Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Henry Kisor  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1940 in Ridgewood, New Jersey

-- Website --
-- Henry Kisor on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Kisor moved to Illinois with his family in 1948. He currently winters in Evanston, and summers in Ontonagon, Michigan.

Biographical and Professional Information

Henry Kisor is the retired book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times as well as the author of three nonfiction books and three mystery novels. He is also the co-author of one children's book.He pens two blogs, The Reluctant Blogger and The Whodunit Photographer, as well as a series of mystery novels set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was the book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1978 to his retirement in 2006.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

What's That Pig Outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness
ISBN: 014014899X

Penguin Books. 1991

The author, who has been deaf since the age of three, recounts how deafness has affected his childhood, education, work as a newspaper editor, marriage, and family life

One TV Blasting and a Pig Outdoors
ISBN: 0807560758

Albert Whitman & Company. 1994

What’s it like to have a deaf father? As Conan explains, it’s not so different—but it’s always interesting. Conan tells how his father Henry Kisor learned to read and speak, made his way through “regular” schools, and grew up to be a newspaper editor and author. Conan also describes the challenges of lipreading and the technological advances that have made communication easier for his dad.

ISBN: 155850477X

Adams Media. 1997

A journalist recounts his experiences and the people he met on a trip aboard Amtrak's California Zephyr as it traveled across America's most storied transcontinental rail route. 20,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

Flight Of The Gin Fizz: Midlife At 4,500 Feet
ISBN: 0465024254

Basic Books. 1997

Henry Kisor didn’t realize what he was getting himself into when a friend invited him aboard his small plane one afternoon, but as the engine revved and the craft took flight, he found himself exhilarated as never before. Fifty-three years old, Kisor had looked into a mirror and saw staring back ”a man who was short, fat, bald, bespectacled, and deaf.” He needed to reclaim his zest for life, and he found the answer in learning how to fly.Kisor’s dream begins to take shape when he learns that radio communications are not required in most of America’s airspace, and that ”visual flight rules” are the same for hearing and deaf pilots alike. With the eagerness of newfound youth, he throws himself into his lessons and plans a suitable maiden voyage: a reenactment of Cal Rodgers’s 1911 journey from New York to Los Angeles, the first coast-to-coast flight. Along the way, Kisor learns that Rodgers himself suffered from severe hearing loss, which adds an unexpected personal connection to the enterprise.Soon after getting his license, Kisor falls in love with a thirty-six-year-old beauty: a classic Cessna two-seater that he buys and renames Ginn Fizz, in honor of Rodgers’s Vin Fiz (which was itself named after a popular soft drink of the day). He then plans out his trip and invites the reader into the cockpit as he takes to the air, dodging storms and greasing landings on a journey across America that recalls the derring-do of the early days of aviation. Landing sixty-five times along a route that takes him from New York to Chicago to Texas to California, Kisor introduces us to the men and women who make up the ”brotherhood of aviation”—those who staff the airports, repair the planes, teach student pilots, ferry skydivers (and sometimes jump themselves), and perform aerobatic stunts —and who open a window onto a rich and charming side of American life and lore, but Flight of the Gin Fizz is an internal journey, too, as Kisor slowly shakes off the midlife blues that had led him to the Cessna’s left seat in the first place. As he proceeds west toward his goal, Kisor learns how to push the envelope of his own capacities, reaching new levels of proficiency and self-reliance, and stretching the limits of his familiar landbound life. For pilots, passengers, and armchair travelers of all stripes, Kisor offers an unforgettable voyage of self discovery and high adventure—and a new appreciation of life’s possibilities.

Season's Revenge: A Christmas Mystery
ISBN: 0765306662

Forge Books. 2003

T'is the weeks before Christmas in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, but some big events indeed are stirring for Lakota deputy sheriff Steve Martinez. The normally sleepy woodland town is uncharacteristically alive with activity after the body of one of its most respected residents, Paul Passoja, is found at a forest campsite, the victim of what looks to be a bear attack.
From the moment he arrives on the crime scene, things just don't add up for Steve Martinez. Why would Passoja, a skilled camper and hunter, be careless enough to scatter bacon grease near his tent? Lead by curiosity, Steve begins an unofficial investigation of the mishap, only to discover that the "random" animal attack might not be so random after all. It seems that quite a few people in town had reason to do in Paul Passoja, but the evidence isn't pointing to anyone in particular.

The more Steve investigates, the deeper he sinks into a mystery as old as the town itself. The seemingly peaceful forest haven was once a hotbed of treachery, and ill will only ripens with age. As he gets closer to the murderer, Steve learns the hard way that whoever killed Paul Passoja is more than willing to do it again.

But Steve Martinez's Native American ancestors were never ones to fold, and neither is he.

Cache of Corpses
ISBN: 076531780X

Forge Books. 2007

Porcupine City is a peaceful little town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The residents enjoy a quiet life far removed from the comings and goings of larger cities. The kind of town where everyone knows everyone else and good-natured gossip is a prime source of entertainment. It's certainly the last place anyone would think of using as the backdrop for a high-tech, high-thrill treasure hunt.

Until the first gruesome clue is found: a headless corpse wrapped in plastic.

Deputy Steve Martinez--Lakota Indian by birth, Porcupine City native by association--has investigated many crimes, but none more surprising than the case before him now. When clues at the first crime scene lead to the discovery of a second headless corpse, it becomes clear to Steve that it's someone's twisted idea of a game. And these events couldn't come at worse time: the election for county sheriff is fast approaching and the sudden rash of corpses is just the sort of ammunition Steve's opponent is all too eager to use against him. Luckily Steve's longtime love, beautiful redhead Ginny Fitzgerald, is still by his side, but even that relationship becomes strained as Steve searches for a way to connect with her foster son, Tommy.

This is Steve's toughest investigation yet--one that spreads from secretive internet chatrooms into Chicago's seedy underbelly and even takes to the air above Porcupine City. It will take all of Deputy Martinez's patience and cunning to catch a sociopath who's after the next forbidden rush. It might also force him to face some unpleasant truths about the locals he has sworn to protect.


What's That Pig Outdoors?

  • Chicago Foundation for Literature Award for Nonfiction, 1991

    Other Awards

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)