Skip to main content


Hard Road sells 250,000 copies

Thriller writer J.B. Turner, High Line, New York City, July 2018

Wow! Just been told that HARD ROAD, the first of the Jon Reznick action thriller series, has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. I’m eternally grateful for every one of my readers who have got behind this series in such big numbers. The Reznick character, a loner and American anti-hero if ever there was one, most certainly seems to have chimed with so many people. And it was the book which started this hugely popular thriller series which I’m very proud of.

I’ve just finished the latest Reznick thriller, provisionally titled Hard Heat, and already sketching out a follow-up! I’ll let you know when I have further details.

If you haven’t got a copy of Hard Road, here’s what you need to know:

Jon Reznick is a “ghost”: a black-ops specialist who takes his orders from shadowy handlers, and his salary from the US government. Still mourning the loss of his beloved wife on 9/11, he’s dispatched to carry out a high-level hit. Reznick knows only that it must look like suicide. It’s textbook.

But the target is not the man Reznick expected. The whole setup is wrong. In an instant the operation is compromised, and Reznick is on the run with the man he was sent to kill. A man wanted by the FBI, and by a mysterious terrorist organization hell-bent on bringing the United States to its knees. FBI Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein is determined to track him down, and to intercept whatever it is Reznick was sent to do.

When Reznick’s young daughter becomes a pawn in the game, he has to use more than his military training to stay one step ahead of those responsible. Meanwhile, he is the only person who knows the true extent of the threat to national security—and has the stealth and determination to stop it.

Hard Way achieves 100,000 sales!

J.B. Turner

Just been told that HARD WAY, the 4th Jon Reznick thriller, has clocked up 100,000 sales worldwide! Many thanks to Amazon Publishing for all their hard work – editorial, design and marketing – making this series such a success. But most of all to all my loyal readers who are making the Jon Reznick series such a winner.


REQUIEM – American Ghost Book 3

Requiem (American Ghost Book 3)

Delighted to reveal the cover for the third in my explosive new AMERICAN GHOST thriller series. REQUIEM (Thomas & Mercer) is out 8 November 2018. Here’s what you need to know:

Nothing and no one can stop assassin Nathan Stone.

When black-ops asset Nathan Stone took out the heads of the Commission, a secret deep-state organization, he thought he’d destroyed them for good. Now he’s gone off the grid, trying to get as far away from his past as possible. But the Commission isn’t done with him yet.

Lying low in a Miami bar, Stone knows something’s up when an alluring actress strikes up a conversation with him. His suspicions are correct. The Commission is hot on his trail, and Stone is soon forced to run deep into the heart of the Everglades with the terrified woman as his hostage. He’s the Commission’s number one target—and this time nothing will stop them from eliminating him.

But Nathan Stone is no ordinary target. The crew of mercenary assassins on his heels have no idea what’s in store for them on the River of Grass. Because the hunt is on, and they picked the wrong prey.

Nathan Stone

Rogue book cover

Thriller writers can go off the deep end with characters.  The darker the character, the better. Such fictional characters as the brilliantly conceived Jackal in Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal,stir up powerful emotions in readers. Fear, excitement or terror. Scientists have even shown that in such heightened circumstances, a chemical reaction in the brain releases dopamine and oxytocin. Which probably partially explains the huge attraction of the thriller genre for readers today.

Nathan Stone, the complex and unsettling protagonist in my latest book, ROGUE (Thomas & Mercer) which has just been released, 7 June 2018 – the first of my new American Ghost™ series – is such a character.

Stone has a past as murky and mysterious as the people who control him. He has been critically wounded while serving as a cover CIA operative and assassin. And everyone thought he was dead. But behind closed doors, he was rehabilitated by a highly secretive government organization known as the Commission. His brief: to execute kill orders drawn up by the Commission, all in the name of national security. The Commission owns him, but Stone knows one wrong move could turn him from loyal asset to hunted man.

Rogue sees Nathan Stone being housed at a secret facility in Scotland. And he is tasked with carrying out a hit on a popular senator who is on a top-secret kill list.

So how did this character come about?

Stone featured in one of my earlier books, Dark Waters, as a minor character. An assassin. But in the American Ghost series, I put Stone front and centre.

The book begins with the deliberations of the Commission – consisting of retired senior CIA and military experts – as to when and where the US senator should be killed. But then, the reader is introduced to Nathan Stone, at a facility off the north west coast of Scotland. A psychologist is trying to determine if Stone is ready to be deployed. He has undergone cosmetic surgery and extensive physical and psychological rehabilitation. New physical and mental identity. But the Commission are unsure if he still has the same killing instincts within him.

The psychologist shows Nathan Stone covert video footage taken of the US senator in Washington DC, the previous day.

“Can you identify this man?” the psychologist asked.

Stone studies the footage. He doesn’t recognize the man.

“Commit that face to memory?” the psychologist said.

When Stone asks why, the reply is simple.

“Because you’re going to kill him in nine days’ time, that’s why.”

But Stone is not just a cold assassin. Events in his past linger on in his mind. Stone is haunted by his upbringing at the hands of his sadistic father. His sister and Nathan suffered from beatings in his childhood home, a filthy one room apartment in New York’s Lower East Side. Their father was a drunk. And beat them every day. But one day, unable to take any more, Nathan’s sister picks up a pair of scissors, and kills their father. She is committed to a psychiatric hospital where she still languishes in Florida. But Stone hasn’t forgotten her.

When Stone is activated, after proving his assassin credentials in the most brutal manner at the secure facility, he begins to shadow the Senator. But what was envisioned as a straightforward hit on an American senator while he was alone, becomes more complicated when the girlfriend of the senator turns up.

Stone is closing in on the senator and the young woman in the wilds of the north west highlands of Scotland, miles from anywhere.

But unbeknown to Stone, the Commission are running a parallel operation. And when national security is at stake, he soon realises that the hunter can quickly become the hunted.

Although Nathan Stone is a dark and complex character, I ultimately wanted the reader to be rooting for him.

As a thriller writer, it meant going off the deep end to ensure a morally ambiguous protagonist, like Nathan Stone, can become a truly compelling character for the reader.


Cover reveal for Reckoning – the 2nd in the American Ghost thriller series


Delighted I can finally reveal the cover for my second book in the AMERICAN GHOST thriller series!

Reckoning is the high-octane follow-up to Rogue and features covert operative Nathan Stone. Great work from Blacksheep in London. Thanks guys.

Thanks also to my editor, Jack Butler, Jane Snelgrove and Hatty, and everyone at Amazon Publishing for their hard work and faith in this brand new series. Special mention also to Faith Black Ross.

Want to know what it’s about?

A sister kidnapped. A journalist in danger. A killer out for revenge.

After taking out a covert facility run by the Commission, a deep-state syndicate, Nathan Stone has made powerful enemies. He’s a black-ops asset—and he’s gone rogue.

But the organization wants payback. Kidnapping Stone’s sister from a Florida psychiatric hospital, the Commission have their asset exactly where they want him. They instruct him to neutralize journalist Mark Mahoney, to whom Stone had previously leaked documents about the Commission and their deadly conspiracy. Now, Nathan Stone has a choice: neutralize Mahoney and kill the story for good, or lose the only family he has left.

Stone knows that these men will stop at nothing to get what they want. Killing Mahoney is just the beginning. And when Stone learns the identity of their final target, he knows he has to stop the Commission once and for all—no matter the cost.

Reckoning is now available for pre-order, exclusively on Amazon, ahead of the 2 August 2018 publication date.

Get it here:

US readers:

Writers Write

writers write

The late, great Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

The same sentiments were echoed in 1946, in Confessions of a Story Writer, by Paul Gallico—author of the the novel The Poseidon Adventure, which was made into a blockbuster disaster movie. He said: “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.”

I believe Hemingway and Gallico are both right.

But what do they mean by that?

I take it to mean that writing should come from a place deep within a writer’s soul. Opening up a vein, metaphorically speaking, the writer spills his blood, pain, disappointments, fears and hurt, whatever’s in his heart, in his bones, down onto the page. You’ve got to believe in the characters and the story with all your heart.

But I believe the Hemingway quote also refer to the simple fact that writing is hard. Sometimes you have to hack out the sentences, word by word. Gut it out, so to speak. And that’s the only way to unearth the gems by digging deep, word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page. Day by day. On and on.

When I wrote my first book, Miami Requiem, it was a day-by-day slog. There was no outline. The idea came to me after I interviewed (I was a journalist in a former life) a woman whose son was on death row. I scribbled down a few words onto my old word processor. Then I hacked through it without a clear idea where I was going. Poured it all out onto the page. All I had were the bones of the story: an old Scots guy on Death Row in Florida and a young African American reporter investigating his case.

Then as I was writing it, I figured out a structure. A primitive outline. Three chapters for the protagonist, followed by one chapter for the second point of view (POV) character. Then protagonist for two chapters, then followed by one chapter for the third POV character. That was the extent of my plotting. It was loose. Very loose. I didn’t realize where the story was headed until I got to the final chapters. But in a way, that was also a good thing. It worked.

Crime fiction novelist Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, said, “I don’t really give a shit about plot—I live and die by story.”

I love that. There’s something to be said for that. It wasn’t so much about the “architecture of the journey”, the plot. But the human story which all readers really want to know about.

I don’t want to know about twenty separate characters and their beautifully imagined lives, and how that story represents this, that and whatever literary motif it’s supposed to be getting over, or whoever it’s trying to impress. The theme. That doesn’t do it for me. It’s got to be about the story. The human story. The human condition. We’ve got to see the characters in action. How they respond. How they act. How they overcome obstacles in their way. This will reveal their character.

But there’s something else. Something so important for a writer to consider from the off.

Get the goddamn story down. Write. Stop whining about how difficult it is. Suck it up. And get down to work. That’s what it is after all. It’s hard work. So, you need to sit yourself down, fix yourself a strong coffee, and get going. It doesn’t write itself.

To be fair, I don’t always find it easy to follow this advice to the letter. The amount of time I’ve wasted procrastinating and daydreaming a story into existence you wouldn’t believe.

Now I write an outline, maybe a page, of what I think the story is about. Very broadbrush. Then, I figure out how I tell the story. I write a single sentence for each chapter, indicating how I will get from A to Z in my book. Some might call it plotting. In a loose sense, yes, I suppose it is. But it also gives me huge space to head off on whatever tangent storyline grabs me as the story progresses.

When it comes to obsessive plotting, no one holds a candle to the great James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential. My favourite book of his is The Cold Six Thousand. Amazing author.

Apparently, with his book, Perfidia, he had about 200 pages of notes. Then he did around 80 shorthand pages that only he could read. But then he wrote a 700-page outline. Yes, 700 page outline. That is heroic. It’s mad. It’s brilliant. It’s ridiculous. And it’s magnificent.

There’s no one size fits all. But one thing holds true. Gallico’s word still ring true: a writer must open their veins and “bleed onto the page…”.

The CIA and Hard Fall

Imagine a Kafkaesque nightmare: held against your will, fed drugs, sleep deprived and force fed Orwellian-type instructions from hidden voices in a basement room.

My latest book in the Jon Reznick™ thriller series, Hard Fall (Thomas & Mercer—out 8 February 2018) has the ex-Delta operator confronted by such a scenario.

It begins with Reznick being followed by an old friend and former special forces operative. The man is a suicidal patient who is on the run from a shadowy upstate New York psychiatric facility. The hospital has, unbeknown to the world, resurrected hideous CIA psychological experiments which had been carried out in the 1950s; reactivated again in the 21st century. But it isn’t long before Reznick is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of the deep state.

The seeds of this backdrop to my story are, sadly, far from fiction.

It is in fact rooted in one of the darkest episodes of the CIA’s history; mind control experiments which started way back in the 1950s.

In particular, the Agency’s shadowy and illegal MKUltra project.

It was given the go ahead in 1953 by then director, Allen Dulles. Unwitting American and Canadian citizens were experimented on to find out the best drugs to be used in interrogations and tortures.

Among the methods used to change the mental state included using LSD, sensory deprivation and isolation. Some of the unwitting subjects of the experiments were, among others, prostitutes, terminal cancer patients and drug addicts.

According to Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA chemist who introduced LSD to the Agency, they were for “people who could not fight back”.

I wanted my protagonist, Jon Reznick, to fight back on behalf of his friend.

But in doing so, he would be risking not only his life, but also his sanity.

HARD FALL is out on 8 February 2018 (Thomas & Mercer) – here is the tagline and book description:

A friend in danger. A shadowy psych ward. A conspiracy beyond Reznick’s worst nightmares.

When an old Delta Force buddy comes to Jon Reznick for help, paranoid and fearing for his life, Reznick feels duty-bound to protect him. As a black-ops specialist, loyalty to his brothers in arms comes before everything—even the law.

But Jerry White proves difficult to protect. A runaway from a top-security psychiatric facility in upstate New York, he’s considered a danger to himself and others, and Reznick is powerless to stop shadowy senior hospital managers taking Jerry back by force. When FBI Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein warns him off, Reznick ignores her advice, suspecting the Wittenden Institute is not what it seems.

Digging deeper into the hospital’s background—and that of its esteemed manager, Dr. Robert Gittinger—Reznick begins to unravel a sinister plot that will bring warzone black ops to American soil. And when his own life comes under threat, he discovers that Jerry is trapped in a web of high-level conspiracies more terrifying than anything he has ever encountered…

The Opening Sentence

Book author J.B. Turner

It begins with nothing. Not a word. Just staring at a blank page. Blank computer screen. That’s how it starts. That’s how it always starts.  Trying to find the right words.

I tend to obsess over the opening sentences in my thrillers, trying to figure out not only the right words in that opening sentence, but at what point the story shall begin.

Authors can be like that: obsessing. Horror maestro Stephen King famously obsesses over his opening sentences and paragraphs. Days, weeks, months apparently. He’s right of course.

“But there’s one thing I’m sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”
Stephen King, On Writing

I love great opening sentences. I love simple opening sentences. Here’s a few of my favourites. See what you think:

The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there’.
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood 

It is cold at six-forty in the morning on a March day in Paris, and seems even colder when a man is about to be executed by firing squad.
Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal  

When a fresh-faced guy in a Chevy offered him a lift, Parker told him to go to hell.
Richard Parker, The Hunter

They’ve got one thing in common: they grab you. They make you want to read on. You’re intrigued.

When I sat down to write the opening sentence for my first Jon Reznick book, Hard Road, I must have written, re-written and re-written again the opening line what seemed like a thousand times:

The call came from a man he knew only as Maddox
J.B. Turner, Hard Road

And from there, it led naturally, to the first paragraph. Here’s what it looks like:

‘The call came from a man he knew only as Maddox. Jon Reznick was sitting on his freezing deck as darkness fell over Maine, nursing a bottle of beer, staring out over the ocean. He let his cell phone ring a few times, knowing what lay ahead.’

In my mind, and hopefully in the reader’s too, they can picture the scene. I want them to read on. To find out more about Jon Reznick. More about exactly ‘what lay ahead’. And also, why did he know the man only as Maddox? When I wrote the opening sentence of that book, I was still forming the storyline, the narrative arc, whatever you want to call it. It evolved. Word by word, page by page. It took on a life of its own. The story unfolded as I thought it should as I was writing it.

It began with a broadbrush idea about an assassin who, for whatever reason, doesn’t carry out the hit. And from there, it snowballed.

So, from the opening paragraph, we have the beginning of the story, the beginning of the intrigue, and a reason to read on. And yes, it’s an invitation to go on a journey. Where it leads, no one knows. I certainly didn’t. It will unfold as slow or as fast as you want it to.

Next time you open a book, check out the opening sentence. And remember, before that there was nothing. Just a blank page. A blank computer screen. Nothing.

American Ghost

Rogue book cover

I’ve been keeping this news under wraps for a while now. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Seriously. But I’m very excited to reveal that in summer 2018, I’ve got a brand new thriller series being launched.

The forthcoming American Ghost® series kicks off with Rogue (Thomas & Mercer) which will be published worldwide on 7 June 2018.

And I’ve got to say, I had a blast writing it. Writers love going off the deep end with characters. Trust me. And my terrifying protagonist, Nathan Stone, originally from the lower east side in New York city, is a perfect vehicle for that. His past is as murky and mysterious as the shadowy organisation who control him.

Here’s an overview of the American Ghost series which is launched in summer 2018:

After he was critically wounded while serving as a covert CIA operative, everyone thought Nathan Stone was dead. But behind closed doors, he was rehabilitated by a highly secretive government organization known as the Commission, given a new identity and appearance, and remoulded into a lethal assassin. His brief: to execute kill orders drawn up by the Commission, all in the name of national security. The Commission owns him, but Stone knows one wrong move could turn him from loyal asset to hunted man.

The first book in the series sees Nathan Stone being housed at a secret facility in Scotland.

Rogue concerns a deep-state US organization who have a top-secret kill list—and a popular senator is on it.

Here’s an overview of Rogue:

Nathan Stone was killed in action while serving as a covert CIA operative. Or so everyone thought. In reality he’s become a ghost, a black-ops asset with a new identity and controlled by a secret government organisation. The Commission has one aim: to hunt down and assassinate anti-establishment enemies of the state.

Its number one target is Senator Brad Crichton, an ambitious politician with growing popularity. Stone’s orders are to take him out. The kill list is leaked to a journalist —whose own name is on the list. But a short while after the journalist tries to alert the senator, he is found dead in suspicious circumstances. All the while, Stone is closing in on the senator.

He knows that one wrong foot will put him in the firing line. But where national security is at stake, the hunter can quickly become the hunted . . .

Sign up for email updates

Simply enter your email to be the first to receive JB Turner’s latest news and book releases. You’ll also receive a FREE copy of the second Deborah Jones crime thriller book, DARK WATERS plus Jon Reznick, Novella, GONE BAD.