Cliff Knowles Mysteries (now FREE!)

The Cliff Knowles Mysteries are now all FREE in digital form! Just click the links directly below for the PDF version of the book of your choice. I have also made them available in MOBI format, which is the format used by many free ebook readers such as mobipocket or Moon+Reader. I'm leaving the descriptions and links to the Amazon versions for those who prefer to pay or who want hard copy. Thank you for being such a great Cliff Knowles Mysteries fan.

    Held For Ransom (PDF)   Cached Out (PDF)   Fatal Dose (PDF)   Death Row (PDF)   Behead Me (PDF)   Gut Shot (PDF)
A Will to Die (PDF)  Cliffhanger (PDF)  The Cryptic Crossword Caper (PDF)  Double Eagle (PDF)  Cold Case (PDF)  Ultimato (PDF)

    Held for Ransom (MOBI)  Cached Out (MOBI)   Fatal Dose (MOBI)   Death Row (MOBI)   Behead Me (MOBI)   Gut Shot (MOBI)
A Will to Die (MOBI)  Cliffhanger (MOBI)  The Cryptic Crossword Caper (MOBI)  Double Eagle (MOBI)  Cold Case (MOBI)  Ultimato (MOBI)  Brace for Impact (MOBI)

Cached Out is now an audiobook. Click here to listen to a short preview or purchase the book.
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Brace for Impact by Russell Atkinson

Book #12 in the Cliff Knowles series

The last thing he remembers are the words "Brace for impact!" Retired FBI agents are sometimes subpoenaed to testify on old cases. That's what brings Cliff Knowles to Las Vegas. The light plane taking him back to California never reaches its destination. This is the harrowing tale of survival - or death - Cliff faces. All he has to sustain him are a few clothes and his geocaching gear. Not everyone involved in the case wants to see him survive. Fortunately for him, there are two capable women who do.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Brace for Impact
Paperback $11.99 Brace for Impact


Ultimato by Russell Atkinson

Book #11 in the Cliff Knowles series

Hardkorps is a video blogger, memorializing his three-year quest for the Ultimato Challenge geocache on his vlog. Success means big money and big fame. But not all is as it seems. A shocking surprise leads to a death and an FBI investigation. When Cliff Knowles comes to believe his wife Ellen, the FBI agent on the case, is helping to prosecute the wrong man, he steps in. Cliff and Ellen find themselves working on opposite sides of the case. Only their mutual knowledge of geocaching can lead to discovering the truth.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Ultimato
Paperback $11.99 Ultimato


Cold Case by Russell Atkinson

Book #10 in the Cliff Knowles series

Cliff is intrigued by a geocache description about a murder site in posh Los Altos Hills dating back eighteen years. When the victim's granddaughter approaches Cliff and Maeva to find the killer, they accept. Soon they are drawn into the esoteric world of DNA and genealogy to try to track down "Cole Case," the killer. Chasing a murderer can be a dangerous business and this time is no exception, but Cliff can always find time to pick up a geocache or two.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Cold Case
Paperback $11.99 Cold Case


Double Eagle by Russell Atkinson

Book #9 in the Cliff Knowles series

Cliff and his partner Maeva are hired to investigate the theft of some gold coins in California's Gold Country. What they find astounds them. When the case turns into a murder investigation, things take a dangerous turn, but not too dangerous to keep Cliff from geocaching.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Double Eagle
Paperback $11.99 Double Eagle - paperback


Cliffhanger by Russell Atkinson

Book #8 in the Cliff Knowles series

Ten geocachers are invited to an exclusive all-expense paid adventure on a private island owned by the controversial new owner of the geocaching company. What could possibly go wrong? Geocaches that are death traps. A ferocious storm. A friendly competition that turns into cutthroat frenzy. A body. A murder? Some adventures can be too thrilling, as Cliff Knowles learns once again.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Cliffhanger
Also available in paperback: $11.99. Cliffhanger (paperback)


The Cryptic Crossword Caper by Russell Atkinson

It's not a Cliff Knowles Mystery, but it has all the elements you enjoy: a murder, a clever sleuth, and a hunt for hidden treasure. Margaret "Mags" McPherson, recently widowed, is happily retired in tiny Buck's Gap near the Big Sur coast, baking pies and working cryptic crosswords. She has her friends in the Buck's Gap Ladies Auxiliary who are pushing her to get together with Morris Butcher, a professional puzzle-maker. Pushing her, that is, until Butcher turns up murdered.

There are several puzzles in the book that provide clues to the mystery. These can be worked in the book (if you have the print version) or interactively online (for the cryptic crossword) or you can download the file to print out and work the crossword or sudoku on paper.

Kindle ebook from $4.99 The Cryptic Crossword Caper
Also available in paperback (U.S. only): $9.99. from Amazon. Use Kindle link.


A Will to Die by Russell Atkinson

Book #7 in the Cliff Knowles series

San Diego is renowned for its sunny weather and beautiful beaches, but it has its dark side. It is the location of one of the largest mass suicides in American history. Thirty-eight members of the Heaven's Gate cult left their bodily "vehicles" hoping for their souls to be taken aboard an alien space ship traveling behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Now, decades later, it looks like an offshoot cult is following the same pattern. One of the victims is the sister of private eye Cliff Knowles, a sister he hasn't seen in years. He has trouble accepting the conclusion of the police that it's a suicide. His investigation turns into a bittersweet family reunion when he comes to know his disabled niece whom he last saw when she was an infant. He's determined to see justice done for her sake.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 A Will to Die
Also available in paperback (U.S. only): $11.99. Use Kindle link.


Behead Me by Russell Atkinson

Selected as the top mystery by Read Freely in The 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading (2016) awards!

Book #6 in the Cliff Knowles series

Retired FBI agent Cliff Knowles thought he was being hired by a Fortune 500 company just to find out why their sales of spare parts were down. He soon learns that where there's money there's mayhem - and murder. His investigation brings him to southwestern Utah where he finds that an employee of the company he's investigating recently lost his head - literally. Coincidence? Not a chance. When Cliff decides to venture into the desert to hunt a geocache, he is unaware that he is being hunted, too. In this harrowing tale of greed and guile, Cliff's survival depends on his only weapon - his wits.

Cliff's FBI agent wife, Ellen Kennedy, returns to work after her maternity leave ready to pursue criminals of all stripes. Instead she finds that she is assigned to a convicted drug dealer and heroin addict who once attacked Cliff, but to investigate her for an entirely unexpected reason - to help her get a presidential pardon! Once again Cliff and Ellen end up working together pursuing justice and geocaches in their own inimitable style.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Behead Me
Also available in paperback. Use Kindle link.


Gut Shot by Russell Atkinson

Book #5 in the Cliff Knowles series

Cliff Knowles swore he'd never help a defense attorney free a murder suspect, certainly not one who shot an FBI agent point blank in front of witnesses while yelling obscenities. But then he never expected that an FBI agent he worked with would be the defendant. For the first time, Cliff tells the story in his own words.

Cliff must face the scorn of his former colleagues for turning to the "dark side" of criminal defense while trying to keep his wife from falling into the abyss of postpartum depression. When he is attacked by muggers he escapes more or less unscathed ... or thinks he does. Once again, Cliff finds himself putting his life on the line.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Gut Shot: A Cliff Knowles Mystery
Also available in paperback. Use Kindle link.


Death Row by Russell Atkinson

Book #4 in the Cliff Knowles series

When a court ruling once again halts the carrying out of the death sentences of hundreds of condemned murderers, a frustrated vigilante organization decides to take matters into its own hands. In a mysterious and grisly act of horror, San Quentin's entire population of condemned prisoners is executed in the dark of night. But how? And who are these vigilantes? Answering those questions falls to retired FBI agent Cliff Knowles, now a successful lawyer. His lover, Special Agent Ellen Kennedy, is intent on completing a geocaching challenge known as the Fizzy Challenge, but inadvertently turns Cliff into suspect number one by going for one cache too many. She has no doubt Cliff is innocent, but he's kept a secret from her. He's kept a secret from everyone and he knows that her faith in him is misplaced. His only chance of keeping Ellen in his life, perhaps even of staying off death row himself, is to get to the critical evidence before the FBI does.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Death Row: A Cliff Knowles Mystery

Also available in paperback. Use Kindle link.


Fatal Dose by Russell Atkinson

Book #3 in the Cliff Knowles series

X-rays can kill cancer cells and save lives when administered properly. They can also kill people when things go wrong a fact learned the hard way by retired FBI agent Cliff Knowles. Hired to unravel the cause of some mysterious overdoses, he gets too close to the truth and finds his own life on the line.

Inspired by actual cases he worked as an FBI agent in Silicon Valley, the author weaves an absorbing tale of greed, technology, and terrorism in this high-tech legal thriller. After reading Fatal Dose youll never look at an X-ray machine the same way.

Fatal Dose follows geocaching FBI agent Cliff Knowles in the third riveting installment of the popular Cliff Knowles Mysteries series.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Fatal Dose (A Cliff Knowles Mystery Book 3)
Also available in paperback. Use Kindle link.


Cached Out by Russell Atkinson

Book #2 in the Cliff Knowles series

Newly retired from the FBI and alone after the tragic death of his wife, Cliff Knowles takes up geocaching. While looking for a cache in the mountains he comes across a human skeleton and reports it to the sheriff's office. Then a second body is found - a fresh corpse this time - right after Cliff found another geocache nearby. When it turns out the first remains are those of a fugitive he was supposed to arrest years earlier, he becomes a suspect in a multiple homicide investigation. He has no choice but to use his sleuthing skills to identify the mysterious cache owner, known only as Enigmal, and free himself from suspicion.

Kindle ebook from $5.99 Cached Out
Also available in paperback. Use Kindle link.

Also available as an audiobook from Cached Out


Held for Ransom by Russell Atkinson

Book #1 in the Cliff Knowles series

The President of Claritiva Software is kidnapped at gunpoint. FBI Special Agent Cliff Knowles is the first to respond when the crime is reported. But the report is suspicious in many ways and the front office is skeptical the kidnapping is real. Knowles must fight his own bureaucracy while trying to rescue the victim and catch the kidnappers. This gripping novel will have you on the edge of your chair from the first chapter.

The author, a retired 25-year FBI veteran Special Agent, draws heavily on his experiences working high-technology and violent crimes cases in Silicon Valley to provide an unprecedentedly candid look at what it is like to work a high-profile kidnap case and what a kidnapping victim experiences. If you have considered becoming an FBI agent, or you have wondered what you would face as a kidnap victim and the decisions you would have to make, this book is a must-read. This is the real story, not the TV version you've seen a thousand times. It isn't always pretty, but it is what happens when lives are at stake.

Kindle ebook $5.99 Held for Ransom
Also available in paperback. Use Kindle link.

About the Author

Russell Atkinson served as an FBI Special Agent for 25 years, where he specialized in high-technology crimes in Silicon Valley. He worked on kidnapping cases and has arrested murderers and drug dealers. After retiring from the FBI he practiced law. With degrees in mathematics and law he worked for several high-tech firms. He served as President of the American Cryptogram Association and has written extensively on cryptographic topics. He was Head Cryptographer for the movie The Red Machine, which was given a thumbs up by Roger Ebert. He makes crossword puzzles which appear on his website and are published in a national magazine. Now retired, he lives with his wife in Silicon Valley and spends time with his interests: running, geocaching, guitar, cryptography, and, of course, writing.

The Cliff Knowles Mysteries can be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good mystery novel, but geocachers especially enjoy the way geocaching is woven into some of the books. The author is an experienced geocacher, having begun caching in 2002. He geocaches under the name THE RAT. He has found over 3000 caches and has placed 100 caches. He has completed the original Well-Rounded Cacher (The Fizzy Challenge) (GC11E8N) and over 550 favorite points have been awarded to his caches. He can be contacted by filling in the contact form in the About the Author section of his blog. If you don't want to be on the mailing list, just note that in the comment field.

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