Writer / Director

Deception Specialist

What People Are Saying

“I’ve always been a sucker for a conman, and it’s a joy to be taken in by reformed grifter Jack O’Shea as he turns the tables on a murderous conspiracy.” 

–Dennis Tafoya, Author of Dope Thief.

“A good, old-fashioned mystery thriller powered by a completely original and compelling protagonist, John Shepphird’s Deception Specialist speeds along at a breakneck pace while also tugging at your emotions.  I read it in one sitting.”

–David Housewright, Edgar-Award winning author of In a Hard Wind

“Won’t get fooled again, not with Jack O’Shea on the case. Master con man turned PI, O’Shea isn’t exactly on the side of the angels, but he’s our kind of rogue.”

—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepless City

Also Available on Audible!

What People Are Saying

"Reformed con man Jack O’Shea now makes a living as a “Deception Specialist,” a private investigator who helps people uncover the types of scams he once committed against others. Three years ago, Jack was in an accident that left the love of his life dead, and his face disfigured. Now, still healing his wounds, he’s helping out a woman in central California whose husband fell—or was pushed—down a mineshaft. The story of his investigation of a town mired in corruption is interspersed with flashbacks from the days leading up to his tragic accident three years earlier...Shepphird’s background as a Hollywood writer and director shows in his tight dialogue and perfect plotting."

Mystery & Suspense • 6.2 hrs • Unabridged • © 2024

Bottom Feeders

What People Are Saying

”From years of experience fighting in the trenches of low-budget films, Shepphird has crafted a pulse-pounding thriller of page-turning fun.” 

–Andrew W. Marlowe, Creator/Executive Producer of ABC’s Castle

”Classic Hollywood noir, complete with racetracks, drunks, has-been movie stars, and murder. I absolutely devoured this book…I’ll be waiting for whatever he writes next!”

–Steve Hamilton, New York Times bestselling author

 ”A crackling good yarn about the inner workings and intrigues behind the scenes of a Hollywood low-budget movie…Shepphird knows the terrain and gives the reader a deliciously voyeuristic view of the Hollywood dream factory at work. A great read!”

–Clive Rosengren, author of Red Desert

Also Available on Audible!

What People Are Saying

This audiobook is great entertainment from start to finish, and narrator Bronson Pinchot relishes every minute of it. On a remote ranch out of cell reception, Eddie is trying to direct a TV movie on a shoestring budget. As if pandering to egotistical actors isn't tough enough, someone is picking off the cast and production team one by one with a bow and arrows--and then there's the forest fire. Who will survive? Great fun ensues, as well as an opportunity for Pinchot to gently poke fun at Hollywood types. This audiobook will certainly provide a welcome distraction for anyone in need of an action fix.


Mystery & Suspense • 6.5 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2017

The Trilogy

The Shill: A Tale Of Deception

Struggling actress Jane Innes is seduced by a handsome new arrival in her acting class. He makes a proposition. He admits he’s a con man and needs Jane to pose as a rich, carefree heiress to fulfill her part in his intricate scam.

Would you agree? Or run the other way?

All goes as planned until Jane’s true identity threatens to surface and their scheme begins to crack at the seams.

It all leads to a tangled maze of deception, depravity and murder.

What People Are Saying

This trilogy by Shamus Award-winner Shepphird sets a new high standard for woman-in-jeopardy fiction. It consists of three linked novellas that follow the travails of Jane Innes, a likable but hapless underemployed actress whose string of bad luck takes her ever deeper into noir, but not without moments of dark humor. Trouble appears in the form of Cooper Sinclair, a handsome newcomer to her acting class, who romances then seduces her, both literally and into a life of crime. Confessing to being a con man, he outlines a can’t-fail scam involving the sale of a supposed fortune in diamonds to a lecherous wealthy realtor.

Against her better judgment, she agrees to play the role of the shill—the accomplice who adds credibility to the con, in this case by portraying a sexy heiress. Of course, things go awry all the way to murder, with Jane left to face the cops with a corpse in her car trunk. Released after suffering a brutal attack in prison, she’s approached by an FBI agent who tells her she’s been used by a powerful gang of swindlers who now want her dead.

Determined not only to survive but to settle the score with the con artists, she agrees to help the agent find them. The trail leads from L.A. to Sarasota and another murderous attack on Jane. Then, traveling alone, she heads to Miami and the Turks and Caicos, where once again she winds up in jeopardy. Battered but unbowed, Jane survives and continues her quest back to California for more danger, leading to a final explosive confrontation. Reader Kera O’Bryon uses a soft, almost flirtatious narration that is surprisingly effective in rendering the action-packed, heavily plotted yarn. She capably presents a protagonist forced by circumstance to cope with shocking twists, turns, deceitful allies, and an assortment of imaginative perilous situations, eventually leading to a discovery of her full potential. Including a pair of vicious but oddly amusing villains, nicely interpreted by O’Bryon, this is entertainment, unpretentious and nonstop.  

D.L. © Mystery Scene Magazine

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John Shepphird's Work