Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Lori Rader-Day  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Mystery

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1973 in Lebanon, Indiana

-- Website --
-- Lori Rader-Day on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Rader-Day has lived in Chicago since 2001.

Biographical and Professional Information

Lori Rader-Day is a multi-award-winning writer from Chicago. With her debut novel published by Seventh Street Press just a few short years ago, she has catapulted to being a lead author with William Morrow/Harper Collins. Her collection of books - Under a Dark Sky, The Day I Died, Little Pretty Things, and The Black Hour - have garnered three Mary Higgins Clark Award nominations, multiple Indie Next Pick nominations (carefully selected by independent booksellers across the country) and an Anthony Award (chosen by her peers and genre readers alike.)

Her short fiction has appeared in ''Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine'', ''Time Out Chicago'', and ''Good Housekeeping''.

Her writing is breathtakingly suspenseful and always features a strong female lead character.

But more than a talented storyteller, she's an important part of the book industry, especially locally. She co-chairs the popular Chicago mystery conference Murder and Mayhem. She's an author's author - always helping others find their way, and has devoted her years to helping libraries and bookstores flourish. Originally from Indiana, Lori was recently honored with the prestigious Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award. Lori leads writing workshops across the country.

She is active in the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and International Association of Crime Writers.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Black Hour
ISBN: 1616148853

Seventh Street Books. 2014

For Chicago sociology professor Amelia Emmet, violence was a research topic--until a student she'd never met shot her.

He also shot himself. Now he's dead and she's back on campus, trying to keep up with her class schedule, a growing problem with painkillers, and a question she can't let go: Why?

All she wants is for life to get back to normal, but normal is looking hard to come by. She's thirty-eight and hobbles with a cane. Her first student interaction ends in tears (hers). Her fellow faculty members seem uncomfortable with her, and her ex--whom she may or may not still love--has moved on.

Enter Nathaniel Barber, a graduate student obsessed with Chicago's violent history. Nath is a serious scholar, but also a serious mess about his first heartbreak, his mother's death, and his father's disapproval. Assigned as Amelia's teaching assistant, Nath also takes on the investigative legwork that Amelia can't do. And meanwhile, he's hoping she'll approve his dissertation topic, the reason he came to grad school in the first place: the student attack on Amelia Emmet.

Together and at cross-purposes, Amelia and Nathaniel stumble toward a truth that will explain the attack and take them both through the darkest hours of their lives.

Little Pretty Things
ISBN: 1633880044

Seventh Street Books. 2015

Mary Higgins Clark Award Winner!


Juliet Townsend is used to losing. Back in high school, she lost every track team race to her best friend, Madeleine Bell. Ten years later, she’s still running behind, stuck in a dead-end job cleaning rooms at the Mid-Night Inn, a one-star motel that attracts only the cheap or the desperate. But what life won’t provide, Juliet takes.

Then one night, Maddy checks in. Well-dressed, flashing a huge diamond ring, and as beautiful as ever, Maddy has it all. By the next morning, though, Juliet is no longer jealous of Maddy—she’s the chief suspect in her murder.

To protect herself, Juliet investigates the circumstances of her friend’s death. But what she learns about Maddy’s life might cost Juliet everything she didn’t realize she had.

The Day I Died: A Novel
ISBN: 0062560298

William Morrow Paperbacks. 2017

From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother's desperate search for a lost boy.

Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she'd rewritten.

Under a Dark Sky: A Novel
ISBN: 0062560301

William Morrow Paperbacks. 2018

“Fans of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None will be riveted by Rader-Day’s latest psychological thriller, which makes you question who you really know and trust and whether you should be afraid of the dark.”—Library Journal, Starred Review

"A brilliant concept, brilliantly told!" --Jeffery Deaver, New York Times Bestselling Author

Only in the dark can she find the truth . . .

Since her husband died, Eden Wallace's life has diminished down to a tiny pinprick, like a far-off star in the night sky. She doesn't work, has given up on her love of photography, and is so plagued by night terrors that she can't sleep without the lights on. Everyone, including her family, has grown weary of her grief. So when she finds paperwork in her husband's effects indicating that he reserved a week at a dark sky park, she goes. She's ready to shed her fear and return to the living, even if it means facing her paralyzing phobia of the dark.

But when she arrives at the park, the guest suite she thought was a private retreat is teeming with a group of twenty-somethings, all stuck in the orbit of their old college friendships. Horrified that her get-away has been taken over, Eden decides to head home the next day. But then a scream wakes the house in the middle of the night. One of the friends has been murdered. Now everyone—including Eden—is a suspect.

Everyone is keeping secrets, but only one is a murderer. As mishaps continue to befall the group, Eden must make sense of the chaos and lies to evade a ruthless killer—and she'll have to do it before dark falls…


Anthony Award - Best First Novel, 2015 Lovey Award - Best First Novel, 2015 Silver Falchion: BEST FIRST NOVEL - Mystery/Thriller, Mary Higgins Clark Award Finalist, Left Coast Crime Rosebud Award Finalist - Best Debut Mystery, Barry Award Finalist – Best Paperback Original, Macavity Award Finalist: Best First Mystery Novel, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal Starred Review -

Mary HIggins Clark Award - "Little Pretty Things"

LIbrary Journal Starred Review - "Under A Dark Sky"

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)