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‘Homicide in the House’ Features a Spooky Shutdown Driven Capitol Hill

Colleen J. Shogan released her second of the "Washington Whodunit Series"

'Homicide in the House' was released on June 15, 2016. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)
'Homicide in the House' was released on June 15, 2016. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)

The fictional Kit Marshall is back with another Capitol Hill murder mystery to solve.

Readers were first introduced to Marshall in 2015, when Colleen J. Shogan, a senior executive at the Library of Congress, published the first book in her Washington Whodunit series, “Stabbing in the Senate.” 

Now Marshall is back as the legislative director for a freshman congresswoman from North Carolina in Shogan’s second book, “Homicide in the House,” which was released in June.

During a shutdown over government funding, Marshall navigates the creepy, cold empty halls of the Capitol to find the killer in a crime that her boss has been accused of.

“She understands Congress a little bit better as an institution,” Shogan, 40, said of Marshall. “She’s starting to figure out the different career paths that she may want to take within Congress … I think you see this a lot with Congressional staff — it’s very natural.”  

The novel may be particularly interesting to those familiar with Capitol Hill jaunts and hot spots — and unfortunately familiar with government shutdowns — but also gives enough background into the world of a staffer that an outsider can enjoy it too.

Prior to her job at the Library of Congress, Shogan was deputy director of the Congressional Research Service and was a Senate staffer.

“Those were all my experiences,” she said. “All the House side restaurants and bars are really also the restaurants and bars people that work in the Library of Congress go to.

The scenery in Shogan’s second book was very easy to write, she said, “because whenever I go out to lunch with friends or colleagues that I work with, I go to all those spots.”

Shogan based her second book on the House side of Congress to mix things up for both the reader and Marshall.

“It just seemed like the natural progression to have my main character, Kit, move from the Senate over to the House,” she said.

A legislative director is a bit higher position than that of a low-level Senate staffer, the job Marshall had in the first book.

“So now she’s managing people and in a position of authority … so that can create all kinds of other difficulties for her,” Shogan said.

Shogan is currently outlining the plot of her fourth book. With her busy work schedule, she finds time to write in the evenings, when she tries to put aside an hour a night, or on weekends.

“I don’t stress out about it. It’s not my full time job. It’s supposed to be fun,” she said.

Shogan gave HOH some insight into the third book, which will most likely be released in summer 2017. It’s set off the Hill at Washington’s elite Cosmos Club and is tentatively titled, “Calamity at the Cosmos Club.”

“Kit’s going to find herself using a lot of the historical sites in Washington, D.C., like the Smithsonian museums, the Archives and Mount Vernon,” she said. 

On Wednesday August 17, attend the Happy Hour Book Party at Hawk ‘n’ Dove, 329 Pennsylvania Ave SE, at 5:30 p.m. It’s an open party and RSVP to, mentioning you read the book’s HOH review!

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