Photo by Amy Melsa
"This is my eighth book and the first time I have created a storyline around a father and daughter. I think I’ve been resistant up to this point to write this type of thriller because it felt too scary real to me. I write from a deeply emotional place."
I’m blessed to have three daughters: two teenagers and one preteen. Although they are the light of my life, I admittedly wanted to have boys when my wife and I first got married. I grew up playing sports and was obsessed with football. I started at quarterback for my high school football team and even pursued this passion through college at the University of Texas. So when it came to having a family, I always envisioned myself tossing the football around with my son for countless hours in the backyard and teaching him how to play the game. To me, that would be the very best of fatherhood.
But I got something different, and better. I knew from the beginning there was something emotionally powerful between a father and a daughter. A unique connection that can’t be explained in simple words. From the start, I have felt a fierce protective instinct inside me when it comes to my daughters. I will absolutely do anything to keep them safe.
All He Has Left is about Jake Slater, a recently widowed father who suddenly finds his only teenage daughter kidnapped and her cousin murdered. To make matters worse, Jake is the primary suspect. And the only way to clear his name and find Piper is to do it on the run. Crucified by the media, pursued by the FBI, and hunted by an assassin, Jake can feel his desperation escalating with every tick of the clock. The closer he gets to the truth, the more he risks uncovering family betrayals so sinister they’re worth killing for.
This is my eighth book and the first time I have created a storyline around a father and daughter. I think I’ve been resistant up to this point to write this type of thriller because it felt too scary real to me. I write from a deeply emotional place. In each book, I try to connect with my protagonist in every possible way. But this one felt too close to home. I wasn’t sure I could personally handle the intense emotions with this story when all I could envision was myself and my own daughters with each word I put down on the page. It was not easy to write.
But in the end, I think that’s what gives this book its heartbeat. In so many ways, Jake is me and Piper is one of my daughters. So the emotional center of this book is the most genuine of all my thrillers. I believe it brings the story to life, and I hope you will find out for yourself.
All He Has Left, by Chad Zunker (Thomas & Mercer, April 2023)
Chad Zunker studied journalism at the University of Texas, where he was also on the football team. He’s worked for some of the most powerful law firms in the country and invented baby products that are now sold all over the world. He has wanted to write full time since he took his first practice hit as a skinny freshman walk-on from a 6’5, 240 pound senior All-American safety—which crushed both him and his feeble NFL dreams. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters, where he is hard at work on his next novel.