Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn is the author of several books, among them the acclaimed novel Banished Children of Eve. He previously served as a speechwriter for two New York governors. After years as the corporate editorial director for Time Warner, he is now a full time writer.

"HOUR OF THE CAT is the hour of Peter Quinn's genius. It's been said a million times but I'll say it again: 'I couldn't put it down.'" —Frank McCourt


Peter Quinn's newest book, THE MAN WHO NEVER RETURNED, is now available.


Peter Quinn official website


Banished Children of Eve

The Civil War has just entered its third bloody year and the North is about to impose its first military draft, a decision that in New York City will spark the most devastating and destructive riot in American history. Peter Quinn, acclaimed author of Looking for Jimmy and Hour of the Cat, relates the events of this tumultuous time through the lives of people drawn from every part of the city's teeming streets: an opportunistic but likable Irish-American hustler, a scheming Yankee stockbroker, an immigrant serving girl, a beautiful mulatto actress, her white minstrel lover, and a cluster of historical figures from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to Stephen Foster. The fates of these characters coalesce in the cataclysm of the Draft Riots, as Quinn magically brings to life a pivotal period in this country's history. In Banished Children of Eve, Quinn presents a lavishly praised novel of a great American city in crisis. 

"Vividly imagined...Nothing short of splendid." - The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Quinn's book...draws us into the minds and hearts and histories of as rich and varied an array of it will be your good fortune to encounter in any book." - The Irish Literary Supplement

(Overlook Press, June 2008)

Hour of The Cat

A simple New York City homicide, indistinguishable from hundreds of others in 1938: a spinster nurse is killed in her apartment; a suspect is caught and convicted. Fintan Dunne, the P.I. lured into the case and coerced by conscience into unraveling the complex setup that has put an innocent man on death row, will soon find this to be a murder with tentacles that stretch far beyond the crime scene--to Nazi Germany, in fact. Following it to the end leads him into a murder conspiracy of a scope that defies imagination.

Grim clouds are rolling over Berlin; plans for a coup are forming among a cadre of Wehrmacht officers in Berlin. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of Military Intelligence, is gripped by paralysis over the choice he must make: join the plotters in treason and violate every value he holds as an officer, or betray them to the Gestapo and forsake the country's last hope to avert utter destruction and centuries of shame. With no limits to Hitler's manic pursuit of territorial expansion, with crimes against his people lauded as a program of racial cleansing at the vanguard of the "scientific" eugenics movement launched in America and Britain, the "hour of the cat" looms when every German must make a choice. When Canaris receives an order to assist in a sinister covert operation on foreign shores, his hour has come.

Writing with masterful command of fact and fiction, Peter Quinn transports readers to a pre-war New York and Berlin brimming with atmosphere and consequence. With rights sold in five countries before publication, Hour of the Cat is a stunning achievement: tautly suspenseful, hauntingly memorable, and brilliantly authentic.

(Overlook Press, August 2006)

Looking For Jimmy

“Paddy”—the caricature of the heavy-drinking, hard-brawling Irishman born in Vaudeville acts and nativist cartoons—remains, unfortunately, a vivid feature of the American national imagination. But as this stereotype fades into the past, what image does America have of the millions of Irish-Catholic immigrants who have played such a central role in our history?

In this remarkable collection of writings chronicling the author’s exploration of his own past—and the lives of the hundreds of thousands of nameless immigrants that struggled alongside his own ancestors—Peter Quinn paints a brilliant new portrait of the Irish-American men and women whose culture and values now play such a central role in all of our identities as Americans. In Quinn’s hands, “Paddy” gives way to an image of “Jimmy”—an archetypal Irish-American (a composite of Jimmy Cagney and Jimmy Walker) who comes to life as the fast-talking, tough, yet refined urban American who redefined American politics, street culture, religion, and moral imagination. Addressing subjects ranging from the impact of decades of immigration on Western Ireland to the long legacy of Irish-American Archbishop John Hughes, Quinn’s vibrant prose weaves together the story of a people that has made an immeasurable contribution to American history and culture.

(Overlook Press, February 2008)

The Man Who Never Returned

"Peter Quinn just might make it into the history books himself. He is perfecting, if not actually creating, a genre you could call the history-mystery. The Man Who Never Returned is a dazzling story by a fine writer. Fintan Dunne is a memorably hero who you want to meet again & again.” -- James Patterson

Judge Joe Crater’s disappearance in 1930 spawned countless conspiracy theories and captured the imagination of a nation caught in the grip of The Depression.

Fifteen years later, Fintan Dunne, the detective encountered in Quinn’s novel Hour of the Cat, recently retired and bored, answers a summons to New York where he is asked to solve the old case for a newspaper magnate only interested in making a profit from the story.

Peter Quinn once again has written a compelling blend of history and fiction that is simply unputdownable.

(Overlook Press, August 2010)