Bio (Brief Version)
Brad Parks is the only author to have won the Shamus, Nero and Lefty Awards. He received the Shamus (for best first private eye novel) and the Nero (for best American mystery) for his debut, FACES OF THE GONE, the first book in history to take both awards. He has won two Leftys (for best humorous mystery) for his third and fourth books, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and THE GOOD COP. The series, which features sometimes-dashing investigative reporter Carter Ross, also includes EYES OF THE INNOCENT and THE PLAYER. It has received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. Shelf-Awareness has deemed the Carter Ross books "perfect for the reader who loves an LOL moment but wants a mystery that's more than empty calories" and Library Journal has called the series "essential reading" and "a refreshing tonic for the mystery soul." RT Book Reviews opined, "Parks has quietly entered the top echelon of the mystery field." Parks is a graduate of Dartmouth College and spent a dozen years as a reporter for The Washington Post and The Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. He is now a full-time novelist who lives in Virginia with his wife and two small children.
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Bio (Verbose Version)
Brad Parks started writing professionally at 14, when he discovered two important things about his hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield (Conn.) Press: One, it paid freelancers 50 cents a column inch for articles about local high school sports; and, two, it ran most submissions at their original length. For Brad, that meant making more money writing than babysitting. For the parents of the girls' basketball players at Ridgefield High, that meant glowing accounts of their daughters' games that ran on for no less than 40 inches.
This launched Brad on a 20-year journalism career, one that continued at Dartmouth College, where he founded a weekly sports newspaper that he ran out of his dorm room. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa, he was hired by The Washington Post, becoming the youngest writer on the paper's staff. Two years later, he moved to The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. A sportswriter who later switched to news, he covered everything from the Super Bowl to the Masters, from small-town pizza wars to Hurricane Katrina. His work was recognized by, among others, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Headliner Awards, the National Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association, which gave its top award for enterprise reporting to Brad's 40-year retrospective on the Newark riots. He was also a two-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists (sometimes called the "Junior Pulitzers").
While on assignment for The Star-Ledger in 2004, Brad covered a quadruple homicide in Newark that provided the real-life launching point for Carter Ross, a fictional character who bears no resemblance to Brad beyond their shared height, weight, eye color, hair color, skin color, charmed upbringing, sartorial blandness and general worldview.
Brad left the newspaper industry in 2008 to pursue fiction-writing. In 2009, he published FACES OF THE GONE, which sold through its first print run in nine days and went on to win the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and the Shamus Award for Best First Mystery. It made Brad the only author in the combined 60-year history of those awards to win both for the same book. Library Journal called Faces of the Gone "the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money," while Yahoo.com opined that Brad was "the literary love child of Evanovich and (Harlan) Coben."
The next installment of the Carter Ross series, EYES OF THE INNOCENT, also went back to print nine days after its release. Library Journal cheered it was "as good if not better (than) his acclaimed debut" and The Wall Street Journal called it "engaging." Meanwhile, readers on a popular book review website voted Carter Ross "The World's Favorite Amateur Sleuth" in a 64-sleuth, tournament-style bracket, where he beat out Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the finals (Brad's explanation of the upset: "I'm on Twitter. Agatha Christie isn't."). He was also named one of "Crime Fiction's Sexiest Authors of 2011" (for which there is no explanation, beyond blindness).
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, the third Carter Ross adventure, won the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery, as voted on by attendees of the Left Coast Crime conference. It was placed on Kirkus Reviews' Best Fiction of 2012 list, one of a small handful of mysteries to earn that honor, and reached No. 3 in the Baker & Taylor Fiction/Mystery Bestseller List. Publishers Weekly called it "a Sopranos-worthy ragout of high drama and low comedy" while Booklist lauded it as "a masterpiece" in a starred review. RT Book Reviews warned, "Reading will be compulsive."
The fourth book, THE GOOD COP, also won the Lefty Award, making Parks the first author since Janet Evanovich to win back-to-back Leftys. It has been nominated for the 2014 Shamus Award in the Best Hardcover Novel category. It earned a starred review from Booklist, which called it "a tautly written page-turned with charm and humor." Library Journal opined, "Parks's award-winning series is essential reading." The Associated Press deemed it "a great lighthearted read" while Strand Magazine said it was "destined to be a contender for any 'Best of 2013' list."
The latest entry in the series, THE PLAYER, received starred reviews from Library Journal ("Parks (is) a gifted storyteller with shades of Mark Twain or maybe Dave Barry") and Kirkus Reviews ("Muckraking has rarely been so meaty or so funny"). In addition RT Book Reviews made it a Top Pick! for the month of March, saying, "Parks has quietly entered the top echelon of the mystery field." The Washington Post called it "a highly entertaining tale and one of the best portraits of a working reporter since Michael Connelly's THE POET."
The sixth Carter Ross book is under contract and scheduled for publication in 2015. An enthusiastic public speaker, Brad served as Toastmaster at the 2014 Left Coast Crime. He has also been known to burst into song at bookstores, libraries, book conferences, and other places where no one was thoughtful enough to muzzle him. When not writing, he is a washed up jock, a closeted community theater nerd, a father to two and a husband to one. He lives in the tidewater part of Virginia, where he is currently working on the next Carter Ross mystery.
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