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Donald Harstad books in order

Donald Harstad is a retired American police officer and bestselling author of mystery and crime fiction novels.

Harstad, an experienced law enforcement officer, dedicated 26 years of service as a deputy sheriff and chief investigator within the police department of Clayton County, northeastern Iowa.

Drawing upon his extensive knowledge of police procedures, investigative techniques, and the intricacies of criminal cases, Harstad channeled his years of experience into crafting compelling crime fiction novels.

Upon retirement, he made his debut as a novelist with Eleven Days (1998), the first book in the Carl Houseman Series.

The author currently resides in rural Iowa with his wife, Mary, with whom he has a grown daughter.

More about Donald Harstad

Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Born: 1945

United States

Carl Houseman

  1. Eleven Days (1998)
  2. The Known Dead (1999)
  3. The Big Thaw (2000)
  4. Code 61 (2002)
  5. A Long December (2003)
  6. November Rain (2009)

Detailed book overview

Carl Houseman

Eleven Days

Life in Maitland, Iowa, is usually predictable, even for a cop. But all that changes the day Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman's dispatcher receives the terrifying 911 call. The day cops find the mutilated bodies at a remote farmhouse. The first of eleven days Carl will never forget.

As hotshot investigators fly in from New York, Carl and his fellow cops use old-fashioned detective work to piece together clues. But to turn suspicions into suspects, Carl must search among his closest friends to find a killer who has shocked and bewildered cops who'd thought they'd seen it all. And before it's over, Carl will be forced into an unrelenting spiral of chaos, coming face-to-face with evil he never dreamed could exist in Maitland...or anywhere else.

Author: Donald Harstad
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1857028706
Publisher: Harper Collins
The Known Dead

In the American heartland, someone is killing cops.

The ambush exploded in an Iowa marijuana field. The weapons were high caliber. The pot was high grade. And the reporters said afterward: "We have two known dead...."

Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman knew the dead all right: One was a small-time doper, the other a good cop. But Houseman doesn't know why they died, or who cut them down in a blaze of automatic rifle fire. Now, as the Feds descend on Nation County, Houseman and his fellow cops are suddenly walking point--searching for answers amidst the violence, treachery, and evil in their own backyard....

Author: Donald Harstad
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-1841154541
Publisher: Fourth Estate
The Big Thaw

A killer is placing his cross hairs over the American heartland....

The pair of frozen corpses were found under a tarp in the machine shed of an empty farmhouse. Two males -- brothers -- both killed by bullets from a Russian automatic fired at close range. The cops have a suspect: a man Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman busted five years earlier and the county's lead suspect in a series of recent robberies.

Houseman knows they have the wrong guy. He also knows they've got something bigger than a burglary gone bad ... especially when the FBI starts showing up in Maitland. The brutal double homicide is just the tip of the iceberg in a case where a killer's trail keeps disappearing like footprints in freshly fallen snow, and where one bad break can send a good cop into a deep freeze.

Author: Donald Harstad
First Release: 2000
Ebook: B002LLRDW4
Publisher: Bantam
Code 61

CODE 61: maintain radio silence. someone may be listening.

Investigating the apparent suicide of a colleague’s niece, Iowa Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman is startled to uncover a group that transforms the dark fantasies of vampire legend into grisly reality: they ritualistically drink small amounts of one another’s blood. As Carl is drawn deeper into this unnerving world, it becomes clear that the dead woman may have been the victim of a twenty-first-century Dracula.

The prime suspect, Dan Peale, is a sinister presence within the group--a man some say drinks blood and never, ever dies. It’s an outlandish, heinous theory, but then suspicions are bolstered by rumors of a card-carrying vampire hunter who is also pursuing Peale. All too soon, Houseman finds himself scrambling to track a vampire--before he kills again.

Author: Donald Harstad
First Release: 2002
Ebook: B001UID8I2
Publisher: Bantam
A Long December

In a rural part of Nation County the body of a dead male is discovered in a ditch, one gunshot wound to the head. A routine investigation for Carl Houseman and his team, perhaps. Except strangely there is no way of identifying him: no fingerprint records, no dental records, nothing. Enter an FBI investigator, a new face from the bureau, who suspects it is the body of a Columbian terrorist. 

Meanwhile, a local meat-packing plant has been accused of passing off contaminated produce. In a town straining under the pressure of mass immigration, the Jewish plant owners suspect foul play. Can there be a connection with the Columbian corpse? Houseman and FBI agent Hester Gorse chase the leads once again in another nail-biting race to discover the truth.

NB: This book is also known as The Heartland Experiment.

Author: Donald Harstad
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-1841155487
Publisher: Harper Perennial
November Rain

Carl Houseman, the deputy sheriff of rural Nation County, Iowa, leaves home to enter the world of international intrigue.

Houseman's daughter, Jane, has been studying abroad in the UK. When her best friend Emma Schiller has been kidnapped, Houseman, desperate to protect his daughter and help her friend, accepts Scotland Yard's invitation to take him on as a consultant.

Emma's trail leads to the door of her former professor—and ex-lover—Dr. Robert Northwood, whose impassioned activism on behalf of a pair of Muslim political prisoners has landed him unwittingly in cahoots with a cadre of dangerous individuals. It seems like a simple hoax, except that if Houseman doesn't track down the professor's co-conspirators, the consequences will be anything but simple—and the harm that will result could be global.

Author: Donald Harstad
First Release: 2009
Ebook: B06Y1QC9LP
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books