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The Scientology Murders: A Dead Detective Novel


The second installment in the Dead Detective series finds protagonist Harry Doyle embroiled in a multiple-murder investigation involving Scientology executives.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Heffernan’s style harks back to traditional hard-boiled mysteries . . . The Scientology Murders isn’t likely to make the church’s recommended reading list, but for mystery fans it’s an entertaining tale.”
Tampa Bay Times

“Action moves from Florida’s Gulf Coast to the wilds of Alaska, where a most satisfying conclusion takes place. Heffernan pulls no punches in taking on Scientology (and, briefly, Tom Cruise) in this long-awaited return of Harry Doyle. Hard-boiled action with a layer of controversy.”

“The Dead Detective pursues miscreants attached to the Church of Scientology from their Florida headquarters to the Yukon State . . . Highly entertaining.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The good guys—Doyle; his detective partner, Vicky Stanopolis; and Clearwater police sergeant Max Abrams—remain entertaining and appealing throughout.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is Heffernan’s second novel about the ‘Dead Detective,’ Harry Doyle, a Pinellas County homicide detective, who in this book investigates a series of murders that lead back to the intensely secretive Church of Scientology.”
Tampa Bay Times, Included in Florida-themed books roundup

“Many readers will enjoy the peek inside the organization’s hierarchy. Also enjoyable is the spirited romance between Doyle and Vicky Stanopolis, his partner in more ways than one. And the surprise ending is a wowser.”
Mystery Scene Magazine

“While investigating a murder that has also left his much-loved adoptive father seriously wounded, Harry Doyle (aka the Dead Detective) finds himself contending with executives from the Church of Scientology.”
Publishers Weekly, Spring 2017 announcements, Mysteries & Thrillers

“This is a fun and fast paced novel . . . If you are a thriller or mystery reader and curious about the inner workings of Scientology, then The Scientology Murders is a must read.”
Lit Reactor

Praise for The Dead Detective:

The Dead Detective is Heffernan’s first novel in seven years, and wherever he’s been, he hasn’t forgotten how to write a good, gritty police procedural . . . This edgy police drama succeeds in capturing the hysteria that grips Tampa residents when a celebrity criminal is found dead in a cypress swamp.”
New York Times Book Review

The Dead Detective is a meaty story that offers an intriguing and conflicted protagonist, a darkly fascinating victim, solid police procedural detail, a knowing look at the Tampa Bay area and its politics, an unlikely murderer, and a creepy denouement that hints that Detective Harry Doyle will be back.”

“In his first new novel in seven years, Edgar Award winner Heffernan delivers a readable, tidy police procedural that echoes any number of popular television series, from The Mentalist to Criminal Minds, whose many fans will find this series debut enjoyable.”
Library Journal

“After a lengthy hiatus, Edgar Award winner Heffernan makes a welcome return . . . Tough, troubled Harry Doyle will keep readers in line.”
Kirkus Reviews


A series of murders in Florida have left the police force baffled and Detective Harry Doyle’s much-loved adoptive father seriously wounded. As his investigation becomes personal, Doyle—known to his peers as the Dead Detective—finds he must penetrate one of the most private institutions in the country in order to track down those responsible.

Clearwater, Florida, is the spiritual center of Scientology, a religion that encourages its members to remain pure and true to their beliefs. One senior leader has a misguided young man in his employ, a twisted soul who will stop at nothing to make sure the rules are followed—even if it means shaming the very virtues espoused by the church.

With veils of secrecy surrounding the church’s inner sanctums, the detectives are stonewalled at every turn. Eventually, however, the investigation leads Doyle, his partner Vicky Stanopolis, and Clearwater Sergeant Max Abrams to the far reaches of Alaska, where they come face-to-face with death in a form they never expected.

Listen to an interview with William Heffernan at Florida Matters (WUSF 89.7).

Book Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Published: 4/4/17
  • IBSN: 9781617755361
  • e-IBSN: 9781617755521
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617755354


WILLIAM HEFFERNAN is the Edgar Award–winning author of nineteen novels, including the international best sellers The Corsican and The Dinosaur Club, as well as The Dead Detective, When Johnny Came Marching Home, A Time Gone By, Cityside, and Beulah Hill. He divides his time between his forty-foot trawler in Florida and visits to his children around the country. Prior to turning to fiction thirty-six years ago, Heffernan was a New York City newspaper reporter who was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize. The Scientology Murders is his latest novel.

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