By Jason Sanford, ONA Manager of Communications and Content

KillingCurseCoverONA members know executive director Dennis Hetzel as the go-to person for all things related to Ohio newspapers, including advertising issues, open records requests, legislative lobbying, and much more. But very few members know that, in his spare time, Hetzel is also a fiction writer. Now his first novel Killing the Curse has been released, a sports-political thriller about the Chicago Cubs, a troubled sports-radio talk show host and a President of the United States with a long-ago secret.

“The Cubs are in the World Series, so you know it’s fiction,” Hetzel said about the novel, which is being released by Publisher Page, an imprint of Headline Books in Terra Alta, WV. The book was written in collaboration with Hetzel’s friend and successful political thriller author Rick Robinson.

“I’m a lifelong Cubs fan who grew up in the Chicago suburbs,” said Hetzel. “A World Series still seems a long ways away, and this year is the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. So, maybe the book can give fans a taste of success while we wait for success in the real world. However, fans should be prepared for plenty of curse-like frustration.”

Killing the Curse will make its formal debut at the Book Expo America show in New York on May 28th with release of the trade paperback version scheduled for late June to retail outlets. The Kindle version is already available on where it opened in the Top 100 category for sports fiction, which includes books by authors such as Stephen King and John Grisham.   The book also recently won an honorable mention in the San Francisco Book Festival competition – the first competition in which it was entered.

Hetzel said that any ONA members interested in copies for review or promotional purposes can contact him through his personal e-mail,, or by calling 614-940-5067.

Included below is promotional copy for Hetzel’s novel.



The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series for more than 100 years or even played in one since 1945. Now they’re positioned to win the Series for the first time since 1908 – if only curses and bad luck don’t haunt them as usual. That’s what happens when a swarm of gnats helps the Boston Red Sox tie the Series at three games each. To kill the curse, the Cubs must win Game 7 in Chicago.

No one wants the Cubs to win more than Luke Murphy, President of the United States and lifelong fan. Leading the disbelievers is Murphy’s boyhood friend, Bob Walters, a sports radio talk-show host with a beautiful daughter and a big ego who built ratings by being “the man Cub fans love to hate.”

The Cubs have someone else on their side—a brilliant, crazed fan who will do anything to make sure they win. Anything. It starts with an attack on the father of Boston’s best pitcher and grows into an escalating threat that could destroy Murphy’s career, expose childhood secrets, and kill hundreds of innocent people.

Everything comes to a head as Game Seven unfolds — a game the Cubs must win no matter what.

“Hetzel draws skillfully on top-level reporting experience, a keen understanding of the often fragile (and sometimes twisted) human condition and his lifetime membership in the fellowship of long-suffering Cub fans. The man, in other words, knows his stuff. ‘Killing the Curse’ truly touches ‘em all.”

—Brian Davis, sportscaster

“A true Cubs fan, Dennis Hetzel long ago blew by the first four stages of grief and now resides in the final stage – acceptance. ‘Killing The Curse’ imagines the consequences of a deranged fan’s inability to achieve this peaceful state and does so in a gripping thriller that holds the reader’s attention like a perfect game.”

—Jack Greiner, attorney, lecturer, and lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan

P.S. from Dennis Hetzel:

I am not the only ONA staff member to be a published author. Our communication and content manager, Jason Sanford, is making quite a name for himself as a science fiction writer. Click here for more information about Jason and his books.

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