top of page
Top of Page

B I O 

A U T H O R   C H A R L I E   D O N L E A 

Charlie Donlea is the USA Today and #1 International bestselling author of propulsive, female-driven thrillers including The Girl Who Was Taken, Don't Believe It, Twenty Years Later, and Those Empty Eyes. His eighth thriller, LONG TIME GONE, explores the science of forensic genealogy and will be released in June 2024. 

A late bloomer, he was twenty years old when he read his first novel–THE FIRM by John Grisham–and knew he would someday write thrillers. Published in forty countries and translated into nearly twenty languages, his books have sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone and have been optioned for film and television.

Praised for his "soaring pace, teasing plot twists" (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that "makes your jaw drop" (The New York Times Book Review), Donlea has been called a "bold new writer...on his way to becoming a major figure in the world of suspense" (Publishers Weekly).

He resides in Chicago with his wife and two children.

Author Charlie Donlea

Charlie Donlea
Photo Credit: Carrianne Photography 

The Mark of a Good Book
The Mark of A Good Book

The Mark
Of A Good


The Mark of a

Good Book


I am well aware of the entertainment venues that compete with novels. Although an avid reader, I,
too, am a lover of music
and movies, of television
and sports.


I'm a sucker for watching acoustic covers on YouTube. If you've seen one Zac Brown video, you know you'll need to see them all. I've binge-watched entire television series—headphones on, iPad to the nose and lights off in the middle of the night. Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy caused me more lost sleep than any writing deadline. Sunday afternoons are spent watching football. And my family has a standing date each week called Friday Night Movie Night.


So, I understand my novels are up against steep competition—and this doesn't take into account the vast number of other novels written by authors whose talents far surpass my own.


But when I set out to write my stories, I wanted to give them a chance. I wanted them to possess the ammunition needed to fight off the competition. So I took inventory and pinpointed what, exactly, makes me pick up a book rather than reach for the remote or log onto the computer.


And the answer is this: The book has to call me back to it.


If a story makes me think about it after I've put it down, if it makes me wonder what will happen next, if it makes me ponder where the characters are going and what is in store for them—then, when I'm free and able to spend leisure time on entertainment, hands down I'm reaching for that book before anything else.


I've been fortunate to hear from readers around the world who’ve told me my novels have done exactly that. I've enjoyed hearing that readers couldn't wait to get back to the stories. "Couldn't put it down" is a cliché. We all have lives and work and responsibilities that force us to put books down. But when I hear that readers couldn't wait to get back to the books, I know I've succeeded. When they couldn't wait to return to the characters they are getting to know, the setting they are starting to visualize, the story that's subtly poking their curiosity, and the mystery they think they've got solved but need just another few pages to be sure—well, then my books have a fighting chance against the competition.


So try them. Pick up one of my novels and get into the story. Then, put it down and get on with your life. If the characters or the setting or the mystery calls you back to it, then turn off the television for a night, stow the tablet at bedtime, and read a good book. And if you're able to figure out the twists or guess the endings in one of my books, let me know by dropping me a line.  I'd love to hear from you. 

Happy Reading!


—Charlie Donlea

bottom of page