Thanks for visiting. As the headline says, I’m fascinated by the intersection of science and society – whether environmental issues, public health issues, or the troubled intersection of science and the justice system. I like stories about the history of those issues; those “big picture” stories of how things came to be. (Nothing just is.)
My first book, BLOOD: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce, tells the four-century saga of human blood – how this emblem of life was transformed over the years from mystical substance to medicine, to wartime materiel, to the center of a secretive international commerce. BLOOD was published in seven languages, won a Los Angeles Times book award, and was named to the “Best Books of the Year” lists of Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. A four-part PBS series based on the book, called Red Gold, was aired on more than 300 PBS stations.
My second book, The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science, tells the story of the 19th century pioneers of forensic science and the serial killer they caught and convicted using scientific techniques. Joseph Vacher was called the French Jack the Ripper, although he killed more people than his English counterpart. It was only through newly developed forensic techniques such as crime scene analysis, scientific autopsies and interrogations based on modern psychology that he was brought to justice. The book tells his story and that of the brilliant scientists whose names have been forgotten to history. Little Shepherds won Britain’s highest honor for non-fiction crime writing — the Gold Dagger Award — was a finalist for the Edgar Allen Poe Award in the U.S. and appeared on The New York Times Book Review’s “Editor’s Choice,” list and the True Crime bestseller lists of The Wall Street Journal and Library Journal.
Since then, I’ve continued to write about issues where science matters most in society, including exposés of police interrogation techniques in The New Yorker, articles and essays in The New York Times and elsewhere on teaching de-escalation to police, and wide-ranging stories from surfing in Morocco to a profile of a couple of garage-style inventors who developed a technology to track and disable enemy drones.
Currently I’m embarked on an adventure in podcasting, working with Audible to develop a narrative series about a forensic veterinarian and the cases she solves involving crimes against animals. There’s a strong connection between crimes against animals and those against humans and the hero of this series often finds herself at that sad intersection.
Life’s more than work! In my free time I enjoy surfing, open-water swimming, mountain biking, foreign languages and travel…and teaching swim classes at the local YMCA.
I’m represented by Aevitas Creative Management in New York. If you have questions about my work or suggestions for future stories, please get in touch through the contact form provided.