mysteries may be intrigued

Library Journal on Trouble in Mind

Like your noir pitch-black? So does Wiley

Kirkus Reviews on Monument Road

Noir fiction doesn't get much darker ... Wiley is extremely good at creating an atmosphere of menacing dread ... New shocks occur all the way to the last page

Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Blue Avenue

Michael Wiley

Michael Wiley was brought up in Chicago, and now teaches creative writing and literature at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. As well as the Franky Dast thrillers, he is the Shamus Award-winning author of the Chicago-based Joe Kozmarski PI series, the Daniel Turner thrillers, and the Sam Kelson mysteries. His first Franky Dast thriller, Monument Road, was nominated for the 2018 Shamus Best PI Novel Award and the Sam Kelson mystery, Head Case, was nominated for the same award in 2022.

View author page


Head Case by Michael Wiley is available in the following formats

Hardback97807278898366th April 2021146 X 225mm256$28.99
Hardback978072788983629th January 2021146 X 225mm256£20.99
Ebook97814483050011st March 2021N/A256$14.99
Ebook97814483050011st March 2021N/A256£12.99
FormatISBNPublication DateDimensionsPagesPrice