A gripping new psychological thriller . . .

from Jay Richards, one of America’s leading psychopathy experts.



This is Payback for Vietnam


It’s 1973. America is in the throes of Watergate, Vietnam, and increasingly heated racial tensions. A small college town in Southern Illinois is terrorized by a spree of sadistic sexual assaults against young Asian women, purportedly by a black man seeking payback for America’s betrayal in Vietnam.

Acting more on suspicion than evidence, the all-white police force arrests a black theater instructor and Vietnam vet.  His only African American colleague, philosophy professor Nathan “Ribs” Rivers, finds himself in the unlikely position of leading a coalition of student and faculty groups advocating for a fair trial, despite his own doubts about the suspect’s innocence.


A Philosophical Thriller

Wolf Cry copy

As the case intensifies, Professor Rivers uncovers a shocking web of conspiracy, underground activity, and psychopathy. He embarks on a vision quest for the truth about the crimes and his own character that threatens to topple his family and career, ignites in him a spiritual crisis, and plunges him headlong toward lethal unknowns.

Silhouette of Virtue is more than just a gripping psychological thriller. Through the complex story, which is based on true events from the author’s own life, Jay Richards provides a penetrating look at some of the most complex and challenging issues facing American society, then and now. As a forensic psychologist with more than three decades of experience diagnosing and studying psychopaths and sex offenders, Richards offers an authentic portrayal of the complex characters and weaves together the culture and politics of the era with racial tension, mystery, and suspense.



“Jay Richards’ crackling prose style sends philosophy singing off the page.”

Charles Johnson

Author of Dreamer and Middle Passage


“A wonderful book with a dramatic ending. It was hard to put down, even for a few hours. I was immersed again in the ambiance of the art world and campus life during the Watergate years.”

Jack Burns

Chicago Life magazine


”Masterfully written. Sinister and sympathetic characters come alive in this thrilling, can’t-miss novel that kept me in suspense through the last sentence.”

Larry Gossett

Seattle City Councilman and Civil Rights activist


About the Author


JAY RICHARDS, PHD, is a forensic psychologist and expert witness with over thirty years of experience in diagnosing, managing, and studying psychopaths, sex offenders, and mentally disordered offenders. He is currently on the faculty at University of Washington and Seattle University, and appears as a psychopathy expert on a variety of media, including NPR, Dateline, and The Washington Post. His fiction explores how people (normal and disordered alike) make choices in a world that is simultaneously predetermined and stultifying—unpredictable and dangerous. His first novel Silhouette of Virtueis based, in part, on actual crimes that occurred on a university campus during the mid-1970s, and is also informed by experiences gained by the author while studying and teaching African literature in West Africa later in that decade. Richards believes that task of fiction is to create and share a vision of the world that is worthy of humanity.