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Thorn City

a novel



Suspected murder, eclectic food trucks, and artisanal cocaine: just another day in Thorn City

It’s the night of the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala—a gathering of Portland’s elite. Dressed to kill in sparkling minidresses, best friends Lisa and Jamie attend as “paid to party” girls. They plan an evening of fake flirtations, karaoke playlists, and of course, grazing the catering.

Past and present collide when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician who also happens to be Lisa’s estranged mother. Awkward... When Lisa was sixteen, Ellen had her kidnapped and taken to the Lost Lake Academy—a notorious boarding school for troubled youth.


To make matters worse, Lisa’s boyfriend Patrick crashes the party to meet his new boss—Portland's food cart drug kingpin.


These unfortunate encounters spur Lisa into making a fateful choice that traps her, Jamie, and Patrick in Ellen’s web. As earth-shattering secrets are revealed, will they survive Ellen’s schemes or be sacrificed to her blind ambition?



Pamela Statz grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, the twelfth of thirteen children. She attended UW Madison earning degrees in Journalism and History. With four duffel bags and her goldfish Lucrezia swimming in a mason jar, Pamela flew to the West Coast at the cusp of the dot-com boom and never left.


She’s worked in media and advertising in San Francisco and Portland for Lucasfilm, WIRED, Nike, and Wieden+Kennedy. She currently splits her time between Portland and Manzanita, Oregon with her husband Justin Graham and their giant dog Hooper. Thorn City is her first novel.



International Thriller Writers - Debut Class

The Authors Guild

Friends of Mystery

Sisters in Crime



"Delightful and heartfelt, "Thorn City" whisked me through the streets of Portland and twist after twist of a perfectly plotted thriller! This debut delivers a satisfying meal better than any Michelin-starred food truck."
— Elle Marr, Amazon Charts bestselling author of "The Family Bones" and "The Alone Time"


"The rich backstories of these wealthy characters make them come alive. Come to the party for the secrets and gossip. Stay to see if they survive the mayhem."
— Cate Holahan, USA Today Bestselling Author of "The Widower’s Wife"


"Pamela Statz simultaneously celebrates and gleefully skewers her hometown of Portland, Oregon, in a delightful, madcap thriller with enough punchlines and plot twists for half a dozen novels. "Thorn City's" larger-than-life cast—from ambitious, amoral city executives to sweet but wayward twenty-somethings, from a struggling ad man to a chameleon-like tattoo artist—keeps the comedy and tension unwaveringly high, against a backdrop of hipster food cart pods, boutique ad agencies and the hallowed corridors of City Hall itself. Portland truly is weird, and every page of this fast-paced, hilarious debut sparkles."
— Emily Raymond, bestselling co-author, with James Patterson, of "Expelled," "The Girl in the Castle" and "Tell Me Your Best Story"


"Statz delivers a sneaky and addictive gem by captivating readers in this cleverly written thriller. In "Thorn City," appearances are not what they seem. Those holding corrupt power will kill to keep their secrets safe and maintain status in Portland’s high society."
— Erica Blaque, Author of "Among Wolves"

"Pamela Statz has weaved an intriguing novel with a cast of characters to love and root for, and those to love to hate! A complete immersion into the Portland culture, "Thorn City," is a complex, and twisty ride that unveils its multiple layers of lies and secrets at a perfect pace, not letting go until the very last page. Bravo!"
— Mary Keliikoa, Author of award-winning "Hidden Pieces" and "Deadly Tides"


"A page-turning romp with Portland at its center, "Thorn City" is part who-dunnit/part coming-of-age saga with city politics, tech bro culture, economic disparities and drug dealing thrown in to round out the experience. A fast-moving, thoroughly enjoyable read."
— Margaret Juhae Lee, Author of "Starry Field: A Memoir of Lost History


"With an insider’s eye, Statz takes the reader through the nuanced underbelly of the City of Roses. This debut page-turner is a terrific addition to your crime fiction shelf."
— Suzy Vitello, Author of "Faultland" and "Bitterroot"


""Thorn City" captures exactly what's special about Portland, from the ubiquity of our food carts to the ever-present undercurrents of social and geological upheaval. Still, the characters and their struggles are universally relatable—and so realistically written that I wouldn't be surprised to run into them one day at a mayoral event, kebab stand or local emergency room!"

— Jennifer Hanlon Wilde, Author of "Finding the Vein"




Browsers Bookshop

Tuesday, April 10, 2024, 5:45-7:00 pm

Doubletree Olympia, Olympia, Washington State


Author Fair

Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 1:30-4:30 pm

Salem Convention Center, Salem, Oregon


Appearing on Hello, Rose City! on KGW8 NBC

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


THORN CITY Book Launch Party

Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 6-8pm

The Writer's Block, Portland, Oregon


Debut Authors Breakfast

Saturday, June 1, 2024, 9-10:30am

Metropolitan East Ballroom, Sheraton Times Sq, NYC


Author/Publisher Marketing Conversation with Ooligan Press

Sunday, August 4, 2024, 9-10am

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Portland, Oregon


Author Cocktail Hour

October 9, 2024

University Club, Portland, Oregon

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