perched on the front seat,

partially covered with silt

but completely recognizable,

was a human skull

and rib cage.”


When the battered remains of a priest are discovered at the bottom of a lake, Dayton homicide detective John Burke is mystified. Who would murder a priest? Why were the initial inquiries abandoned so long ago when the man went missing?  Burke’s search for a suspect leads him down a dark rabbit hole of intrigue, and into his own mysterious past, as he investigates the case.

Satan’s Choir

Release: Available now!

Publisher: Cayuga Lake Books

Cover Art: © Gregory M. Dearth 2021

A sizzling plot with crackling dialogue. Campbell’s voice is gospel in this edge-of-your-pew thriller.

– Joe Ricker, author of Some Awful Cunning and Walkin’ After Midnight

Tom Harley Campbell has fashioned an absorbing and provocative police procedural featuring a Dayton homicide detective on the brink of retirement whose last case presents a dark, decades old—and very personal—mystery.

– Andrew Welsh-Huggins, author of the Andy Hayes Mystery Series

A chance discovery leads a police captain down a path fraught with hideous crimes and memories no one wants unearthed. This is an insightful, thought-provoking and, ultimately, uplifting novel.

– Steve Goble, author of the Spider John historical novels and the Ed Runyon detective series

Satan’s Choir is a riveting account of the complicated and often uncomfortable effort to uncover abuse within the Catholic Church.  Vivid writing and lively story-telling move this engaging novel along toward its surprising but wholly believable climax.

– Allan Winkler, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Miami University

Satan’s Choir is a finely crafted page-turner teeming with significance as its stirring narrative brings alive the moral complexities of unearthing long-buried secrets, especially those of the Catholic Church.  With an ear for dialogue and an eye for well-designed suspense, Tom Harley Campbell has given us a novel with a smartly woven tapestry of recognizable yet surprising events and truly memorable characters. 

– Ann Hagedorn, author of Wild Ride, Ransom, Beyond the River, Savage Peace, The Invisible Soldiers, and Sleeper Agent.

Tom Harley Campbell’s Satan’s Choir is a roundhouse right of a first novel, a gripping, compelling tale of horrific crimes the Catholic church has long kept buried. Set in Campbell’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio, this page-turning police procedural is crisply plotted and richly filled with real-world dialog and believable characters.

Satan’s Choir introduces John Burke—a good man but a badly damaged man—looking forward to retirement from the Dayton Police Department, but persuaded to stay on for one last case. When the skeletal remains found in a car at the bottom of a local lake turn out to be those of a pedophile priest who mysteriously disappeared decades earlier, Burke is thrust into a case that forces him to confront the rigid bureaucracy of the Catholic church, long-repressed memories and ultimately, a chance at personal redemption.

– Jon Hartley Fox, author of King of the Queen City and the upcoming Tiny Moore Music


Some of Tom Harley’s songs

Man In The Middle, the first song I ever wrote. It’s been recorded many times by many artists, including Ralph Stanley, and most recently by Chris Thiele, the guy who took over as M.C. from Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion. This, however, is my favorite recorded version of the song, by Valerie Smith.

Satan’s Choir, done here by The Seldom Scene.

My Name Is Judas, done here by Claire Lynch.

Small Up And Simple Down, done here by Neal McCoy. This one earned a Platinum Record. Co-written with David Kent.

How Come I Ain’t Dead, done here by Tim O’Brien. Co- written with Tim O’Brien and Shawn Camp.

High, Low, and In Between, done here by Mark Wills. Co-written with David Kent.

You The Man, done here by Marilyn Martin. Co-written with David Kent.

Some of Tom Harley’s recorded music

The Hotmud Family

Fiddlin' Van Kidwell with the Hot Mud Family

Michael, McCreesh & Campbell - The Host of the Air

Toivo: Lauging Shoe


Read more about the Hotmud Family here

Industrial Strength Bluegrass: High lonesome in the heartland

About Me

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Tom Harley Campbell, like many writers, has supported himself with different jobs along the way - as a carpenter, machinist, journalist, and for many years, as a musician and a Nashville songwriter. A lifelong reader, he has been influenced in his own writing by Henning Mankel and Jo Nesbø. For 40 years, he has made Trumansburg, New York, his home.

Tom Harley Campbell

– Photo by Jason Koski