This Thriller Novel Is Overflowing With Milwaukee References

‘The Killer Speech’ by Kevin Kluesner is out now.

Kevin Kluesner carried a novel inside his head for over two decades. The Marquette grad spent his over 40-year career in health care marketing, while raising three children with his wife, but every once in a while, he’d peck out a few words about Cole Huebsch, an FBI agent hunting a murderer in Milwaukee. “Stephen King says that amateurs wait to be inspired, and authors sit down and write. When I read that, it triggered something in me,” Kluesner says. 


Nominations are open for the 2024 Unity Awards! 

Know an individual or group committed to bridging divides in our community? Nominate them for a Unity Award by Oct. 31.

He finally finished that long-gestating novel in 2020, spending his weekends at his computer. The Killer Sermon was published a year later and follows Huebsch’s investigation into the murder of a doctor. Now, he’s returning with a sequel, The Killer Speech, which hits shelves April 4. 

After the attempted assassination of a Wisconsin senator, Huebsch is pulled into a twisting plot that implicates a pharmaceutical trade association – and puts him in the crosshairs of the most powerful people in the country. “I would call it a societal thriller,” Kluesner says. “It has humor and excitement … but it also looks at issues that society is wrestling with.”

The novel is overflowing with Milwaukee references, including the cover, a painting by Kluesner’s son of the Spillover II sculpture in Shorewood. “I want to bring my readers to Milwaukee,” Kluesner says.

Photo courtesy of Level Best Books



This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s April issue.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.