| Ant Farm   | Bad Policy   | Cabin Fever   | Doubtful Relations   | Empty Promises   | False Bottom   | Furthermore   | Granite Oath   | Hijacked Legacy   | Low Tide at Tybee   | One Trick at a Time |

Discussion Guides for Book Clubs

I have enjoyed book clubs, both as a member and as an author. I'd love to join you in a discussion of one of my books. If I am within a hour or two drive of your group, I can join you for the conversation; if I'm too far away, I could join by Skype or Facetime or Zoom.

The information below contains spoilers. Discussion guides assume you have read the books, and therefore can include spoilers. You've been warned.

Below you can read Discussion Guides for Ant Farm, Bad Policy, Cabin Fever, Doubtful Relations, Empty Promises, False Bottom, Granite Oath, and Hijacked Legacy.

If you prefer PDF, here are the ones for Ant Farm, Bad Policy, Cabin Fever, Doubtful Relations, Empty Promises, False Bottom, Granite Oath, and Hijacked Legacy.

Book Club Discussion Guide for Ant Farm

If you had a mystery that needed clearing up, would you call on Seamus?

Did you find helpful Seamus's analogy comparing what he does to looking at an ant farm?

What would you think if your college-aged daughter came home and introduced Paddy as her new boyfriend?

The Collier sisters initially got in trouble because of massive medical expenses. Be honest with yourself: if the only way you could keep a loved one alive was through stealing, would you?

How are Seamus and the Happy Reaper the same? How do they differ?

What do you predict will happen if Seamus and the Happy Reaper meet again?

The author does not define exactly how deeply James Nadler was involved in the various crimes. Do you think he was a full partner with Solonini, didn’t realize the scope of the crimes, but was okay with them when he knew, or unaware and sucked in by Solonini?

If you could invite three of the characters out to dinner which ones would you choose and why? (Ghosts and temporary get-out-of-jail-free cards would be available, if needed.)

What did you think of everyone's choice of costume for the Halloween party? Would you have picked something different for any of the characters?

What's your prediction for Abigail's relationship with Seamus?

Book Club Discussion Guide for Bad Policy

Are there situations or characters you can identify with? If so, how?

How did the characters evolve throughout the story? What triggered the changes? How do you think you would have reacted to those triggers?

If you could spend a day with any one character, whom would you choose and why?

In what ways did Bad Policy reveal the author's worldview?

What theme(s) did the author emphasize?

Do you think the relationship between Seamus and his son is healthy? Why or why not?

Many of the crimes in Bad Policy are financial in nature. Have you reconsidered your family's financial security based on the shenanigans described in the book?

Did any part of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?

Many of the characters broke the law for what they perceived to be the greater good? Is it always justified? Never justified? Or sometimes justified? And if justified, which of the law breaches do you think were justified and why?

If you could change one thing about the book, what would it be?

Book Club Discussion Guide for Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever opens during a mid-winter blizzard and ends in mud season. How effective is weather as a metaphor for Seamus McCree's emotional state?

What do you think of the ethical decisions made by Seamus, Niki, Sgt. Bartelle and Boss? When do ends justify means?

What responsibility should Seamus bear for delaying his retreat from the woods? Is his reaction appropriate?

Other than Seamus, who is your favorite character and why?

Is Seamus a lone wolf? Why or why not?

The author keeps a lot of the actual violence off the page, but a large number of people die in this story. To what extent do you think murder mysteries, thrillers and similar books cheapen the value of life?

Boss justifies actions based on a selected understanding of U.S. history. To what extent should words of the "Founding Fathers" affect decisions made today?

In what ways did Cabin Fever reveal the author's worldview?

What theme(s) did the author emphasize?

What is your prediction for Abigail's relationship with Seamus?

Book Club Discussion Guide for Doubtful Relations

The author implies that we can't really know people, even our closest relatives, because we all keep secrets. To what extent do you agree?

Families with dark secrets walk a fine line between protecting the family and protecting society. What decisions made by characters in Doubtful Relations do you think were on the wrong side of that judgement line and why?

The author portrays a U.S. society in which no electronic communication is secure from prying eyes. Do you agree? Has fear of hacking changed your use of electronic communication?

Paddy shares main-character duties with Seamus in Doubtful Relations. Does this work when the book claims to be a "Seamus McCree novel"?

Mysteries are usually "whodunits" with a body or major crime occurring early in the book. This story is more a "who-done-what," with it initially unclear if any crime has been committed. Does that matter? What subspecies of crime novel would you use to best describe Doubtful Relations to someone who has not read the book?

The author makes substantial use of real locations. Does that enhance or detract from your reading enjoyment? Why?

Several characters in Doubtful Relations change significantly by the end of the story. Were any of these changes surprising? If so, why?

In what ways did Doubtful Relations reveal the author's worldview?

What theme(s) did the author emphasize?

What is your prediction for Seamus's relationship with Abigail?

Book Club Discussion Guide for Empty Promises

Do you agree with Abigail’s assessment that it was irresponsible of Seamus to leave his charge alone at his camp in the woods, or does the blame reside with Jason/Elliott, who deliberately broke the rules Seamus had stipulated?

Seamus likes to use logic to solve problems and assign responsibility. Do you agree with his assessment that he is to blame for at least one death in the novel? Why or why not?

Many mystery/suspense/thrillers begin with the world out of balance, and by the end balance is (mostly) restored. Justice has not been served in Empty Promises. Why do you think the author chose to go against the norm?

Empty Promises introduces readers to the next generation of McCrees. Is Megan just a cute little girl, or does she have a larger purpose in this story?

How do the Happy Reaper and Seamus represent each other’s shadow side?

Seamus is an observer of nature and a birdwatcher. What role do birds play in Empty Promises?

Which character would you like to invite out for lunch and why? And if you choose Owen Lyndstrom, where is he?

In what ways do you think Empty Promises reveals the author’s worldview?

What theme(s) did the author emphasize?

The Happy Reaper and Seamus have crossed paths twice (the first time in Ant Farm). What do you predict will happen in False Bottom (Seamus McCree #6) when they meet for the third time?

Book Club Discussion Guide for False Bottom

One of Uncle Mike’s friends blames their illegal actions on politicians. Is this shifting the blame, or have politicians not done what is necessary to provide for the families of fallen police officers?

Patrick and his grandmother, Trudy, have different perspectives on whether information should be freely available. Is theirs a generational difference or do their life histories cause their different views?

In what ways are the various members of the McCree clan alike and how are they different? What role does genetics play? Upbringing? Other experiences?

In previous novels in the series, Seamus controlled (over-controlled?) his emotions. In False Bottom he has difficulty corralling his tears. Is this a breakthrough for Seamus, getting in touch with his emotions, or just a temporary reaction to the many deaths he’s experienced?

What does it say about Seamus that he dropped everything to visit Lt. Tanya Hastings while she was in home hospice?

Which character would you like to invite out for lunch and why? And if you choose the Happy Reaper, how soon do you think before he escapes?

In what ways do you think False Bottom reveals the author’s perspective on families? On truth? On justice?

What theme(s) did the author emphasize?

The ending makes it clear that the Happy Reaper plans to make good on his threats against Seamus and his family. What caused Seamus to turn in the Happy Reaper? Was that the right thing to do?

Book Club Discussion Guide for Granite Oath

In Lizzie’s frustration with Seamus, she blurts out that “You damn McCrees turn a pinkie swear into a granite oath that nothing less than a glacier can crush.” Is her assessment correct? Does it apply to all the McCrees in this story (Seamus, his mother, and Megan)? Does it apply in all situations?

The author tells the story entirely from Seamus’s point of view. Was that effective? What limitations did that place on the author’s telling of the tale? How does that affect how readers perceive the moral issues raised by the actions of Seamus and his family?

After Seamus discovers Kat’s trailer ruined, he offers Valeria and Nana shelter. But when Nana insists that Seamus not contact the police, he goes along with the request, even though he was technically deputized by the Sheriff’s office. Did Seamus make a good decision? Why or why not?

Seamus has no patience with the politicians and their inability to address issues surrounding the Dreamers and illegal immigration. Does government’s inability to legislatively resolve these issues justify Seamus choosing to put Valeria’s and Nana’s safety above following the law?

Seamus implies that society turns a blind eye toward exploitation of women. What events in the story support or contradict his perception?

Was Seamus right to let Aaron Rogers, a probable killer, escape? What should he have done differently?

Was Mike Crenshaw a victim of his wife and son’s misdeeds, or did he slip under law enforcement’s radar? Is his “punishment” of losing his wife and knowing his son will serve prison time sufficient to balance the scales of justice?

In the story we see the interactions between members of four families: the McCrees, Serranos, Crenshaws, and Corpis. What do those fictional relations suggest about how the author views families?

The story ends with prosecution still hanging over Seamus’s and Colleen’s heads. If you were sitting on their jury, would you vote to convict them of obstructing justice? Why or why not?

Book Club Discussion Guide for Hijacked Legacy

The Happy Reaper and Seamus McCree have crossed paths many times in the series. In this story, the Happy Reaper asserts they are more alike than dissimilar. Is the Happy Reaper right that he is Seamus’s shadow archetype, holding a mirror to illuminate Seamus’s dark side?

The author tells the story using multiple points of view, including Seamus, the Happy Reaper, each of the three Impostors, and Niki. In what ways was that effective? Would you have preferred to eliminate one or more points of view? If so, which and why?

Seamus hates everything the Happy Reaper represents. And yet, Seamus feels a bit sorry for the Happy Reaper after his death. What does that say about Seamus? About the Happy Reaper?

Family relationships are an ongoing theme in the Seamus McCree series. Much of the action involves McCree’s birth family, but Colleen and Niki directly address the question of what being part of a family means. Jackson’s dedicated this novel, For my chosen and given tribes, united by chaos and love. Given his dedication and storytelling, how do you think the author views family?

Niki played a crucial role in the story. She obtained ADNI Park’s assistance; she kept the Happy Reaper free from re-incarceration; she helped hide the bodies; and she captured the third Impostor. Yet, her actions did not stop Owen from shooting Seamus, did not stop the killings on Shank Lake, and did not prevent Seamus from being shot. Were her decisions wrong, or did she experience bad luck and timing? How do you think these events will affect her?

Seamus might say this story was about good guys against bad guys. But each of the good guys bent or broke the law. At what point do those actions change one from “good guy” to “bad guy?”

Everyone, other than the Iron County prosecutor, thinks it’s a waste of time to bring Seamus and Colleen to trial. No one disputes they are guilty of crimes; rather, they insist a trial is a waste of time and money since no jury will convict the two. Some paint the prosecutor’s actions as political. If asked, the prosecutor would say he was doing his job. Do you think the prosecutor should drop the charges?

The fathers of both Seamus and his half-sister, Colleen Carpetti, were police officers in Massachusetts. Yet they disagree about the death penalty. Colleen insists society is better off when the death penalty applies to some crimes. Seamus has stated that the court system is flawed, and it is unethical for the government to use a death penalty. What do you guess caused them to develop such different views?

Assuming Jackson doesn’t pen paranormal novels in the future, do you think this is the end of the Seamus McCree series, or does Seamus survive?

If Seamus lives, how do you think the experiences in this story will change him? Why?

| Ant Farm   | Bad Policy   | Cabin Fever   | Doubtful Relations   | Empty Promises   | False Bottom   | Furthermore   | Granite Oath   | Hijacked Legacy   | Low Tide at Tybee   | One Trick at a Time |

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Last Updated 5/17/2024
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