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Home > Author > Earl Merkel
Earl Merkel

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  Earl Merkel

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Much new activity to report! Visit my website at to keep updated... and I hope, entertained.

Background Information

Earl Merkel is the author of The Law Of Unintended Consequences (an Amazon exclusive original e-book, 2015); Fallout (Diversion Books, 2015); Fire Of The Prophet (Diversion Books, 2013); Virgins And Martyrs (Five Star, under the name "E L Merkel"); Final Epidemic (Diversion Books - originally published by PenguinPutnam/NAL), a Barnes and Noble national bestseller; and Dirty Fire (Diversion Books - originally published by PenguinPutnam/NAL).

His newest novel —The Law Of Unintended Consequences, which introduces the new Faulk Carpenter Thriller Series— was published on May 27, 2015.

Fallout, a Diversion Books/NYC release and the third installment in the Beck Casey Thriller Series, was published on April 7, 2015.

Earl spent more than a decade as a journalist, columnist and commentator; today, while he is a full-time novelist, he continues to contribute to a variety of newspapers and magazines— usually after their editors have had time to extinguish the reader-reaction brushfires from his previous submissions. He is also a talk-radio host & producer, as well as an occasional guest of unwary shows on television, radio, and podcast.

During his career, Earl has dodged gunfire, teargas canisters, and verbal brickbats as a journalist (and on occasion as a private citizen, having somehow annoyed armed, gassy, or vocal strangers); spent years "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable," as an investigative reporter, newspaper columnist and satirist; and as a consultant has advised some of the largest corporations in the world on the merits of open and honest communications — not always with success.

As the "more" on the nationally broadcast talk-radio program Money & More, where he served for nine years through 2012 as co-host and executive producer, Earl left the money-talk to the experts. He admits that he's far more comfortable in other areas —talking with authors like Lawrence Block, Ken Burns, Robin Cook and Neil Gaiman about their books; arguing current events and politics with such guests as Steve Forbes, Jack Welch, Dick Morris, Oliver North and Newt Gingrich; and even cracking-wise with the likes of Mark Steyn, Neal Cavuto and Michael Medved— than he is dealing with financial matters.

"In my own finances, I'm anything but a good example," he laughs. "But I'm a great bad example."

These days, Earl is being a great bad example as the host of "The Book, With Earl Merkel" —a weekly talk-radio program where he strives mightily to make other writers do the heavy lifting via submitted "audio essays"... read by the authors themselves, with minimal intrusion by Earl's oft-inane commentary.

Earl is also the author of The Infamous Chicken Little Article, which is rumored to have gotten him temporarily banned from the op-ed page of a major American newspaper —but which subsequently has become an underground classic on the Internet among journalists, and which is regularly cited in journalism-school classes when a dose of cold (but —at least arguably— hilarious) reality is required. (VIEW on website

For an impressive number of years, Earl would do a minor re-write of another of his "classic" op-ed columns— and sell the flippin' thing, over and over, as a freelance "memoir" aimed at the high school graduation class of that particular year.

Considered a subtle warning of "now-you're-REALLY-screwed,-kids," his Graduation Night column has scarred countless numbers of teenagers, sending them into therapy on the very night they had thought they now had "it" made. (VIEW on website

As a ghostwriter, Earl has had books published by such major houses as Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins— without, he hopes, these houses ever knowing it.

Miscellany & Fun Facts:

• Surprisingly, Earl "earned" a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), granted despite having only rarely been seen in a classroom after his sophomore year. Instead, Earl mailed tear-sheets of articles to sympathetic j-professors from such locales as Washington D.C. (covering the first Earth Day and the mammoth Moratorium Day protests— the latter while lusting after a Klute-ish looking Jane Fonda); a day-after-the-day Kent State, Ohio dateline; and numerous other wanderings as a reporter and columnist for the DAILY ILLINI.

• He was also granted the first (and, it is believed, the only) "student leave of absence" for a several-year hiatus spent earning desperately needed money as a reporter for the Decatur, IL Herald & Review. This "officially sanctioned" leave was a canny conspiracy: a technicality that allowed him to keep an Illinois State Scholarship and subsequently return, willy-nilly, to complete his college experience (also without attending classes, as he was then working full-time for the Champaign-Urbana Courier).

Wisely, at the same College of Journalism board meeting where the "leave" was approved, the board immediately voted to prohibit all future "student leaves of absence." Experienced journalists themselves, those gentlemen knew a cool scam when they saw one.

Based on his own academic experiences, Earl is a fervent believer that everybody should go to college ...for as long as humanly possible; he is frequently heard to mumble that academia is "a GREAT break from real life..."

• Earl wrote one of his novels —Virgins And Martyrs— under the by-line of "E.L. Merkel" ...partly because of the objections of another of his publishers, which had grave reservations to "By Earl Merkel" showing up on another publisher's release-list.

But mostly because Earl had always wanted to be called "el Merkel" by his Spanish-speaking readers.

• Earl frequently devotes long hours to researching quotes of the famous, often to subsequently admit defeat and make up a "quote" instead. His favorite quote —possibly a "quote"— is:

Priest, to Voltaire as the French writer-philosopher lay upon his deathbed: "Ah, Voltaire— will you now, at last, renounce the Devil?"

Voltaire: "This is no time to be making new enemies."


Earl resides in, though sometimes only "near," Chicago. It's a big city, but you still may occasionally stumble over him (and we mean that literally).

As a (frequently) threatened species, confirmed sightings of Earl are believed rare— and as a result, observers find them always exciting.

In his urban habitat, Earl is most active between the hours of sunset and dawn, when you can oft hear his distinctive, plaintive cry.

To hear it —if you promise to return to this page afterward, since there's no "return" link there— here's a definitely not-suitable-for-family-viewing video link of the (sadly, misspelled) "Merkle Bird." (Children and sensitive souls, beware.)

To Meet Earl:

To arrange a personal meeting with this author, please follow these directions:

• Wherever there is injustice, you will find him.*

• Wherever there is suffering, he'll be there.*

• Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find him.*

Or just head into the Loop. Stand at the intersection of State Street and Madison, and do a slow, 360-degree turn. He's around there, somewhere.

(FOOTNOTE: * One begins to wonder just who is causing all this injustice, suffering, and liberty-threatening, no? Personally, Earl is beginning to detect a pattern here...)

To Meet Earl On-Line:

Earl posts "stuff" —both new & "classic works"— semi-regularly on this website (click here to jump to 'By Earl Merkel'), as well as on his blog-site at WordPress. com (, and on his Facebook page (

You could just click on those links, dammit... or maybe cut-and-paste those URLs into your browser. Or...

There is also a link to both those sites —and a "click here" if you want to e-mail Earl— elsewhere on my website. (VIEW on website

• • •
NEW: Follow Earl on Twitter at @EarlMerkel
• • •


"There's a new, unique voice in mystery-suspense... Earl Merkel's DIRTY FIRE is so authentically Chicago I can taste the deep-dish pizza in every line... a marvelous story, well-told..."
--Midwest Focus Magazine

Additional Information

NEWS FLASH: My new mystery-thriller THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES (the first in my new Faulk Carpenter thriller series) was published on May 27, 2015 as an Amazon e-book original. ...and I've promised the second Faulk Carpenter book (working-title'd "The Wrong Kind Of Girl") by fall of this year. Whew: it's been a busy spring. My new thriller FALLOUT (the third installment in the Beck Casey series) was released April 7. Suddenly, I'm promoting two new books to the summer beach-reading public. Oops... I mean "promoting THREE new books. The folks at Amazon write to say that they have re-published my VIRGINS AND MARTYRS (a "starred"/ "highly recommended" Library Journal selection when it was originally published a couple of years ago, featuring several of the characters who return in The Law Of Unintended Consequences. It was released in mid-June, 2015.) So let me encourage you to hie yourself with all haste to pick up a copy of THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES while Amazon still has it priced at the special introductory $2.99. I think you'll like meeting Faulk Carpenter. And while you're at it, pick up a copy of FALLOUT too. One can never have enough reading material on that beach, right?

Favorite Links

Earl Merkel
Earl Merkel talks about his books, published articles and commentary he has written, and the talk-radio interviews he does with writers (such as Lawrence Block, Neil Gaiman and Alice Walker), available on the site as streaming audio.

Earl Merkel's Amazon Author page!
New book releases, new videos & video book trailers, links to blogs & op-ed kols!

By Earl Merkel: op-ed columns, blogs & Random Musings…el
Recent musings & published op-ed columns.

Merkel, Naked & Exposed!
The Absolute Write mag interview, by Jenna Glatzer

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