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.
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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.