Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michael Allen Dymmoch  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Mystery

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1947 in Illinois

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-- Michael Allen Dymmoch on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Dymmoch lives and works in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Michael Allen Dymmoch is a mystery/suspense writer whose works have one common theme: cats! She has degrees in chemistry and law enforcement. Along with her books listed below, she has also written several ebooks.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Man Who Understood Cats (John Thinnes/Jack Caleb Mysteries)
ISBN: 0380722658

Avon Books. 1995

A good Chicago cop and a brilliant psychiatrist--who is also a suspect--are the only ones who believe an accountant's death was not suicide, and their uneasy partnership propels them into an urban nightmare of greed and violence. Reprint.

The Death of the Blue Mountain Cat
ISBN: 0312310722

St. Martin's Griffin. 1996

When Native American artist Blue Mountain Cat is murdered during a showing at a conservative art museum, detective John Thinnes uncovers a host of possible suspects, including the victim's wife, a greedy developer, an unscrupulous antiquities dealer, and a lovely Navajo woman, among others.

Incendiary Designs: A Jack Caleb and John Thinnes Mystery
ISBN: 0312192452

St. Martin's Minotaur. 1998

After rescuing a police officer from a brutal arson attack by a group of fanatics, Dr. John Caleb joins forces with Detective John Thinnes to investigate a series of deadly arsons as they pursue a ruthless and vicious killer who uses fire as his weapon

The Feline Friendship: A Jack Caleb and John Thinnes Mystery
ISBN: 0312310161

Minotaur Books. 2003

"Thinnes specialized in homicide. He hated working rapes. Rape was more like a drive-by shooting than anything else because it was often a matter of the victim being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But drive-bys usually happened in the killer’s neighborhood and were perpetrated against known enemies or at least innocent neighbors. . . . With rape it was different. Rape hurt the victim when it went down, and again when the cops investigated---no matter how careful they were. . . . Thinnes hated the whole thing."

But unfortunately for John Thinnes, he’s got a rape case on his hands. Not only that, he has a new partner---and it’s a woman. A tough woman with a make-my-day attitude. Don Franchi is no woman to be pushed around and she lets Thinnes know it.

As Thinnes learns of his unwelcome assignment, psychiatrist Jack Caleb is in session with a patient who many years before was a victim of rape and still suffers from the experience.
When the rapist continues his crimes, and adds killing to rape, Thinnes turns once more to Caleb in the hope that he can point him in the right direction to uncover the killer. Caleb has previously aided Thinnes in his homicide investigations, and an odd friendship has grown up between the tough, matter-of-fact, show-me-the-evidence detective and the gay shrink, with each man recognizing the other’s basic honesty and complementing knowledge.

Although she is driving the detective to the brink, it is Thinnes’s partner, as smart as she is tough, who first comes upon a faint track of the killer. After a hunt filled with suspense, lighted at intervals by further discovery of the perpetrator’s “system,” the gay psychiatrist, the crime-hardened cop, and his unstoppable partner are finally able to bring their elusive prey to heel. And, albeit a little grudgingly, and with some encouragement from his sensible wife, Thinnes is ready to admit to anyone who will listen that he sure lucked out in getting Don Franchi for a partner.

The Fall: A Thriller
ISBN: 0312321937

Minotaur Books. 2004

"The judge will order you to talk and offer to put you in the witness protection program. You said you won't consider that. Why on earth?"
"I have a life, Mr. Norman."
"Well, if this man they want to wiretap really is connected, you won't for long."
"It's not fair!"
"But it's the law."
"What if I just refused to talk?"
"The judge will jail you for contempt until you testify. And I doubt the mob would trust you to accept an indefinite stay in County. Even in solitary you wouldn't be safe."
"Then I have no choice?"

Most of us are lucky that some simple action---one that we've performed a hundred times---doesn't suddenly plunge our entire life into a private hell. But undeserved or not, unheralded or not, that's what happens to Joanne Lessing, a freelance photographer and the divorced mother of a teenage son.

On a fine fall morning, sent to record the aftermath of Halloween in a town park, Joanne turns from the geese she is photographing to see a luxurious foreign car come speeding down the road at the park's edge. The driver, noticing Joanne aiming her camera and seeming to panic, veers and smacks into a Volkswagen parked at the curb. His car scrapes the curb and leaves.

Good citizen Joanne reports the accident and turns over her photos of the offending car to the police. Not until she sees a story in that evening's local paper does she have an answer to what has puzzled her all day: Why did the police immediately send a man to interview her and pick up her photos for a relatively minor accident in which no one was injured? The news story tells her that one of her neighbors had been murdered, a man who had once been the head of the local mob and has been living quietly in the FBI's witness protection program.

A flock of FBI agents arrive to work with the local police. The agents know who did the killing they've been living with the effort to catch and convict the gang members. Among the single-minded "Feebies" is Agent Paul Minorini. He is the only one who seems to give some thought to the danger Joanne is in if the gangsters learn it was she who caught their car with her camera---and possibly caught some or all of its occupants as well. Minorini's worry about Joanne's safety puts him at odds with his partner, and his attraction to the besieged woman makes it almost impossible for him to perform his job. Meanwhile, spunky Joanne, trapped between the mob and the tunnel-vision agents, has some ideas of her own about how to handle her endangered life...if only she can make those ideas work.

White Tiger
ISBN: 0312323026

Minotaur Books. 2005

John Thinnes, a detective on the Chicago police force, and Jack Caleb, a well-known psychiatrist, were friends---unlikely friends, maybe, with very different lives, but men who liked and respected each other. And they had one significant experience in common: Both had been "in country" in Vietnam during the war. Their "labels" were different---Thinnes had been in the military police, Caleb a medic, a conscientious objector who chose to fight with his medical equipment and his ability as a doctor as his weapons, whether his patients were wounded on the field of battle or on the crowded, dangerous streets of Saigon. Arriving home, both men would have liked to forget the horrors of that war but could not banish them from their memory. They had left Vietnam, but Vietnam would never leave them.

In the years since the war ended, Thinnes married and fathered a son, Caleb prospered with his psychiatric practice and found a gay lover. Later, a series of murders and rapes brought the police officer and the psychiatrist together in an oddly matched friendship, each contributing his special knowledge to try to solve crimes that were hard to unravel.

But memories remain---ugly memories of maiming and killing on both sides, not only of soldiers but of innocent Vietnamese farmers and their families, of drug dealers and the city's poor. And now, on a morning shortly into the new millennium, Jack Caleb is listening to the radio and hears of the shooting death of a Vietnamese immigrant woman in Chicago's "Little Saigon," and a flashback leaves him trembling.

Thinnes's reaction to the murder is of a different kind. He had been assigned to the murder case, but when his lieutenant learns that Thinnes had known the dead woman in Saigon, had even attended her marriage to his now-dead buddy, he takes him off the case, leaving Thinnes's partner to use her outstanding talents as a detective under the officer who takes John Thinnes's place.

This, however, does not stop Thinnes from doggedly continuing the search for the woman's killer. Word on the street in Little Saigon is that the "White Tiger" is now in Chicago. "White Tiger" is the only known name for a mysterious and savage drug dealer and all-around criminal who terrorized even the toughest thugs in Vietnam.

Both men dig, together and each in his own way, for the reason this innocent woman was murdered, both thoroughly aware that by searching in the deep, they are offering their own lives to the Tiger's wrath.

Michael Allen Dymmoch has faultlessly linked the horrors of the war in Vietnam, from the viewpoints of those on both sides of the conflict and also from the hearts and minds of two very different men, and has woven them into a thrilling story of terror in the past and in the very present Now.

Five Star Expressions - The Cymry Ring
ISBN: 159414429X

Five Star. 2006

Ian Carreg, a charming detective with a career he loves, is coming to terms with the recent death of his wife and middle age. He's sent to apprehend a convicted felon, Jemma Henderson. She is a gifted surgeon with beauty to match and the daughter of a famous physicist - and a murderer. When he pursues her to Cymry Henge, something - or someone - knocks him out cold. He regains consciousness in a strange yet oddly familiar place - second-century Roman Britain. An encounter with three armed horsemen leads to an extended stay in the horsemen's village. Then the Roman cavalry arrives, and Ian and Jemma must fight to save their lives. They become Roman prisoners, and Ian starts to doubt his sanity. When their captors send them on a journey Ian finally accepts the truth - just in time to join with Jemma in foiling a conspiracy that could alter history.

Michael Allen Dymmoch has served as president and secretary of the Midwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and newsletter editor for the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Death in West Wheeling (Five Star First Edition Mystery Series)
ISBN: 1594144583

Five Star. 2006

When a local school teacher disappears from rural West Wheeling, acting sheriff Homer Deters investigates. Before long he's got three more missing persons, two unidentified corpses, a car theft, a twenty-three vehicle pile-up in the center of town, a missing tiger, and a squad of ATF agents to deal with. With no help from the Feds, Homer turns to his buddy, Rye Willis, and West Wheeling's eccentric postmistress, Nina Ross, to locate the missing, identify the bodies, and bring a murderer to justice.

ISBN: 0312373716

Thomas Dunne Books. 2008

The accidental death of Rhiann Fahey’s second husband leaves her paralyzed by grief and her son Jimmy cutting school and drinking. The widow’s problems are compounded by the unwanted advances of her dead husband’s friend.

Rhiann does her best to cope, returning to work, dealing patiently with Jimmy’s misbehavior, telling Rory Sinter she’s not interested.

Then a mysterious stranger moves in next door. John Devlin offers Rhiann beer and sympathy. He gives Jimmy a job.

Jimmy complicates things further by looking up his birth father’s family, from whom Rhiann has been estranged for many years. And by falling in love with a mysterious girl.

When Sinter tries to discredit John, then beat him to death, Rhiann comes to John’s rescue. But she discovers her perfect neighbor isn’t what he’d seemed---which leads her to investigate and to see John in a different light altogether.

A tale of violent men and violent passions, of missing friends, of loss and discovery, this beautifully written story, whose characters come to life from the first page, shows one more side of Michael Allen Dymmoch’s powerful storytelling ability.


St Martin's Press Malice Domestic Award for Best First Traditional Mystery of 1992 for

The Man Who Understood Cats

Michael was honored at the 2005 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.

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