Persistent Author Jaden Terrell Creates a Hard-Boiled P.I. and a First-Rate Whodunit in RACING THE DEVIL

When readers open the pages of RACING THE DEVIL (The Permanent Press, January release) they will encounter protagonist Jared McKean, a multi-layered private eye with a gritty edge and a big heart.

The book is the creation of writer Jaden Terrell, a persistent author who is anything but an overnight success.

Terrell’s 264-page novel, which is drawing praise from fellow authors, is the culmination of years of honing the mystery writing craft, hanging out with medical examiners and detectives, attending writers’ conferences and citizen police academies…and countless setbacks. After Terrell’s first agent died, a friend published the book for her through a self-publishing company. A few years later, the book was picked up by Night Shadows Press, a small independent publishing company. Finally in 2010, after contracting for the second book in the series, The Permanent Press obtained the rights to Racing the Devil as well.

The readers are the beneficiaries of Terrell’s graduation from the writer’s school of hard knocks.

As the book’s synopsis explains:

Nashville Private Investigator Jared McKean has a son with Down Syndrome, a best friend with AIDS, an ex-wife he can’t seem to fall out of love with, and a weakness for women in jeopardy–until one frames him for murder.

“It’s been a long journey to get to this point. I’m lucky to have a well-known and highly respected publisher in The Permanent Press, one that’s known for publishing novels with deep characters and authentic plots and storylines,” said Terrell, a Nashville resident.

Asked about that long journey, Terrell added, “Some authors are like Secretariat. They shoot out of the starting gate and blast like a comet across the finish line six lengths ahead of the rest of the field. They get the big advance. They get on Oprah. Their early novels are bestsellers. Well I’m no Secretariat. I’m Hidalgo. Hidalgo wasn’t the flashiest or the fastest, but when the rest of the field fell by the wayside or turned back because the going was too hard, he just kept putting one foot in front of the other. The writing life is wonderful, but it isn’t easy. Unless you’re a  Secretariat, it comes with rejection, with failure, with disappointment after disappointment. A lot of writers decide it isn’t worth the heartache or the stress. But I knew where I wanted to go, and I knew that if I just kept writing, kept rewriting, took another workshop, sent out another fifty queries—whatever it took—like Hidalgo, I would eventually get there.”

So Terrell picked the brains of Nashville detectives, medical examiners and psychologists. She participated in police ride-alongs, talked to assistant district attorneys and took good notes.

“I wanted Racing the Devil to be real for the readers,” Terrell said. “Not only in terms of Jared’s investigative skills, but also in terms of his character and temperament. I knew he was going to be a PI. He’s this tough guy but I surrounded him with people who bring out the underlying compassion in him. What you learn, while he’s trying to prove his innocence, is that Jared is a person who hangs on to the people he loves. I call him a hardboiled hero with a softboiled heart.”


Terrell’s hard work on Racing The Devil is reaping early praise.

“The successful merging of the personal side of Jared’s life and the murder mystery made this an absolute favorite for me.”

-Jochem Steen, creator of Sons of Spade blogsite

“The whodunit is first rate, but it’s the characters who steal the show.”

-K. Irvin, author of A Deadly Wilderness

“Terrell’s got a real ear for dialog, the characters are compelling and the plot nicely twisted.”

-Sallie Bissell, author of In the Forest of Harm

“I read this mystery in two evenings—kept me up past midnight.”

-B.J. Mountford, author of the Shackelford Island Mysteries