Thursday, February 18, 2021




An innocent math professor runs for his life as teams of hitmen try to prevent publication of their government’s dark history…

College professor Sam Teagarden stumbles upon a decades-old government cover-up when an encoded document mysteriously lands in his in-box, followed by a cluster of mini-drones programmed to kill him.

That begins a terrifying flight from upstate New York, to Washington, to Key West as Teagarden must outfox teams of hitmen equipped with highly sophisticated technology. While a fugitive, he races to decode the journal, only to realize the dreadful truth—it’s the reason he’s being hunted because it details criminal secrets committed by the U.S. in the 20th Century.

If he survives and publishes the decoded diary, he’ll be a heroic whistle blower. But there is no guarantee. He may also end up dead.

Six years after his Flight of the Fox ordeal that dubbed him the American Prometheus, humble math professor Sam Teagarden becomes embroiled in another mission involving decoding a secret document provoking tragic reactions around the world. Unearthed in northern Israel, the ancient parchment is called the Q Document, for the German word quelle, meaning: source. Biblical scholars believe it may be the original source for the two Gospels: Matthew and Luke. If decoded, it could shed light on the creation of the world’s most widely observed religious faith.

Book Details:
Author: Gray Basnight
Genre: thriller
Series: Sam Teagarden
Down & Out Books


1. What’s one thing that drives you crazy?

Theft and thieves. My apartment has twice been burglarized.  I’ve had minor items stolen from my car by valet parking attendants. My bicycle was pinched from the backyard when I was twelve. These awful acts make me so bitterly angry, I scare myself. I just want go Rambo on thieves. (See Q5.)     

2.    What is your guiltiest guilty pleasure?

Cookies. I like my chocolate chip cookies chewy, never hard or crisp. And I was always partial to Hydrox over Oreo. But then – shocker, Hydrox was discontinued, which means Oreo won the battle of the cream-filled chocolate sandwich war. And I do not like Oreos. Blech! 

3.    What is your most embarrassing moment?
It was in 8th grade gym class. Guys wore jock straps, gym shorts, and t-shirts. We used to prank each other by sneaking up behind and yanking the shorts and jocks down – to the ankles! When it was my turn to be pranked, the entire girl’s gym class was watching. (Wow, did I just admit that publicly?)

4.    What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

As a freelance broadcast news writer, it’s not good to say “no” when the phone rings with an offer of a work shift. Consequently, I once accepted three shifts in a row at three different stations. It meant working 24 hours straight. Fortunately, I got through it without disaster, but it was very dumb.  And I only did it once.    

5.    What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
I witnessed a man smash the window of a parked car in NYC – he reached in and stole a cellphone and a GPS device. I chased him, but he saw me and ran much faster.  When he ducked into a large pharmacy, I noted the precise time and reported it to my local precinct. A detective contacted the pharmacy, got a photo of the thief from the security camera, and asked me to confirm the image as being the very same smash-and-run thief. I did confirm it. Unfortunately, I never learned whether he was, as they say, “nabbed.”  (See Q1.)

6.    On what life choices would you like to have a re-do?
I’d have delayed college by two years and enlisted in the U.S. Army, if they’d have accepted me. Then I would have used military benefits to pay for my tuition.  Although there’s always a risk of being sent into harm’s way, I’ve come to believe that facing challenges bigger than college offers a superior means of character formation at the impressionable age of 18.

7.    What makes you nervous?
Drivers who tailgate. This makes me claustrophobic, and I don’t have claustrophobia.

8.    What makes you scared?
The Dunning-Kruger Effect. That’s the theory suggesting that people often overestimate their skills at particular tasks, not because of hubris, but because they lack self-awareness. Very scary stuff that helps explain why so much tends to go wrong.     

9.    What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
I don’t lie much. At least not big ones. I tend to agree with Abraham Lincoln who said, “No one has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”  On the other hand, my response to one of these questions just might be a lie. Can you guess which one? (Hee hee.)       

10.    What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
Staying in a relationship for seven years when it should have ended much earlier. But I did inherit a tiny and quite affordable rental in Greenwich Village, so that part worked out.

11.    When was the last time you did something for the first time?
My wife and I built a house a few years back. We didn’t construct it ourselves, but we bought the property, contracted out the work, and supervised the process. When it was over, we were both so proud, not only to have a house, but because we met the challenge.    

12.    One of your main characters has to die. Which one would you kill off?
Ouch. Okay, if required, I’d kill Sam Teagarden, the everyman hero and protagonist in my two run-for-your-life thrillers. I don’t want to do it because he may return for a third adventure. On the other hand, killing him may establish an intriguing plot for a fourth adventure. Remember, Conan Doyle killed off Holmes at the Richenbach Falls. Then he magically reappeared for 12 more stories!


After almost three decades in broadcast news writing fact-based stories, Gray Basnight now writes fictional ones. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, he’s lived in New York long enough to consider himself a native. His latest book, Madness of the Q (Down & Out, December 2020), brings back math professor Sam Teagarden in an international thriller sparked by the discovery of an encoded ancient Biblical document. Gray is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Authors Guild.

Connect with Gray:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Flight of the Fox: Amazon
Madness of the Q: Amazon