I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life. As such, I’m a New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter.
I hold degrees in journalism, law and library science. After graduating law school, I practiced law for nine years. As an attorney, I worked in various settings, from law firms to government jobs. However, it wasn’t until I opened my own office that I began writing fiction in earnest.
I started my writing career as a freelancer, working for anyone who would pay me. However, as an insatiable reader of a wide variety of books, my greatest hope has been to write novels. I have now written and published four mysteries and one young adult novel. My first book, a hardboiled mystery called IDENTITY CRISIS, introduced the protagonist Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae, a Maryland lawyer/sleuth who puts her life at risk while representing a client accused of murder and identity theft.
New York Times Bestseller with the First Sam McRae Mystery
IDENTITY CRISIS was originally published in 2005 by a small press that went out of business nine months after its release. In 2009, I decided to bring the book back into print by self-publishing it through Lulu and releasing it in ebook format for Kindle.
Two years later, IDENTITY CRISIS hit the New York Times bestseller list. It was among the first self-published ebooks to make the list. In addition, the sequel LEAST WANTED, became a Kindle bestseller in the U.S. and U.K. that year.
Since then, I’ve written and published two more Sam McRae novels, a young adult novel, and several short stories, one of which was nominated for a Derringer Award in 2010. My Sam McRae mysteries have been praised by reviewers and readers:
Accolades for Debbi Mack’s Books
“Of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock once said, ‘There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’ Author Debbi Mack nails that statement in this tightly written tale about a flawed Maryland attorney, ‘Sam’ McRae, and her relentless search for a killer when the domestic abuse case she has been handling kicks itself up a notch: The accused is found dead and his wife has taken off. Not good. Add to that the FBI, the Mob, identity theft, and a vulnerable main character involved with a married prosecutor and you have a darn good page-turner. Debbi Mack crafts a taut narrative with crackling dialogue.” — Aimee Zuccarini, The Maryland Women’s Journal, Oct./Nov. 2009.
“LEAST WANTED is a brave, heartbreaking, and thrilling book with a complex plot that takes attorney Sam McRae on a dizzying tour of several circles of urban hell, against a backdrop of white-collar crime. I loved it, and I admire Mack for writing it without flinching or suggesting easy answers. It’s a sequel that outdoes IDENTITY CRISIS and holds the promise of a great series.” — Timothy Hallinan, author of THE QUEEN OF PATPONG and CRASHED
“I absolutely loved reading RIPTIDE! … Sam McRae is the best attorney sleuth ever.” — Jada Temple, reviewer, Thriller Ink Spot
“DEEP SIX is the best yet in Debbi Mack’s Sam McRae series. The plot is sophisticated and even twistier than those of the previous novels. The characters are quite credible, especially, of course, the heroine Sam McRae, and although the characters are well drawn in her other novels, I think Mack has gotten even better at making them live.” — Frederick Holton, reader review
I’ve also published a short story anthology called FIVE UNEASY PIECES. The anthology is available as an ebook with more info in the sidebar to the right.
Works-in-Progress, Future Directions
My current works-in-progress include a stand-alone thriller tentatively titled THE PLANCK FACTOR and the fifth Sam McRae mystery, which a Syrian refugee is accused of murder. I’m also working on a mystery novella tentatively titled BLOOD IS THICKER, featuring a new detective protagonist, Erica Jensen, a veteran of the Iraqi war.
I’ve also written two screenplays — an original crime suspense feature film and a feature film adapted from my first novel. The original screenplay made the Second Round in the 2014 Austin Film Festival screenwriting contest and the quarterfinals in the 2012 Scriptapalooza screenwriting contest.
Further, I’m venturing into the realm of filmmaking. I’ve taken introductory classes in documentary film and worked with a group to make a short documentary.
In 2004, I had a stroke, from which I completely recovered. However, a few months thereafter, I developed a movement disorder called dystonia, which has affected the left side of my body. In 2009, I held a fundraiser for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. We raised more than $1,300. My hope was to raise money, of course, but I also wanted to raise awareness of this little-known condition.
Among my favorite things to do when not writing are reading (of course), watching movies, walking, and traveling. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England, as well as several places within the United States. I’m an avid baseball fan and hope to visit every major league ballpark. I’m also constantly on the hunt for the perfect espresso.
I currently live in Maryland with my husband and a varying number of cats.