John Billheimer, a native West Virginian, lives in Portola Valley, California. He holds an engineering Ph. D. from Stanford University and for thirty years was Vice President of a small consulting firm specializing in transportation research. Over the years, he investigated such diverse topics as commuter lane performance, mobile phone safety, drunk driving countermeasures, DMV service, video surveillance, and motorcycle safety. An early research project took him back to the coalfields of his native state, where he observed the poverty, independence, and resourcefulness that mark the characters of his first novel, THE CONTRARY BLUES.
THE CONTRARY BLUES was the first book in the “funny, sometimes touching,” mystery series set in Appalachia and featuring failure analyst Owen Allison. The second book in the series, HIGHWAY ROBBERY, explores West Virginia roadbuilding scandals, while the third, DISMAL MOUNTAIN, covers the controversial topic of strip mining. The fourth, DRYBONE HOLLOW, deals with the false claims and scams that follow in the wake of a devastating flood, while STONEWALL JACKSON’S ELBOW tracks the aftermath of a $750 million bank fraud. The most recent entry, PRIMARY TARGET, deals with West Virginia’s skullduggery encrusted voting procedures.
A second mystery series featuring Lloyd Keaton, a Midwest sports writer with a gambling problem, debuted in 2012 with FIELD OF SCHEMES, a mystery involving baseball and steroids. In the second book in the series, A PAYER TO BE MAIMED LATER, Keaton begins writing the biography of a pitching legend when he finds the player’s hidden past belies his wholesome reputation and may include manslaughter.
The author’s output includes two nonfiction books, BASEBALL AND THE BLAME GAME, which examines scapegoating in the major leagues, and HITCHCOCK AND THE CENSORS, which traces the rise of movie censorship and documents its impact on Alfred Hitchcock as he battled bluenoses to produce a lifetime of memorable films.
Billheimer is married with two children, and is an avid tennis player and movie buff. He chaired the Transportation Research Board Committee on Motorcycles and Mopeds, and co-founded the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, a statewide program of mandatory training that saw motorcycle fatalities drop over 70% during its first fifteen years. He also teaches a series of courses on “Film Noir” and “The Modern Mystery in Film and Print” as part of Continuing Studies Program at Stanford and Santa Clara Universities.