Dunes Til Dead

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July, 1976

Down the shore, it’s America’s Bicentennial Summer. But not everyone is celebrating with sparklers and bottle rockets. The bodies of two young women have turned up in the dunes at the southern tip of tourist-packed Long Beach Island, NJ. Mickey Cleary, Surf City’s Police Chief for the last ten years, has just embarked on a new challenge when she finds herself pulled back to LBI’s white sand beaches to help hunt down a killer. As her investigation progresses, she uncovers a horrific truth.

Mickey is about to learn that sometimes the devil you know can be much worse than the one you don’t.


"Sand, surf, and serial killers. Dan Waters doesn’t disappoint with Dunes ’Til Dead. Mickey Cleary's sleuthing 'down the shore' keeps getting better and better. Can’t wait for the next one."
-John A. Hoda
Host of My Favorite Detective Stories Podcast

Shore Crimes

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The casino referendum has failed. Another hectic beach season has ended. Surf City Police Chief Mickey Cleary figures that now she can finally throttle back and focus on her husband Ronnie and their little girl, Eileen. But Mickey will quickly discover that assuming anything is the ultimate longshot gamble and that more than treasure ends up buried in the sand. Some sins even the tide can't wash away...

Barnegat Dark

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Summer, 1971. The New Jersey Shore. America is a country at war - abroad and at home. An entire nation is clamoring for change. Over a sweltering Independence Day weekend, a sea of simmering tensions is set to boil over in the shadow of an iconic landmark. And for Surf City Police Chief Mickey Cleary, a new kind of threat and a new kind of enemy will imperil both her and those she cares most about. The sleepy little towns up and down Long Beach Island are about to wake up.


"One of the best series I've ever read and it keeps getting better. Barnegat Dark is gritty, gutsy and great. Already waiting for number four."
-Robert Dugoni #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series

"Another outstanding entry in a terrific series. Mickey Cleary is a tough-as-nails police chief in a popular resort town on the Jersey Shore in theearly 1970s. She faces the ultimate challenge when anti-war protesters decide to make a statement during a crowded Independence Day weekend. With a compelling cast, a tight plot, and stellar pacing, Barnegat Dark will keep you turning pages into the wee hours. Highly recommended."
-Sheldon Siegel. New York Times Best-selling Author of Special Circumstances.

Ship Bottom Blues

2020 Nancy Pearl
Award Winner
2019 Writer's Digest
Honorable Mention

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In the year 1969... as the August sun beats down, things in Surf City, NJ are heating up.

Police Chief Mickey Cleary is ready to put another hectic tourist season on Long Beach Island behind her. But just as the days of Summer and the events of her own past seem ready to slip further away, old ghosts and new monsters are on their way their way "Down the Shore" - and heading straight for her.


"This Vietnam era thriller works well on many levels. The book is well-written, with tension driven suspense. The structure is taut, the plot is solid. The musical references and the cars add to the real-life details that make the reader feel part of the scene. It's a great read and hard to put down, comparable to John Sanford, Robert Dugoni and Jeffrey Archer."
—Writer's Digest Judges' Commentary


2018 PNWA Award Winner

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Dr. Johanna Roberson thinks she has uncovered a lucrative scam in medical devices at the hospital where she is training. What she has actually stumbled upon is something considerably more sinister and terrifying.

A year shy of finishing her residency in Cardiac Surgery at Seattle’s world-famous Cutter Clinic, Johanna isn’t someone looking for trouble. When her friend and senior resident Dr. Michael Constantine tells Johanna that he suspects a fraudulent scheme to implant unneeded cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, Johanna advises him against reporting his concerns. Shortly after confiding in her, Constantine disappears in a boating accident on Puget Sound and Johanna finds herself assigned to take his place on the pacemaker service assisting a garrulous cardiologist dubbed the “Afghan Flash”. Johanna’s suspicions quickly mount. When she tries to alert her physician superiors she finds them resistant to looking at anything that might taint the reputation of the Pacific Rim’s newest medical Mecca. Frustrated, Johanna reluctantly involves her new and very much unanticipated suitor, Triplett “Trip” Collier, a handsome field agent with the Department of Homeland Security.

After Johanna escapes a seemingly freak accident atop Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, Collier begins to suspect that there is more at stake than just dollars and devices. As the pair work to unravel the mystery, Johanna becomes the target of a freelance terrorist plotter who is financed by a secret and surprising source. When he tracks her to an empty device laboratory deep within The Cutter Clinic, only Trip and Johanna stand between him and his murderous plans.

Surf City Confidential

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or these Local Booksellers:
The Bookworm, Surf City, NJ
ByWatyr Gift Shop, Beach Haven Terrace, NJ
Sun Rose Words & Music, Ocean City, NJ
Weathered Elements, Clear Lake, IA
It’s 1967 and Surf City Police Chief Mickey Cleary has a problem: less than a week before the Memorial Day weekend, a battered corpse has washed up on her New Jersey beach. When the body is identified as the teenage son of powerful Mafia boss Dante “Danny Rags” Ragone, Mickey is pressured to declare the death an accident and close the book. Once one of Philadelphia’s first female beat cops, she understands the looming potential for bloodshed and demands an autopsy by the State’s Medical Examiner. Hiding the body in the cooler of a local liquor store, Mickey sets in motion a series of events that rapidly draws in warring mob factions, Philadelphia’s Police Commissioner, and a pair of FBI agents who may or may not be on the side of justice.

When a cryptic note is discovered tucked in her deputy’s uniform pocket, suspicion mounts that Mickey might be involved in the boy’s death. She allies herself with Ronnie Dunn, a disaffected Viet Nam vet who warns her that nothing is what it seems in the sleepy beach town. Both having been witnesses to horrific violence, they bond together in a desperate attempt to find the truth, prevent a mob war, and stay alive


“A gripping debut. Waters creates a cauldron of colorful characters simmering in an intricate plot. The revelations come in a wild, tense finish. One of the best books I’ll read this year.”
—Robert Dugoni, #1 NY Times, Wall Street Journal & Amazon Bestselling Author


“Set in a small coastal town in the late sixties, this is a fast paced story that kept me turning pages into the night. This book is a very impressive first novel, comparable in pacing and character development to the work of Ken Follett or John Sandford.”

“A real page-turner set in a milieu that will be familiar to many readers - the Jersey Shore. The book delivers on its promise and then more! Perfect summer (or any other season) reading.”

“Enjoyed this so much! Having grown up in that era I was amazed at the detail. Remembered things I hadn't thought about in years. Love the dialogue and surprise ending. ”

“Difficult book to put down! Many twists and turns to keep your interest to the end! One really great read.”


DANIEL J. WATERS is a native of Southern New Jersey. He graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and has been publishing stories, essays, poems and nonfiction pieces since 1981.

His work has appeared in major medical journals, anthologies, and the literary magazines of prestigious universities and medical college including JAMA, The American Surgeon, The New Physician, The Examined Life (University of Iowa), Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine (Columbia University), the North Carolina Literary Review, and The Missouri Review. His award-winning novels have been well-received by reviewers and readers alike. He practiced open-heart surgery for thirty years and is the author two books of surgical advice and aphorisms which are still quoted today. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Narrative Healthcare and a Master of Arts in Writing from The Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville, NC.

He and his wife Pamela have three grown children and live in Clear Lake, Iowa.