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My second novel, Clonk! was published by Apprentice House Press on May 2, 2023:

I’m a writer dabbling in humor, crime and detective fiction. I’m also a part time Maryland attorney concentrating in real property titles. (Which sounds more interesting?)

My first novel, self-published in 2013, was The Case Files of Roderick Misely, Consultant:

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Art Design for Clonk!:

Erin Hurley, Apprentice House.

Illustration by Bondan P.S.

(To see my rejected cover

design please click here):

Aided and abetted by BookSavvy PR


Media Queries:

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Quirky characters collide chaotically in Rieger’s darkly comedic detective novel. The author demonstrates an exceptional ability to create eccentric personalities that are lovable, detestable, and everything in between… An eccentric detective novel bursting with comedy and personality. - Kirkus Reviews

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Long listed for the 2023 CIBA MARK TWAIN Book Awards for Humor and Satire 

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Get Clonk! at these 
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Coming Soon on the Pearls Before Press Imprint!
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'A wonderfully comic novel packed full of eccentric, fun to get to know characters. Highly recommended!’
The Wishing Shelf

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About Clonk!:

Baltimore City Police Detective Kev Dixit’s life has become a series of good deeds, well punished. He’s pushing his way through line of duty killings, idiot tests and shifts with humorless partners. But he’s also the glue holding together the lives of his old Ignatius High School friends – within limits. Dixit didn’t want to mediate a business dispute among his former classmates turned mortgage fraudsters and their psychopathic business partner especially on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He didn’t think the psycho would carry a loaded gun into a business office, but the holidays can be stressful for some.


Dixit and partner Detective Dinetta Laurence are seeking the murderer of a Roland Park artist. The case has gone cold and the pressure is unbearable. Is the solution among the canvases? Failed metrosexual actor Chris Waxley is helping classmate Brian ‘the Troll’ Golding avoid the match-making efforts of his parents. Attorney Rainwater Wells is making sure fellow Ignatian Alan Switzer keeps his medical license. Agoraphobic FBI agent Reg Marquis needs some ‘off the books’ assistance from Dixit to catch a Ponzi scheming financial guru. Is a lightning strike ever arson?


Clonk! Is a gently dark comedy just waiting to roller coaster the reader through the lives of some very different high school friends. Jump in, strap on the safety harness and welcome to Smalltimore, hon!

Advance Reviews of Clonk!

Clonk! is a powerful detective story that leaps off the page. Rieger’s prose is exciting and daring. Clonk! is a joy to read from beginning to end.

Mike Fiorito is an author and freelance journalist. His book Falling from Trees won the 2022 Independent Press Distinguished Book Award. 

Deftly zigzagging among decades (1990s to 2020) non-chronologically, J. P. Rieger’s Clonk! seamlessly interweaves the adventures and misadventures of a group of former Baltimore high school buddies — a diverse band-of-brothers outcasts — as they collide and intersect in adulthood with their most adjusted member, city-beat-cop-turned-detective Kev Dixit, who copes with an artful murder, deadly real estate fraud, and an ingenious arson for-insurance scheme. A wily witches’ brew: witty, wise, and well-told throughout.

Michael Yockel, writer/editor and former Baltimore City Paper editor.


Clonk! is that rare thing: a funny novel that finds the perfect sweet spot between hard-boiled cynicism and hilarity. This delightful detective story seeks not only to decipher a crime, but also the enduring bonds of truly ridiculous friendships.

K.E. Flann, author of How to Survive a Human Attack: A Guide for Werewolves, Mummies, Cyborgs, Ghosts, Nuclear Mutants, and Other Movie Monsters, a NYT/Wirecutter pick for "Gifts We Want to Give."


Familiar in a way that’s sometimes affectionate and sometimes irritating, flawed, strangely reliable, clumsy, ordinary yet unique, unredeemable. These characters are all but abstract. Meeting them might feel confusing at first but it eventually turns into an understanding, an unexpected act of mutual recognition. It is very much like a high school reunion, happening many years later, marked by secrets, failures and an inscrutable sense of sympathy. 

Clonk! brims with twists, time jumps and enigmatic appearances. It’s because of that sense of closeness - and the fun that slips between the cracks - that we keep going back to its tangled storylines to make sense of an existing that, most of the time, is resolute in making no sense at all. As these characters seem to find out, that might very well be the best part of it.

Camilla Aisa, Writer for Record Collector and Shindig! Magazines, U.K.

Gosh, I never realized Catholics could be funny, too. They are. This book is.

Bob Alper, Rabbi and Stand-Up Comic (Really) and author of Thanks. I Needed That.


In Clonk!, J.P. Rieger juggles multiple timelines to expose the shared experiences, the challenges, the wins and losses, and above all the humor that binds a group of friends together as they move through life.

Mike Stax, Editor, Ugly Things magazine.

Clonk! is a whimsical, nostalgic read spanning Baltimore’s recent past, while keeping company with plenty of amusing scoundrels. Diner meets Tin Men.

Dan Fesperman, author of Winter Work.

OK. The publisher may not like this, but click here for an excerpt from Clonk!:

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