I’m a novelist, freelance writer, and author of The Icon Thief, the first in a trilogy of international thrillers published by Penguin. A second installment, City of Exiles, appeared last year, with a concluding novel, Eternal Empire, released in September. I’m also an occasional author of short fiction for the magazine Analog Science Fiction and Fact, including my novelette “The Boneless One,” which was selected for inclusion in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 29th Edition, edited by Gardner Dozois. My essays and nonfiction have been featured in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Rumpus, and The Daily Beast.
Growing up in Castro Valley, California, I was an avid reader and moviegoer, and wrote my first novel—of which, thankfully, only one copy survives—at the age of thirteen. My earliest influences included the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges, Douglas R. Hofstadter, Norman Mailer, John Fowles, Robert Graves, Madeline L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and Stephen King; the films of Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch; the Indiana Jones trilogy; and such TV shows as Twin Peaks and, above all, The X-Files.
I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Classics, although I’ve since managed to forget most of my Latin and all of my Greek. In college, I was a member of the undergraduate literary magazine, where I published my first short fiction, and wrote on a variety of topics, mostly film, for a handful of publications, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian. After graduation, I spent several years at a financial firm based in New York, but ultimately left to pursue a much less lucrative career as a novelist.
As a writer, in addition to the influences I’ve mentioned above, I’m heavily indebted to Frederick Forsyth, Thomas Harris, James M. Cain, Ian McEwan, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Anton Wilson, the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and many other craftsmen and storytellers, including David Mamet and Walter Murch. My favorite book is The Annotated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and William S. Baring-Gould; my favorite movies are The Red Shoes, Blue Velvet, and Chungking Express. I currently live in Oak Park, Illinois with my wife Wailin, my daughter Beatrix, and a frighteningly large number of books.