The True Meaning of Lobo’s Nod

Lobo’s Nod.

For readers of the I Hunt Killers series, it has a very specific meaning: the town where Jazz, Connie, and Howie grew up, the town that spawned Billy Dent.

Early on, people used to ask me all the time, “What’s up with the name of the town? That’s a weird name.” And I knew it was, and I knew why the town was called that. There are actually two reasons. One is an in-story reason, the other is the meta-reason, if you will.

A lot of people assumed that it had something to do with wolves, since “lobo” is Spanish for wolf, and it ties in nicely to the predator/prey themes in the book.

But, no.

For the in-story reason, you can read Lucky Day, the I Hunt Killers prequel novella which includes the tale of Étienne LeBeau, founder of the Nod.

As to the other reason, well… Here we go:

As I traveled around the country to talk about the book, I would challenge people to figure out the meaning behind “Lobo’s Nod.” My intention was that eventually, when the third book came out, I would run a contest on the BLog to have people take a stab at it.

When challenged, one guy in Texas did a little quick anagramming and realized that “Lobo’s Nod” can be mixed up to spell “Blood Son.” Which, I swear, is a nice bit of linguistic serendipity, but nothing more.

I kept challenging people and no one got it and I figured I would be running a contest when Blood of My Blood came out, but in April 2014, just five months away, a kid in Chicago piped up and nailed it.

What’s the answer? Why did I choose the name Lobo’s Nod? The answer is a little story:

People often use some combination of Dexter and The Following when they discuss I Hunt Killers, and I’m going to admit here and now that this pisses me off. I get it — it’s a nice, easy shorthand, but every time I read such a comparison, I feel like the person in question is accusing me of ripping off one of those series. And the truth is, I didn’t watch Dexter when it was on and I don’t watch The Following, and I was done with my first draft of Game before The Following even got on the air. So there’s that.


Even early on, my editor (who does watch Dexter) was saying the book was “Dexter for teens.” This before I’d even finished the first book. But a part of me, naturally, rebelled against it. It wasn’t just a book about a serial killer, after all — it was about a kid solving crimes.

A kid. Solving crimes.

“It’s not Dexter for teens,” I said one day. “It’s Encyclopedia Brown on crystal meth.”1

loved the Encyclopedia Brown books as a kid. I was obsessed with them. And so, in that  snarky, anti-Dexter moment, I decided to honor my childhood mystery obsession.

The Encyclopedia Brown books were written by a man named Donald J. Sobol.

Don Sobol.

Spell it backwards.

And thus is the mystery of Lobo’s Nod…revealed!

  1. If you don’t know who Encyclopedia Brown is, I urge you to avail yourself of the powers of Google.


  1. I’m just confused how someone would figure that out on their own.

  2. This makes me love the I Hunt Killer books even more than I did before!

  3. Love it! Encyclopedia Brown was a big favorite of mine as a kid!

    Are we ever told what state they’re in?

  4. Emma Critchfield says:

    Is it Missouri or Kansas?

  5. I did guess the location of the books is somewhere in the southeast…every time Billy speaks, I can tell he has a distinctive country accent. And these books are my favorite things in the universe! I personally want to be an author, and your books inspire me every single day to pursue that ambition.

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