Colorado native Nick Pirog is the bestselling author of the Thomas Prescott series, the 3:00am series, and The Speed of Souls. He began writing thrillers at the age of only 12 years old, and went on to publish the first Thomas Prescott book, Unforeseen, when he was just 22. He is known for his sense of humor and compelling, intricate characters.
On February 28th, Pirog will be releasing the highly-anticipated prequel to his Thomas Prescott series, The Numbers. In this book, readers will discover Thomas’ journey from a recently-fired member of Seattle PD to a highly-skilled homicide detective.
The events in the novel take place three years before Unforeseen, making The Numbers the perfect place to start for series newcomers, while also offering fascinating new information for those already familiar with Detective Prescott.
We are lucky to have the chance to interview Nick Pirog before The Numbers debuts.
To get our audience up to speed, tell us a bit about you and your writing and reading interests!
Well, let's start with the basics: I'm a 42-year-old writer living in the beautiful town of South Lake Tahoe, California with my other half, Stephy. As I write this, I'm cozied up in bed with our adorable 14-year-old cavapoo, Potter, who is snoozing between my legs.
I like to call myself a Colo-fornian because I spent most of my life in and around Denver, before heading to San Diego to be a surf bum when I was 31. But for the past six years, I've been loving life here in South Lake Tahoe—even if the winter weather can get pretty wild. Right now, the streets are lined with ten-foot snow berms and we're expecting another two feet of snow in the coming week!
But I'm guessing you're not here for the weather report, are you? Let's talk about something even more exciting: books!
So, I've mainly written mystery/thriller novels throughout my career (which I started when I was 22, fresh out of college) but I'm actually into all kinds of writing. I've written a sci-fi novel, a literary fiction novel, and even a fantasy middle-grade novel. Going forward, I have projects lined up for everything from screenplays to nonfiction. I just really love telling stories, no matter what genre they happen to fall into. And that goes for my reading tastes as well.
I'm a huge fan of character-driven sci-fi books like Red Rising, the Brilliance Trilogy, The Hunger Games, and Hail Mary. But I'm also down for some action and adventure, and of course, a good ol' fashioned whodunit. I do most of my reading on my Kindle, and it's not unusual for me to have five or six books going at once. Hey, variety is the spice of life, right?
Now, let’s back up a bit. I need to know: why (and in what ways) did Matilda spark your interest in writing?
Back when I was in elementary school, I was totally obsessed with Roald Dahl. I went through a phase where I devoured all of his books. But out of all of them, I just kept coming back to Matilda. Something about her underdog story and revenge plotline spoke to me on a deep level. (Or as deep of a level an eight-year-old has!) Plus, it was probably one of the first books I read that made me start to understand how stories are put together and how characters develop over time. I fell in love with the craft of writing and didn’t even know it.
But at the end of the day, Matilda was just plain fun! It was such a great story that kept me hooked from beginning to end. And you know what's even more fun than reading a great story? Coming up with one yourself!
Humor seems to be a really important aspect of your writing style. Can you share a bit more about that?
I'm just a silly goose by nature, and that definitely carries over into my writing. And I really believe that it's one of the key factors behind my success as an author. When readers pick up one of my books, they often see the humor as a bonus. I feel the same way when I'm reading a book and it makes me laugh out loud. It's like discovering a twenty-dollar bill in an old ski coat—such an unexpected and delightful surprise.
What I really love is when I hear from a reader, or see a review, saying that my book had them in stitches (I get hot cocoa belly!) Knowing that I'm able to bring a little bit of laughter and joy into someone's life through my writing is one of the most rewarding things I can imagine. It's what keeps me writing day after day.
I really want to talk about your new book, but before we get to that, please tell us more about Thomas Prescott.
Let me introduce you to Thomas Prescott!
Thomas Prescott is a former homicide detective who just can't seem to stay away from criminal investigations. It's like he's drawn to them by some mysterious force, whether it's fate or just his own stubbornness. He's probably best known for his irreverent sense of humor, which can really rub people the wrong way.
One reviewer called him "a cross between Sherlock Holmes and a frat boy," which is pretty spot on. Thomas is seriously clever and sees things that other people miss. But he's also a total troublemaker. It's like he's always looking for a way to cause chaos and make things interesting—even when he's supposed to be solving a crime.
He's been known to push himself to the brink of disaster with his antics, and has even ended up in the hospital a few times because of it. Despite his flaws, you can't deny that Thomas has a big heart—he adores his little sister!—and a super sharp mind. He might be a bit of a goofball but he'll do whatever it takes to crack a case and get justice for the victims.
The Numbers is the prequel of the Thomas Prescott series. Why was it important to you to tell this part of the story?
In all honesty, I had no intention of writing a prequel to the series. It wasn't until I stumbled on an episode of the podcast Criminal that I learned about "The Numbers," an old illegal street lottery that I just knew had to be the center of Prescott's next investigation. But I also wanted to weave in a secondary investigation, which is what ultimately led me to write the prequel.
The second investigation revolves around the murder of a young woman who is strangled in her tent outside of an Occupy Wall Street protest in Philadelphia. Given that a significant number of protestors were college students, I thought it would be a cool idea to have Lacy—Thomas' little sister who was a swimmer at Drexel University—involved somehow. And from there, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to tell Thomas' origin story.
So while I never set out to write a prequel, the story just sort of unfolded that way as I followed the twists and turns of the investigation. And I have to say, it turned out pretty amazing!
Now: what is it about thrillers and suspense that keeps you coming back to them?
For me, it's all about the twists—I absolutely love coming up with them! There's something about the challenge of creating a really great twist, especially a BIG one, that's just so much fun (even if it can also be super frustrating at times). But when everything finally comes together perfectly, it's like solving a huge, 100,000-piece puzzle—incredibly rewarding and satisfying.
And finally, is there anything else you’d like readers to know that I haven’t touched on here?
I can't even express how incredibly lucky I feel to be living out my dream. So, to all of the readers out there—both those who have been with me from the beginning and those who are just discovering my work—I want to say a heartfelt thank you. Stephy, Potter, and I are just so grateful for each and every one of you who have turned the pages of my books. Without you, none of this would be possible.