The Way I Die

A Silver Bear Thriller

An explosive thriller from the acclaimed co-creator of “Chicago Fire” featuring his dynamic and compelling anti-hero, Columbus.

The way I die is two taps to the head, stuffed in the trunk of a rental sedan, my body set on fire. The way I die is both arms broken, both legs broken, tossed off a cigarette boat in the middle of Lake Michigan, bricks in my pockets to weigh down the corpse. The way I die is acid in a bathtub, pushed out of an airplane, strung up and gutted in an old textile warehouse in Boston. My name is Copeland. My name is Columbus. The way I die is a shotgun in my mouth, my finger on the trigger.

It is the middle of February on Mackinac Island, a tiny community off the northern Michigan coast. But Columbus isn't here to enjoy the picturesque surroundings. Reeling after the death of his wife and relinquishing his son, he lives in isolation—in self-imposed punishment and exile. Forgotten and alone. Nameless to his neighbors. But even if he runs and hides, Columbus is never alone for long.

Ten years after Columbus—one of the most original anti-heroes in contemporary fiction—first exploded onto the scene in The Silver Bear, Derek Haas delivers another riveting thriller that promises heart-pounding action and shocking twists until the very last page.

Praise for The Way I Die

“Haas succeeds at making the slightly evolved Columbus as intriguing (and screen-worthy) in this fifth episode as he was in the first dangerous glimpse of him.” - Booklist (Starred Review)

“You won’t be able to avert your eyes from a single scene in this stripped-down, dead-eyed, professional-grade actioner.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Haas packs solid suspense, vivid action, and well-developed characters into a tight plot that never lags.” - Publisher's Weekly

“Derek Haas does it again — The Way I Die is another hard-hitting, well-written novel from one of the best storytellers on the planet… Someone better warn the rest of the genre, because the Silver Bear is officially out of hibernation!” - The Real Book Spy

A Different Lie

A Silver Bear Thriller

Now a new dad, the infamous Silver Bear finds himself staying up late for feedings and changing diapers—all while leading the double life of a contract killer. The struggle is not with his conscience. He enjoys his gig. But a child forces him to weigh selfishness versus safety. Continue his line of work, and he’ll always wonder if he’s putting his child’s life at risk. His partner, Risina, serves as his fence. Like Columbus, she’s good at her job and likes doing it. An unusual take on working motherhood…

When the next assignment comes in, both Columbus and Risina are surprised to find that the mark is another assassin: a brash, young killer named Castillo. Castillo is an assassin on the rise. Even Columbus is impressed by his tenacity and talent—and as he closes in on his target, he realizes that Castillo is a younger version of himself. It’s almost like looking in a mirror. Castillo has even studied Columbus’s work.

But Columbus’s assignment is clear: kill the young man. However, Castillo learns that his hero and unwitting mentor has a family—a revelation with enormous ramifications.

Praise for A Different Lie

“An unflinching little gem of a story: violent, dark, and unrelentingly entertaining.” - Kirkus Review, (Starred Review)

“Haas’s absorbing fourth thriller featuring the contract killer known as Columbus (after 2011’s Dark Men) tests the proposition expressed in the book that 'lies are popular and truth is the uninvited guest who spoils the party.' The well-constructed conclusion packs a powerful punch.” - Publishers Weekly

“Columbus’ charm and dark humor offer a refreshing break from the sociopathic-assassin mold, and Haas’ gutwrenching tale moves at breakneck speed. Pairs nicely with Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series and Shane Kuhn’s The Intern’s Handbook.” - Booklist

The Right Hand

The new novel from Derek Haas

In stores now!

Meet Austin Clay, the CIA's best-kept secret.

There has always been a need in the spy game for operations outside the realm of legality-covert missions so black no one in the American government, and almost no one in intelligence itself, is aware of their existence. The left hand can't know what the right hand is doing.

Austin Clay is that right hand, executing missions that would be disavowed by his own government were he ever to be compromised. His team consists of only his trusted handler and himself. His missions are among the most important and dangerous in U.S. history.

Clay is sent to track down a missing American operative, a man who was captured outside of Moscow, in the Russian countryside. Soon he discovers the missing officer is only the beginning of the mission, and finds himself protecting a desperate woman who believes a mole has penetrated the top levels of the U.S. government, throwing the international balance of power into jeopardy.

With blistering pace, international intrigue, and a high-stakes plot that spans continents, THE RIGHT HAND introduces a new hero, from the novelist whose work the New York Times Book Review has proclaimed "devastatingly cool."

Praise for The Right Hand

“Haas has crafted a lean and mean tale laced with wit, mordant insight and, at perfectly judged moments, flashes of sharp prose. He paces his tale with crack action scenes that, however well they read on the page, may soon have film directors calling “Action!” These high-octane scenes, however, never detract from Haas’ canny plotting, which is capped by a final, unexpected twist and a poignant fade-out. It’s not the game, but how well you play it, and Haas plays it very well indeed.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Forceful, cinematic scenes show off the lean grace of Haas's prose. Cleverly placed plot twists and spycraft details help make this a standout. Readers will hope to see a lot more of Clay.” - Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

“Derek Haas knows how to capture your attention with his first sentence and keep you in his thrall until his final words. The Right Hand is impossible to read in small bites. You devour it like a shark, hungry for more until you've swallowed every gob of flesh, every drop of blood. Haas doesn't know how to write a boring page; The Right Hand, like a triple shot of espresso, will keep you up all night, eyes darting back and forth, wondering how it's all going to end.” - David Benioff, author of CITY OF THIEVES and THE 25TH HOUR

“Vivid and cinematic. A roller coaster of a novel.” - Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Adrenaline and The Last Minute

“Haas spins a riveting page-turner with just the kind of sharp dialogue one would expect from someone who writes for the movies. Readers will want to see more of Austin Clay.” - Booklist

“These are the type of thrillers I really enjoy - fast-paced with lots of believable action. He's already been nominated for one Barry Award. Other nominations are surely to follow.” - Deadly Pleasures Magazine

“A one session rocket of a thriller.” - Financial Times, Best Books of 2012

“Austin Clay is a refreshing addition to the world of literary spies—a compassionate, complex character who makes mistakes and yet still succeeds in his field. With any luck, The Right Hand is just the beginning of Austin Clay’s exploits. Thriller fans will eagerly await his return.” - Jen Forbus, Shelf Awareness

“The novel begins literally with a bang and never lets up. His writing manages to be both economical and evocative. Pure genius.” - The Dallas Morning News

“A lean, no-nonsense plot starts on a high arc as ‘The Right Hand’ swiftly progresses to its plausible, and quite poignant, finale.” - Florida Sun Sentinel

Dark Men

The Silver Bear - Columbus - Dark Men

Now available!

For the first time ever, all three Silver Bear books have been collected into one e-book: The Assassin Trilogy.

Praise for The Assassin Trilogy

“Devestatingly cool.” - The New York Times Book Review

Dark Men

A Silver Bear Thriller

In stores now!

Columbus has retired. Or so he thinks. He and his lover, Risina, a mysterious rare-book dealer, have fled to a tiny Italian coastal village where no one knows their names. And yet Columbus has trouble letting go.

His paranoia is justified when one day, he notices a suspicious man following him, and within days, he's back in Chicago trying to figure out why his old fence has been kidnapped and maybe even killed. The ransom note left behind demands Columbus by name.

The Silver Bear must now sever this last link with his dark past if he and Risina are to ever have hope at a new life. Yet Risinia seems to show a remarkable knack for the kill herself…and perhaps there won't be a chance for turning back.

First Chapter

Pegasus has made the first chapter of Dark Men available online. Read it now!

Click here to download the first chapter of Dark Men.

Praise for Dark Men

“The assassin who calls himself Columbus and plies his trade in a devastatingly cool series by Derek Haas is back. This preening narcissist is also a consummate craftsman, and it’s a pleasure to watch him go up against an adversary with a modus operandi even more diabolical than his own.” - The New York Times

“Haas's solid third Silver Bear thriller... poetic prose helps propel the plot... Haas keeps readers guessing throughout.” - Publisher's Weekly

“Haas brings his cold, canny professional hit man back in this cold, canny thriller. Intricate and fascinating. Heartless Columbus offers cold comfort on dark nights.” - Kirkus Reviews

“When push comes to shove, the bullets don’t just fly. They find their targets.” - New Jersey Star Ledger

“It’s the perfect choice for fans of pulp fiction. A pulpy gem. Haas’ kinetic prose moves this fast-paced story right along and makes it the escapist fun to while away a holiday afternoon.” - The Hollywood Reporter


A Silver Bear Thriller

He told you not to like him. To get close to Columbus, the Silver Bear, means death. Exactly whose death remains to be determined in this highly anticipated new thriller. Recouping in Europe after losing his fence and best friend during his mission to assassinate his father, Columbus now finds his reverie interrupted by multiple assassins searching for the elusive Silver Bear. As Columbus eliminates each killer, more and more appear — a hydra effect he can only eliminate by finding the origin of the hit, a source connected to his past. Racing across the globe, as both hunter and hunted, Columbus' travels take him to Italy, where he meets a mysterious woman named Risina. A woman with her own secret past, she may be Columbus' only hope of salvation.

Barry Award Nomination

COLUMBUS has been nominated for a 2010 Barry Award for Best Thriller. Derek will be attending "Bouchercon by the Bay" in October where the award will be announced.

Radio Interview

I did an interview on Sirius XM Book Radio with Radio Classics host Greg Bell: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Praise for Columbus

“A fine and riveting pick for mystery-thriller readers.” - Midwest Book Review

“Like Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter, Columbus is a thoroughly likable villain. He operates on the wrong side of the law, with his own moral code and his own unique sense of compassion. It’s impossible not to like the guy, even though he explicitly and repeatedly tells us not to, just as it’s impossible not to like the novel itself. Haas, a screenwriter (3:10 to Yuma), is a very good storyteller, and he nails the first-person, engagingly offhand narration.” - David Pitt, Booklist

“Haas’ Columbus, who narrates his own story, marks another step in the evolution of pop culture’s killers.” - Tom Maurstad, Dallas Morning News

“Columbus is absolutely one of the best reads I’ve had this year. …Haas is a guy whose work I’ll pick up any time he publishes. He’s that strong a writer, and Columbus is that strong a book.” - Drew McWeeny,

“Columbus is just the latest factor in Haas’ master plan: to craft characters with a wretchedness so refined, so incorrigible and so sincere that it’s kind of impossible not to fall for them.” - S.T. VanAirsdale, Las Vegas Weekly

“This is a straight-out thriller that moves at an arrow’s pace, with only spare attempts at fishing for the heart of the reader. Haas’ prose is blunt and forceful, crudely elegant in its own beautiful way. It seems that every time he’s about to wander into a lull in the action or a moment of sappy reflection, a bullet smashes into someone’s face. Grade: A.” - Pete Kotz, True Crime Report

The Silver Bear

The debut novel from Derek Haas.

He wants you to know him, maybe even admire him, but only for his excellence in his craft. Perhaps he was even born for it. “A natural killer,” his mentor — a middleman named Vespucci — said he was. He proved it with his first professional hit: a Fifth Circuit Court judge in Boston, executed with a sheet of Saran Wrap in the stairwell of her own courthouse. He's proved his merit often, usually with a Glock semiautomatic, but he's improvised too, with his bare hands, the heel of a shoe, knives, even a sewing machine. He is the consummate assassin, at the top of his form, immune to the psychological strains of his chosen profession. He is what the Russians call a Silver Bear.

He calls himself Columbus. Not that his real name meant much to him anyway. He never knew his father or his mother, a prostitute who became dangerously involved back in the seventies with an earnest young congressman named Abe Mann, then a rising star in the Democratic Party…

The magnetic Abe Mann has since become Speaker of the House. He is currently running for the Democratic nomination in an exhausting presidential campaign, weaving his way across the country. Columbus is not far behind. But as the Silver Bear closes in on perhaps his most important mark, the world he has always ruled begins to crumble around him…

Praise for the Silver Bear

“Tight, swift debut thriller... reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate. By telling the story from the assassin's point of view, Haas layers on novelistic texture. In chilling interior passages echoing The Day of the Jackal, the ‘bear’ explicates the cold-blooded methods that make him a top killer. All the while, Haas stokes sympathy for his anti-hero. Lean work, with every word counting and adding up to more than most authors land in twice the space.” - KIRKUS REVIEWS, STARRED REVIEW

“Sure to be the hit of the summer, The Silver Bear is the debut novel from 3:10 to Yuma co-screenwriter Derek Haas. This first-person narrative of a professional hit man examines the psychological intrigue of the chase and the cold calculations involved in hunting a human being, even if the prey is... your father.” - LA Confidential Magazine

“Haas (cowriter of the screenplay 3:10 to Yuma) introduces readers to a new killer-for-hire in his character Columbus, an orphan who never knew his parents. When Columbus is hired to bump off the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, the underworld that was his adoptive home turns against him, and he must use all his skills as a consummate assassin to survive the assignment. Well written, fast-paced, and engaging, this debut thriller seamlessly interweaves scenes from the past with the present to give a thrilling account of a professional killer at his peak, what the Russians call a ‘Silver Bear.’ The cross-country hunt is a fast read; fans of James Patterson and Jeffrey Deaver will enjoy. Recommended for public libraries.” - Library Journal

“Derek Haas has produced a short, sharp, electric shock of a book...” - Mike Ripley, Shots Ezine

“I found it a thrilling page-turner - a cross between the Jason Bourne movies and the classic assassin film Leon. Read it before it turns into a movie to.” - In Company magazine, Jenni Falconer

“A moody, gloomy but curiously gripping tale.” - Literary Review

“I can't give anything away about this brilliant, intense portrait of a professional hit man. Better that you know nothing before you read, except that Derek Haas's hero is called Columbus, a consummate assassin. Hired to murder an improbable victim, his intrinsic alienation sees him seemingly proceeding towards his own death, the assignment hastening the inevitable. The balance and rhythm of Haas's first novel are exemplary as Columbus struggles to stay ahead of the Big Clock to stop from being caught in its machinery. A Hollywood screenwriter, Haas knows about cinematic-style story construction, cliffhangers and urgent narrative pace. This is the kind of novel that leaves you uncomfortably uncertain of what you feel and whether it is proper to identify with Haas's protagonist.” - Graeme Blundell, The Australian

“A concept so high that it might give publishers and readers a nosebleed. ...beautifully crafted.” - Dick Adler, Barnes & Noble Reviews

For Signed Books

If you would like Derek Haas to sign a book, please call or email Chevalier Books in Los Angeles and they will arrange for an autograph and ship books out wherever you want.

Chevalier's Books

126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90004


Derek Haas

About the Author

DEREK HAAS is the author of THE SILVER BEAR, COLUMBUS, and DARK MEN. Derek also co-wrote the screenplays for 3:10 TO YUMA, WANTED, and THE DOUBLE. He is the creator and editor of Derek lives in Los Angeles.