About the Author


My parents slipped a copy of Stephen King’s Misery into my hands when I was thirteen.  I tore through it in a matter of days and decided shortly thereafter I wanted to be a writer. Taking it upon myself to read King’s other books, I thought—early on—that I’d want to pen horror novels.  Then, I discovered Ian Fleming.  After reading my first Bond novel, Moonraker, with its wonderful descriptions of gambling, heavy drinking, sex and violence, I decided I wanted to write thrillers.

Jump ahead several years . . .

While majoring in journalism in college and studying the history of mass media, I stumbled across a New York Times article headlined, “Insurance Murder Charged to Five; Tale of Horror is Told.”  Dated May 13, 1933, the article detailed the plight of one Michael Malloy, a Depression-era Rasputin-type who survived multiple—and increasingly outrageous—attempts on his life without ever realizing a gang of thugs was trying to do him in.  The material struck me as being ideal for a book, and I copied the article and saved it . . . but it took me another seven years before I actually decided to do anything with it.

I started writing On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy in 2002, traveling from the Bay Area to New York for research whenever I had a few vacation days accrued at my newspaper job.  It took a year to complete the project and 14 publisher rejections before the Berkley imprint of Penguin decided to run with it, releasing the book in October 2004. The following year, I sold The Killing Skies to British publisher Spellmount (I had taken a year off work in 2001 to research and write the book in Europe).  In November 2006, Berkley published In the Dark, which was also released in hardcover as The Blackout Murders in the UK.
Having sidelined my plans to write thrillers, I started work on my next book in April 2007 for Union Square Press.  War of Words: A True Tale of Newsprint and Murder, my first American hardcover, hit stores in May 2009, detailing the early and violent history of the San Francisco Chronicle, and the scandalous events that lead to the assassination of founding publisher Charles de Young.

Other books include Human Game (Penguin US, 2012; Constable & Robinson UK, 2013) and The Case That Foiled Fabian (The History Press UK, 2014).

In October 2015, Da Capo Press will publish my latest tome, Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures of a Young War Correspondent. Keep an eye on this site for more details.


25 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Hi Simon,

    You kindly posted a comment on my blog, so I thought I’d pop over and see what you’re all about!

    You are a fantastic writer, which shows through your blog and makes me eager to read your books. I hope you will have continued success in your writing career and maybe, just maybe, one day you will be able to quit your day job.

    Stay in touch,


    • Hi Kate,

      Thanks so much for the kind words; you sure know how to make a fellow scribe blush!

      I stumbled across your blog last night and really enjoyed your writing. I’ll be checking back often! In the meantime, best of luck with all your creative endeavors. May the muse be kind!



  2. Martin Cororan

    Hey Simon,

    Thanks for the follow and hello from the UK. You look like a writer whose got their act together! All very interesting and well written. I’ll keep checking in and see what you’re up to.

  3. I’m looking forward to reading your books and your blog. Your parents did a great thing by giving you the gift of imagination with “Misery.”

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and dropping a line.

  4. Colleen

    Hi Simon,
    I’m interested in your book Human Game and Francis P. McKenna. I’d like to know more about this person. This was my grandfather’s name and he served in WWII.

  5. Miikkä Häämiläinen

    Dear Mr. Read,
    What a wonderful and truly enjoyable work. Devoured at one sitting. Mr. Churchill would be thrilled.


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