April 21, 2024 at 7pm

Rene Denfeld, Paul Doiron, Nick Medina, Robin Peguero

Rene Denfield

Rene Denfeld is the bestselling author of four novels, including The Child Finder and Sleeping Giants. The former Chief Investigator for a public defense agency, she has worked hundreds of cases, including death row exonerations.

Her books have been described as thrillers written like poems. Rene has won numerous prestigious literary awards, including a French Prix and a listing for the ALA Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

In 2017 the New York Times named her a hero of the year, and she was awarded the Break the Silence award in Washington, DC. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is the happy mother to children from foster care.


Sleeping Giants

Twenty years ago, a nine-year-old boy was swept away by powerful waves on a remote Oregon beach, his body lost to the sea. Only a stone memorial remains to mark his tragic death. For most of her life, Amanda Dufresne had no idea she had an older brother named Dennis Owens, or that he had died. Adopted as a baby, she learned about him while looking into her late birth mother, and is curious to know more about this lost sibling. A solitary young woman, Amanda has always felt distanced from the world around her. Her brain works differently from others, leaving her feeling set apart. Her one true companion is the orphaned polar bear she cares for working at the zoo. By getting to know her birth family, she hopes to understand more about herself. Retired police officer Larry Palmer is a widower with nothing but time and in need of a purpose. He offers to help Amanda find answers. The search leads to shocking and heartbreaking discoveries. Dennis Owen had been a forgotten foster child abandoned to a home for disturbed boys off the coast. As Amanda and Larry dig deeper into the past, the two stumble upon decades of cruelty and hidden crimes—including a barbaric treatment still used today.

Paul Doiron

Paul Doiron is the best-selling author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels set in the Maine woods.

His first book, The Poacher’s Son, won the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award and was nominated for an Edgar for Best First Novel. PopMatters named it one of the best novels of the year. His second, Trespasser, won the 2012 Maine Literary Award. His novelette “Rabid” was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar in the Best Short Story category. Paul’s twelfth book, Dead by Dawn won the New England Society’s 2022 Book Award for Fiction, as well as his second Maine Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the Barry Award.

Paul is the former chair of the Maine Humanities Council, Editor Emeritus of “Down East: The Magazine of Maine,” and a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing. He lives on a trout stream on the Maine midcoast.

His novels have been translated into 11 languages: German, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Czech, and Finnish.


Pitch Dark

Legendary bush pilot Josie Jonson can’t believe her luck when a skilled builder just happens to show up after she purchases land near Prentiss Pond. All Mark Redmond asks in return for building Josie’s dream cabin is that he be left alone to homeschool his 12-year-old daughter, Cady. For Maine game warden investigator Mike Bowditch, the intensity of Redmond’s secretiveness is troubling, especially in light of suspicious criminal activity being reported around the area―including rumors of an armed man offering large sums of money in exchange for the location of Redmond and Cady. Josie, though hesitant to violate the trust of her prized builder, eventually agrees to fly Mike and his father-in-law Charley Stevens to the secluded pond in an attempt to protect Redmond and Cady. But hours after landing, the trip takes a dark turn when they witness a horrific murder and are taken captive themselves. Freeing himself, Mike is forced to set off through the impenetrable Maine forest towards Canada, alone and unarmed in pursuit of a mysterious fugitive. As he navigates a windblown landscape choked with deadfalls and blocked by swollen streams, he marvels at his enemy’s bush craft. The killer possesses skills surpassing his own, and Bowditch can’t tell if he is the cat or the mouse in this dangerous game. Can Mike Bowditch stop his adversary in time to save the life of a young girl, or will he be forced to watch another innocent soul die?

Nick Medina

Born in Chicago, Illinois and a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, Nick Medina appreciates local and Native folklore, which, along with research into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) epidemic, inspired his debut novel, Sisters of the Lost Nation.

His new novel, Indian Burial Ground, is out now. When he’s not writing, he enjoys playing guitar, staying fit, and spending time with family.


Indian Burial Ground

All Noemi Broussard wanted was a fresh start. With a new boyfriend who actually treats her right and a plan to move from the reservation she grew up on—just like her beloved Uncle Louie before her—things are finally looking up for Noemi. Until the news of her boyfriend’s apparent suicide brings her world crumbling down. But the facts about Roddy’s death just don’t add up, and Noemi isn’t the only one who suspects that something menacing might be lurking within their tribal lands. After over a decade away, Uncle Louie has returned to the reservation, bringing with him a past full of secrets, horror, and what might be the key to determining Roddy’s true cause of death. Together, Noemi and Louie set out to find answers…but as they get closer to the truth, Noemi begins to wonder whether it might be best for some secrets to remain buried.

Robin Peguero

Ever since he first learned to grip a pen, Robin Peguero has been writing. In high school, he put out weekly chapters featuring his closest friends as the characters. The written word has always been his saving grace. He was born to interracial immigrant parents, a mother from Ecuador and a father from the Dominican Republic. His family faced economic hardship, living four to a cramped, New York basement apartment, and they moved to South Florida when he was five years old in search of a middle-class life.

He attended Harvard College, where he became an editor of The Harvard Crimson, and he spent a summer writing stories for The Miami Herald. He then attended Harvard Law School, serving as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and publishing three pieces on stop-and-frisk, criminal immigration consequences, and the intersection of jury nullification and the death penalty.

After graduating, he rejected out-of-hand lucrative opportunities at big law firms and returned home to Miami to become a local criminal prosecutor. After seven years as a prosecutor, he joined the historic Select Committee Investigating the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol as an investigative counsel, leading interviews of witnesses, from former Cabinet secretaries to leadership within Secret Service; co-leading on of the blockbuster summer hearings on President Trump’s attempts at corrupting the Department of Justice; and, for the final report, writing the chapter on President Trump’s 187 minutes of inaction during the attack and appendices on the day’s intelligence failures and delayed response by the National Guard. He now serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law and Chief of Staff to a member of Congress, Hon. Glenn Ivey.


One in the Chamber

Cameron Leann is new to Washington, D.C. An Iowa farm boy without a penny to his name, Cam has joined a group of affluent junior staffers working for a powerful cohort of U.S. Senators known as The Gang of Six. Liz Frost, the group’s charismatic leader, teases and strings Cam along as he grows increasingly infatuated with her. Heir to a political dynasty, Randy Lancaster pushes Cam to his limits with his penchant for booze, drugs, and meaningless flings. Charlie James, Liz’s linebacker boyfriend, keeps Cam at a distance, eyeing the newcomer with suspicion. All of them have one thing in common. They hate their bosses. As the Gang of Six takes up the rushed nomination of the first Black chief justice to the Supreme Court, Cam and his friends are plotting against them. But in the game of politics, one’s motivations are never as they seem—especially true for Cam, the enigmatic figure at the center of it all. When a bombshell revelation threatens to sink the President’s Supreme Court pick, the Gang of Six fractures, pitting senator against senator in a confirmation battle for the ages. Alliances shift with the wind. Everyone is lying to everyone. And on Election Night, one senator will end up dead.

Meet Your Hosts

The Back Room is the brainchild of best selling authors Hank Phillippi Ryan and Karen Dionne. Each event they are host to a lively discussion with a panel of authors.

Learn more about how they conceived of The Back Room, how it works, and about their books too!

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