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Steven Axelrod books in order

Steven Axelrod is an American author of mystery and thriller books.

He is known for writing the Henry Kennis Mysteries and several standalones.

The holder of an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Axelrod continues to be a member of the Writers Guild of America in spite of his lengthy hiatus from Hollywood.

His work has appeared on several websites, such as the esteemed literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he’s on the masthead.

His work has also been published on, The Good Men Project, and in acclaimed magazines like Pulp Modern and Big Pulp.

Axelrod, who is a father of two, currently resides on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where he spends most of his days painting houses and writing.

More about Steven Axelrod

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

United States

Non Series

  • Paranoid (2000)
  • Just Like in the Movies (2004)
  • Heat of the Moment (2015)

Henry Kennis Mystery

  1. Nantucket Sawbuck (2013)
  2. Nantucket Fivespot (2015)
  3. Nantucket Grand (2016)
  4. Nantucket Red Tickets (2017)
  5. Nantucket Counterfeit (2018)
  6. Nantucket Penny (2020)

Detailed book overview

Non Series


Air Force One crashes on New Year's eve. The First Lady is killed; The President is rushed to the hospital, critically injured. Three months later he's able to have his first visitor. When his son Tom walks into the hospital room the real nightmare begins, because Tom knows instantly, as only a son could know it, that the man sitting up in bed smiling at him is not his father. 

Someone has replaced the President of the United States with an impostor. He's staring at the evidence of a deadly conspiracy and now, without giving himself away, he must find the connections between an unpublished newspaper article, a thirty-year old fixed basketball game a Police Chief's death-bed confession. His only allies -- his girlfriend, Amy, and a half-crazed Vietnam vet with a bad case of survivor guilt. The struggle comes to a climax on Nantucket Island, during the Daffodil Day celebration, as Tom stakes everything on his desperate plan to kill the impostor. Is Tom actually crazy? Only Amy knows for sure, and in the final moments, in a quiet office in the eye of the storm of violence Tom has created, she will hold the fate of the country in her hands. 

From the board rooms where mobsters cut deals with politicians to the top security mental hospitals where radicals are "cured" of subversive tendencies; from the horror of a first killing to the joys of a first romance, this is a novel about our modern American devils and the deals we make with them; but more importantly it's about the imperishable ties of love and family that hold us together and redeem our lives.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-1591091615
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Just Like in the Movies

Michael Gersh is Hollywood insider; Rachel Scanlon is a neophyte fresh out of New York who wants to direct movies. It takes a long time for them to find each other. Rachel learns Hollywood from the bottom up, falling in love with her predatory agent and finally directing her own independent film. Mike takes a long fall from the top after punching a major movie star, and struggles back through the ranks. When they finally meet it's obvious: all they ever needed was each other.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-1594573897
Heat of the Moment

David Hamlin is a regular guy with a nice wife and good job teaching at a prestigious private school. His future looks bright, if predictable—until he does the one thing no teacher should even think about. When David finds himself helpless against the advances of an underage sexpot, he is racked by guilt. Soon, however, the well-meaning teacher discovers that statutory rape is the least of his problems. 

Susan Bishop turns out to be a sociopath, and when she's sure she has her teacher where she wants him his criminal career begins in earnest. But there’s someone else out there, a serial snuff-film maker who calls himself the Auteur, and fate has just drawn the young seductress into his orbit. Part crime story, part noir nightmare, this twisted thrill-ride will have you covering your eyes—and peeking through your fingers.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0692503461
Publisher: Out of the Gutter

Henry Kennis Mystery

Nantucket Sawbuck

When Nantucket homeowner Preston Lomax is killed, everyone on the island could be a suspect. Lomax lived large, owed money, and the word was spreading he was planning to stiff them all and disappear. Chief of Police Henry Kennis, a newcomer from California, investigates with help from the State Police. Together they solve the case―or so it appears. But Kennis can't shake the feeling that they've missed something.

Kennis soon discovers scandals, intrigues and an eclectic cast of local characters―oddball journalists, surfing carpenters, drug dealers, wealthy homeowners and their slacker children. Kennis uncovers a truth that lies somewhere between the bad blood and the good neighbors.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1464200892
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Nantucket Fivespot

At the height of the summer tourist season, a threat to bomb the annual Boston Pops Concert could destroy the island's economy, along with its cachet as a safe, if mostly summertime, haven for America's ruling class. The threat of terrorism brings The Department of Homeland Security to the island, along with prospects for a rekindled love affair―Henry's lost love works for the DHS now.

The "terrorism" aspects of the attack prove to be a red herring. The truth lies much closer to home. At first suspicion falls on local carpenter Billy Delavane, but Henry investigates the case and proves that Billy is being framed. Then it turns out that Henry's new suspect is also being framed―for the bizarre and almost undetectable crime of framing someone else. 

Every piece of evidence works three ways in the investigation of a crime rooted in betrayed friendship, infidelity, and the quiet poisonous feuds of small town life. Henry traces the origin of the attacks back almost twenty years and uncovers an obsessive revenge conspiracy that he must unravel―now alone, discredited and on the run―before further disaster strikes.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1459690998
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant
Nantucket Grand

During a long winter and short, chilly spring, a series of disturbing incidents rock the small resort island of Nantucket. A Land Bank executive dies in a suspicious hunting accident, a prominent local family's historic summer cottage burns down in an arson fire, and a teenage girl lies comatose in the hospital from a drug overdose.

When spring turns to summer and the tourists flood the island, the mysterious cycle of violence spins faster. A young Jamaican boy is found dead in the harbor, a sex-for-drugs pornography ring is exposed, and a beloved local hero is murdered in cold blood. Could all of these events be part of the same sinister conspiracy?

Poetry-writing Police Chief Henry Kennis, back for his third case in Nantucket Grand by Steven Axelrod, doubts it. But his new girlfriend, Jane Stiles, an author of cozy mysteries, is certain that all these terrible events are connected. In one of her books, they would all be related. Henry scoffs, but as the cords pull tighter, drawing him into a scandal that would change Nantucket forever, he begins to realize that Jane might be right, after all. But is it already too late?

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-1464205552
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Nantucket Red Tickets

It's Christmas Eve on Nantucket and prominent businessman Jackson Blum is about to live out his own version of A Christmas Carol. No visions, no ghosts, just the past, represented by the exhumed skeleton of his old partner Ted Coddington with a bullet from Blum's Ruger pistol in its skull; the present, in the form of a horribly mistreated employee who reveals Blum as the Scrooge he is; and the future, invoked by a family crisis that threatens to ruin the rest of his life. Past, Present and Future, all colliding on the same dark night of the soul.

Nantucket Police Chief Henry Kennis is investigating the so-cold Coddington case with Blum as the main suspect while he roots out a plot to rig the traditional five-thousand-dollar Red Tickets raffle and struggles to close down a local opioid dealer who's selling to high school kids from a house on Tuckernuck Island―a bleak vista of wild moors, dirt roads, and unpainted homes a century old. "It's a time machine," says Kennis. With a whaling history.

Henry's own son has been accused of cheating, his daughter's been pushed out of the high school a capella singing group, and his girlfriend's Christmas play is careening toward disaster. It looks like a calamitous holiday for everyone.

All the scandals, tragedies, and intrigues of the season close in on Blum and Kennis as the two of them face off amid the carolers and colored lights. Finally, there's nothing to save the modern-day Scrooge from his terrifying future but a decades-old secret scribbled on a stolen slip of paper, and the uncertain mercy of the son he's lost. But it's Christmas, and as the snow finally starts to fall on the decorated trees that line Main Street, it's just possible that all sins will be forgiven and all sinners redeemed.

God Bless us, every one.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1464207150
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Nantucket Counterfeit

Horst Refn, the widely disliked and resented Artistic Director of the Nantucket Theater Lab, has been found stuffed into the meat freezer in his basement. Most of the actors, all the technical crew, and quite a few of the Theater Lab Board members, whom Refn was scamming and blackmailing, are suspects in his murder. The island's Police Chief Henry Kennis has to pick his way through a social minefield as he searches for the killer.

At the same time, daughter's new boyfriend, football star Hector Cruz, has been accused of sexting her. Carrie knows the offending pictures didn't come from him, and Henry has to prove it before the boy gets suspended, which means probing into the family secrets of Hector's father, a firebrand agitprop playwright, who happens to be a prime suspect in Refn's murder.

Every story is a fiction, every identity proves false, and every statement a lie. The counterfeit bills found at the scene of the crime are the most obvious symbol of the deceptions and distractions that obscure the investigation. The truth lies buried in the past, in Refn's earlier crimes and the victims who came to Nantucket seeking revenge.

When the culprit has been revealed, the last masks torn off, and final murder foiled―live, on stage, during the opening night of Who Dun It, the eerily prescient opening drama of the Theater Lab Season―Jane says to Henry, "Is everything counterfeit?" He smiles. "Almost."

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1464210419
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Nantucket Penny

It's wedding season on Nantucket, and two unwelcome guests are crashing the party…

When people begin disappearing from the island, Nantucket Police Chief Henry Kennis is baffled. The victims are not random―they're all Nantucket High School alumni. And the only clues left behind are pennies dropped at the sites of the kidnappings. There's an old island tradition of tossing a penny from the ferry as you depart to ensure your eventual return… Has someone come back to the island with a sinister grudge to settle?

Sippy Bascomb and Doug Fraker were childhood best friends―bonded as fellow victims of bullying at the hands of their classmates. The two men hadn't seen each other in years, but when Sippy comes across Doug's blog airing grievances from the past, the two reconnect and hatch a plan to return to the island. Both seek revenge, but Doug wants their tormentors to face a tribunal and appoints himself judge, jury, and executioner…

When Henry's fiancée joins the missing, he enlists the aid of former intelligence agent Mitch Stone, a native who has returned to the island hoping for a peaceful retirement. The two men know they must find where their friends are being put on trial for their childhood crimes―before their deadly sentences can be carried out.

Author: Steven Axelrod
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1464214165
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press