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Jon Bassoff

Gothic-Noir Writer


Blackstone Publishing

Holt Davidson, a Kansas firefighter, hasn’t been back to his hometown of Thompsonville, Colorado, for more than two decades, but when he learns that his estranged mother has taken her own life, he returns for the funeral, hoping to make peace with her memory. He spends the night at his childhood home, rummaging through each room, exploring the past. But instead of nostalgic souvenirs, he discovers a gun, a love letter, and a Polaroid photograph of a man lying in his own blood.

Who is the dead man? Was his mother the one who killed him, and, if so, why? Who sent the love letter? And what role did his sister, institutionalized since she was a teenager, play in this act of violence? As his own traumatic memories begin to resurface, Holt begins an investigation into his mother’s and sister’s pasts—as well as his own.

A wrenching psychological thriller, Jon Bassoff’s Beneath Cruel Waters reminds us that the sins of the mothers are the sins of the sons.

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Beneath Cruel Waters is brilliant, dark, compelling, and heartbreaking. The not only a page-turner, but an immersive character study and an engrossing examination of rural Colorado life. Filled with unexpected twists and brutal truths, the novel will stay with you long after you finish it. Settle in for a new Colorado classic.

—David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Edgar and Anthony-nominated author of Winter Counts


A haunting, lyrical tale of family madness and the sins of the past from which we can never wash ourselves clean. Beneath Cruel Waters is a twisty, page-turning novel that asks profound questions—what are we willing to do for those we love? And what happens to our souls when love leads us to sin?

—Barbara Nickless, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Sydney Parnell crime novels

Jon Bassoff never wastes a word in this pitch-perfect tooth-chipper of a novel about the frayed realities of the human condition. His prose crafts a claustrophobic and haunted past in order to decipher the pieces of a tortured present. A mesmerizing and satisfying display of storytelling.”

—Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana, Donnybrook, The Savage, and Back to the Dirt


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About Jon Bassoff

Jon Bassoff was born in 1974 in New York City and currently lives with his family in Colorado. His mountain gothic novel, Corrosion, has been translated in French and German and was nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s biggest crime fiction award. He is a connoisseur of tequila, hot sauces, psychobilly music, and flea-bag motels. Beneath Cruel Waters is his ninth novel.

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