Joel Williams Series

Publish or Perish (2008)

Nick Merrill, a graduate student at Tilton University, is working on his Ph.D. thesis, a study of some exciting new educational software he’s designed. Everything with school is going great, but his personal life is complicated. He’s having an affair with a faculty member and he’s dating another woman. His life gets even more stressful when the two women find out about each other. In the meantime, his thesis advishas claimed authorship of the software Nick designed.
Could life get any worse for Nick? Yes.
One night, Nick is killed. When Joel Williams, former police officer, finds out about his death, he becomes curious about the circumstances and decides to find out who killed the student and why.
With Williams’ help, the Tilton police discover evidence that links Nick’s death and the death of another person and subsequently, to the murderer.

B-Very Flat (2010)

Is anyone really safe? At nineteen years old, violin virtuosa Serena Brinkman seems to have it all. A student at Tilton University, she’s got good looks, money, people who love her, and rare musical talent. She’s also got a valuable Amati violin, a musical rival, friends whose secrets she knows, and an obsessed fan. Serena’s dreams are shattered when she dies on the night of a major music competition. Serena’s partner is convinced that her death wasn’t an accident, and asks for help from Dr. Joel Williams of Tilton’s Department of Criminal Justice. Williams, a former detective, soon finds that, far from keeping her safe, Serena’s privilege and talent made her vulnerable.

Past Tense (2016)

A long-buried set of remains…a decades-old mystery

Past and present meet on the quiet campus of Tilton University when construction workers unearth a set of unidentified bones.
For former police detective-turned-professor Joel Williams, it’s a typical Final Exams week – until a set of bones is discovered on a construction site…

When the remains are linked to a missing person case from 1974, Williams and the Tilton, Pennsylvania police go back to the past. And they uncover some truths that have been kept hidden for a long time.

How much do people really need to know?

It’s 1974, and twenty-year-old Bryan Roades is swept up in the excitement of the decade. He’s a reporter for the Tilton University newspaper, The Real Story, and is determined to have a career as an investigative journalist, just like his idols, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. He plans to start with an exposé article about life on the campus of Tilton University. But does everything need to be exposed? And what are the consequences for people whose lives could be turned upside down if their stories are printed? As it turns out, Bryan’s ambition carries a very high price. And someone is determined not to let the truth out.

Downfall (2018)

Second Chance is a Philadelphia alternative school designed for at-risk students. They live on campus, they take classes, and everyone hopes they’ll stay out of prison. And then one of them dies. When Curtis Templeton falls from a piece of scaffolding near the school, it’s called a tragic accident. A damned shame. A terrible loss. And everyone moves on.Two years later, former police detective-turned-professor Joel Williams and two of his colleagues do a study of Second Chance for a research paper. When they find out about Curtis’ death, they start asking questions. And no-one wants to answer them.

The search for the truth takes Williams and his research partners behind the scenes of for-profit alternative education – and straight into the path of someone who thought everything would stay buried. In the meantime, changes are coming to Tilton University. The School of Social Sciences is going to be the new home of a center for research on juvenile offenders. But not everyone is happy about it. YouthPromises, the company that’s underwriting the center, is a for-profit alternative program that has a stake in the outcome of any research the center does. What will that mean for the faculty? Williams finds himself caught in the controversy over the center, just as he’s finding out the truth about Second Chance.

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