David Liss (born New Jersey, USA, March 16, 1966) is an American writer of novels, essays and short fiction; more recently working also in comic books. He was born in New Jersey and grew up in South Florida. Liss received his B.A. degree from Syracuse University, an M.A. from Georgia State University and his M.Phil from Columbia University. He left his post-graduate studies of 18th Century British literature and unfinished dissertation to write full-time. “If things had not worked out with fiction, I probably would have kept to my graduate school career track and sought a job as a literature professor,” he later said. Now a full-time writer, Liss lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and children.
Most of Liss’ novels are historical-mystery (or historical-thriller) novels. Settings include 18th century London and America, and 17th century Amsterdam. One novel, The Ethical Assassin, is a contemporary mystery-thriller. His first book, A Conspiracy of Paper (2000), won the 2001 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. A member of the writers’ group International Thriller Writers, he is a regular attendee at Bouchercon and Thrillerfest.
Major Awards and Honors
Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards
(Mystery Writers of America)
- 2001: Best First Novel by an American Author – “A Conspiracy of Paper”
(Mystery Readers International)
- 2001: Best First Mystery Novel – “A Conspiracy of Paper”
- Benjamin Weaver Novels:
- A Conspiracy of Paper (2000)
- The Coffee Trader (2003)
– Prequel (of sorts) to the Weaver novels, set in 17th century Amsterdam, 30 years prior to A Conspiracy of Paper, and centering on Weaver’s uncle Miguel Lienzo.
- A Spectacle of Corruption (2004)
- The Devil’s Company (2009)
- The Ethical Assassin (2006)
- The Whiskey Rebels (2008)
- The Twelfth Enchantment (2011)
Collections and Anthologies
- Men Seeking Women : Love and Sex On-line (2001)
– Contributor; story: Minesweeper.
- Thriller (2006)
– Contributor; story: The Double Dealer.
- The New Dead (2010)
– Contributor; story: What Maisie Knew.
- Watchlist: A Serial Thriller (2010)
- The Daring Mystery Comics/Timely 70th Anniversary Special, featuring The Phantom Reporter (2010)
- Black Panther: The Man Without Fear (starting 2010)
– Liss new ongoing writer, beginning with issue #513.
- The Mystery Men (2011)
– Mini-series with Patrick Zircher.
- The Spider (starting 2012)
– New comic book series.
A Selection of Quotes
A Spectacle of Corruption
“It is in general and odd thing to reach some measure of fame and see one’s name bandied about in the newspapers. It is quite another to see oneself turned into a chess piece in a political match. I should call myself a pawn, but I feel that does some disservice to the the obliqueness of my movements. I was a bishop, perhaps, sliding at odd angles, or a knight, jumping from one spot to another. I did not much like the feel of unseen fingers pinching me as I was moved from this square to that.”
The Whiskey Rebels
“There will always be a storm. You may be rained on or cause the rain yourself. I much prefer the latter.”
“Needless to say, it was inconceivable that I would be welome in, let alone invited to, their home. It was as well, then, that I did not limit myself only to those places where people might wish me to be.”
Find more quotes by David Liss on Goodreads.