Retired to a small Colorado mountain town, ex-Denver homicide detective Woodrow “Mountain” Bell yearns only to fade away. He’s failed in so many ways—as a father, a husband, friend, and cop—he fears he’s missed his chance for at a meaningful life. But when he stumbles across a long-forgotten, unsolved child murder, his first impulse is to let it lie … but he can’t. He’s drawn into the macabre mystery when he realizes the killer might still be near. Without help from ambivalent local cops, Bell must overcome the obstacles of time, age, a lack of police resources, and his own personal flaws by calling upon the unique skills of the end-of-the-road codgers he meets for coffee every morning—a club of old guys who call themselves Deaf Row. Soon, this mottled crew finds itself on a collision course with a serial butcher.

DEAF ROW is more than a tense mystery novel, more than an unnerving psychological thriller drawn from Ron Franscell’s career as a bestselling true-crime writer and journalist. It is also a novel of men pushing back against time and death, trying not to disappear entirely. DEAF ROW is a moving, occasionally humorous, portrait of ordinary men with more past than future. And although you might think you know where this ghastly case is headed, the climax will blindside you!

Reviews and interviews in the media

Praise for DEAF ROW

★★★★★ “Ron Franscell’s ‘Deaf Row’ tells a darkly engrossing story with masterful, easy-flowing prose and a clever infusion of humor. The tension builds incrementally to a chilling five-star climax in which Franscell puts his well-honed skill as a true crime author to good use. It gave me goosebumps big time.”  —ANNE HILLERMAN, bestselling author of the Leaphorn, Chee, Manuelito mysteries 

“A line-up that begs to be part of a movie. Author Ron Franscell, who writes both fiction and nonfiction, creates an endearing group of old men in a gripping story of a psychotic killer.”  — DENVER POST

“DEAF ROW is a self-aware, clever police procedural with a riveting climax, but what truly sets this mystery apart is its wonderfully realized characters. Franscell explores struggles with aging, death and friendship with poignant prose, humor and affection and has given us yet another gem of a book that’s impossible to put down. I fell in love with these guys in DEAF ROW!”   —CHRISTINE CARBO, bestselling author of A SHARP SOLITUDE

“A first-class mystery!”  —JORDAN RICH, WBZ-AM/Boston

“A lot of people write about crime, but Ron Franscell is a real writer. He stands nearly alone in his ability to render a narrative with an undisputed gift for storytelling.”  —GREGG OLSEN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of IF YOU TELL 

I’m a big fan of Ron Franscell’s works and I consider them ‘can’t-miss’ crime books.”   —CJ BOX, #1 New York Times bestselling author of LONG RANGE and THE HIGHWAY

“As you read along, be sure to dog-ear the pages bursting with Franscell’s gritty descriptions – a sentence, a paragraph or a page – of the silver-haired people and the gray places of rural Colorado in this raw, wintry crime novel.”   —ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL

“Ron Franscell is well-known and justly revered for his brilliant, often elegant and always suspenseful non-fiction, but with DEAF ROW he breaks new ground and creates an immediately unforgettable new fictional character — Mountain Bell — who takes his place right near the top in the pantheon of thriller heroes. If you haven’t yet read Franscell, this is a fantastic place to start, in a novel of shattering power and a mystery that will take your breath away. Highly recommended!”  —JOHN LESCROART, author of 19 NYTimes bestsellers, including THE 13th JUROR and THE MISSING PIECE

“A solid mystery that will keep readers rooting for [Woodrow] Bell and his band of retirees. For fans of Craig Johnson, CJ Box and Meg Gardiner.”   —LIBRARY JOURNAL

By the second paragraph of Deaf Row, I was invested. … I can’t say enough about Deaf Row, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Ron Franscell is one of our finest modern literary masters and this book proves it.”  —Robert Waters’ KIDNAPPING, MURDER & MAYHEM BLOG

“A fantastic whodunit, but that’s only part of what makes it so good … it’s also a story about aging, redemption, friendship, and connection. Finishing DEAF ROW was bittersweet; satisfying, yet like saying goodbye to a group of folks I’d come to care about like family.”  —KATE RICE in OIL CITY NEWS, Casper WY

“A stroke of genius … I fell in love with these characters.”   —TIM DENNIS, host at Darkness Radio

Smart writing and colorful characters from one of crime’s best storytellers.”   —MYSTERYVOX

“Masterfully written mystery that kept me turning the pages until I reached the very end. ★★★★★”  —BILLY BURGESS at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

“[Franscell’s] fictional characters and settings feel as real as those in top-notch true crime work. However, he’s also created an excellent mystery thriller that will rank with the best of the year.”  —#SilverScreenVideos @ Amazon


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