About Jean

My mother once confronted my husband and me, put her hands on her hips, and asked,
“Can’t one of you hold onto a job?”Jean-Heller-Portrait

She was joking – sort of. Both of us were journalists, and we kept getting better jobs, which required moving. A lot. Moving frequently is, I have discovered, a good way to avoid having to clean out the closets, the garage, and the cabinets under the kitchen sink.

Through it all, I have been one thing above all else, a writer.

I started my first novel when I was in the third grade, the story of people living at the center of the earth. I liked the concept, but I really didn’t have a good plot point, and when I discovered what it’s really like at the center of the earth, the project went up in flames, so to speak.

My first complete novel, a thriller called “Maximum Impact,” was published by Forge, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, in 1993. My second, “Handyman,” came two years later. Both received great reviews from critics and readers.

My new series features Deuce Mora, lead columnist for the Chicago Journal. Deuce normally writes about politics, but every once in a while her search for a good story brings her face to face with more trouble than she can handle.

The first Deuce mystery, “The Someday File,” won wide reader and critical acclaim. The second, “The Hunting Ground,” is being hailed as even better.

The series is set in Chicago, a city I have loved since I was in college and which I have called home for years. I set the stories here because Chicago is such a great character in its own right. The stories I can build on these bones – quite literally in the case of “The Hunting Ground” – have infinite possibilities.


Jean’s news career included serving as an investigative and projects reporter and editor for The Associated Press in New York City and Washington, D.C., The Cox Newspapers and New York Newsday in Washington, D.C. and the St. Petersburg Times in Washington, D.C. and Florida.

Jean has won multiple awards, including the Worth Bingham Prize, the Polk Award, and is an eight-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.