The Stowaway

A Novel

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From writer, producer, and actor best known as “Murr” on the hit television shows Impractical Jokers and The Misery Index, James S. Murray, and co-writer Darren Wearmouth, comes The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard.

Two years ago, Maria Fontana, the head of the Psychology Department at Columbia University, sat on a jury for one of the most depraved cases ever to pass through the hallowed halls of City Hall. Wyatt Butler, an antique watch restorer and alleged serial killer, was portrayed in the courtroom as a brutal monster. But Maria had to make the tough choice. In good conscience, she couldn’t convict him based purely on circumstantial evidence, and her deciding vote set Wyatt Butler free. The media soon outed her as the lone juror and her successful and quaint life was turned upside down. The victims of Wyatt’s ritualistic killings never forgave her either.

Now, she and her family have decided to take a vacation to get away from everything: a two-week-long transatlantic cruise. Nothing, and nobody should be able to bother her there. With her two twins and her fiancé Steve, she is set to put the past behind her as soon as the ship leaves port. But when a passenger mysteriously disappears, Maria is left to wonder if maybe this was no coincidence. When another passenger is discovered brutally murdered in a similar way to Butler’s ritualistic MO, the ship goes on lockdown.

Maria, one of only twelve people in the world with intimate knowledge of the case, faces a perilous ticking clock. Is it a copycat? Or is she trapped on board with the bloodthirsty maniac she chose to set free?



Chapter 2


Chapter 3


Chapter 4


Chapter 5


Chapter 6


Chapter 7


Chapter 8


Chapter 9


Chapter 10


Chapter 11


Chapter 12


Chapter 13


Chapter 14


Chapter 15


Chapter 16


Chapter 17


Chapter 18


Chapter 19


Chapter 20


Chapter 21


Chapter 22


Chapter 23


Chapter 24


Chapter 25


Chapter 26


Chapter 27


Chapter 28


Chapter 29


Chapter 30


Chapter 31


Chapter 32


Chapter 33


Chapter 34


Chapter 35


Chapter 36


Chapter 37


Chapter 38


Chapter 39


Chapter 40


Chapter 41


Chapter 42


Copyright Notice


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As always, I would like to thank the most charming cowriter I know, Darren Wearmouth. Not only is he a great collaborator, but he is a great friend. Even though he once got kicked out of the Caribbean Sea.

Thank you to my colleague Carsen Smith, whose incredible creativity and tireless work ethic helped bring The Stowaway to life.

Thanks to our excellent editor Michael Homler, our friend and colleague Steve Cohen, and the entire St. Martin’s team for their incredible partnership. Thanks to my colleagues and friends Joseph, Nicole, and Ethan for their imagination and support. Thanks to Jack Rovner and Dexter Scott from Vector Management, Brandi Bowles, and our entire team from UTA, Danny Passman from GTRB, Phil Sarna and Mitch Pearlstein from PSBM, and Elena Stokes and the inventive team from Wunderkind PR. And special thanks to Brad Meltzer, R. L. Stine, James Rollins, and Steve Alten for their continued mentorship, advice, and friendship.

Mom and Dad and my entire family, I love you all. Spear and Colin—you both live to see another day … for now. And most importantly, thanks to my amazing wife, Melyssa, whose end- less love and support makes everything worthwhile. I love you.

And finally, thanks to all the incredible Impractical Jokers fans around the world—you are our friends and our family!


First, I’d like to thank my coauthor, James. He’s a great guy and friend and I deeply value our partnership. Every time I visit America, James and Melyssa are always kind and generous hosts. I’ve missed seeing them over the past year. Second, Michael Homler, our editor from St. Martin’s Press. Patience and understanding are two admirable traits among the many he possesses, and he’s been a pleasure to work with. Third, my family and friends for being there. Mostly my wife and daughter, Jen and Maple, who mean the world to me. Lastly, and most importantly, a huge thanks to you for reading The Stowaway.

On Sale
Sep 21, 2021
Page Count
320 pages