Owen Allison

Created by John Billheimer

When things go bad, the Feds send in the U.S. Department of Transportation “failure analyst” OWEN ALLISON, who’s usually more than happy to put the bureaucratic bullshit and petty office politcs of Washington in his rearview.

Especially if the assignment takes him home to West Virginia.

And once he’s cut loose and on his own, free of supervisors and second-guessers, Owen favours a more hands-on approach, acting more like some loose cannon private eye than an government employee. Leave the clipboard-toting and list-checking to someone else.

And in fact, for a few books, he does just that, opening up his own consulting firm in California for a few books, specializing in — what else? — risk analysis.

An interesting series, full of wry humour, fresh characters and engaging plots, as straight-arrow Owen confronts all manners of miscreants, while trying to deal with an ex-wife and an ailing mother. Sadly and rather inexplicably, the series slid out of print, only to be resurrected by Jim Huang’s The Mystery Company, from whom you can now buy the books directly.

Including, I’m sure they’ll be happy for me to mention, the sixth in the series, Primary Target, due to be published in the fall of 2019.

Author John Billheimer also writes about sportswriter/amateur sleuth Lloyd Keaton.


  • “With his easygoing style and meticulous attention to detail, Billheimer not only entertains but raises some philosophical questions in this morally complex story of government corruption and the battle between development and preservation.”
    — Publishers Weekly on Highway Robbery
  • “A wonderful blend of superbly developed—and often eccentric—characters … and suspense, spiced with some of West Virginia’s legendary skullduggery-encrusted politics.”
    — Forbes Magazine
  • “Billheimer’s characters are so vividly drawn they threaten to wander off the page and into the real world.”
    — Booklist
  • “John ‘By Gawd’ Billheimer has done it again—with an encyclopedic knowledge of Appalachian history and characters ripped from today’s headlines, Primary Target is a taut mystery with a timely warning of the state of politics today.”
    — Craig Johnson on Primary Target


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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