John Morgan Wilson
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Profile Information

West Hollywood, CA
About Me:
I'm a mystery novelist, short story writer, print journalist, and TV documentary writer. I've written ten mysteries, eight in the Benjamin Justice mystery series, which has won the Edgar for best first novel and three Lambda Literary Awards for best gay men's mystery. I live in West Hollywood, CA. My web site is, where you can read the first chapter of my latest mystery, Spider Season, just published by St. Martin's Minotaur.
I Am A:
Books And Authors I Like:
As a kid, I devoured mysteries, everything from the Hardy Boys to Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. More recently, in the crime field, I would say George Pelecanos, Ruth Rendell, Walter Mosley, James Lee Burke, and Dennis Lehane and (from the past) Graham Greene, Ross Macdonald, and Raymond Chandler. The Talented Mister Ripley is an enduring favorite from Patricia Highsmith. These days, I read much more non-genre fiction than genre fiction. Pete Dexter (Paris Trout, Train) is a big favorite.
Movies And TV Shows I Like:
I'm a longtime fan of COPS (I've written several scripted documentary series produced by John Langley, the COPS creator and executive producer). Among dramatic series, NYPD Blue, the Sopranos and Six Feet Under, but nothing current. I'm a sports and news junkie and don't watch much else on the tube. As for film, I lean strongly toward character-driven pictures and watch a lot of foreign and indie films. In the American crime genre, Chinatown, Silence of the Lambs, L.A. Confidential, and the French Connection are favorites, and I still enjoy some of the film noir classics I loved as a kid on late night TV.



SPIDER SEASON, the eighth novel in my Benjamin Justice mystery series, which has won an Edgar and three Lambda Literary Awards, has just been published by St. Martin's Minotaur. It can be read on its own or as part of this dark, character-driven series. If you'd like to read the first chapter of SPIDER SEASON, use the link on the home page of my author web site,

In August, Bold Stroke Books reissued SIMPLE JUSTICE, my first mystery novel, which won the 1996 Edgar for best first novel and launched the Benjamin Justice mystery series. SIMPLE JUSTICE has been out of print for seven or eight years but has continued to sell through Internet used book sales, that nefarious practice that is killing the careers of so many authors by robbing us of sales, limiting our original printings, and making it difficult to get our books back into print. (If you are buying used books on the Internet, please stop. Every Internet used book sale hurts the author, who gets no credit for it, while it cuts into further printings or the need for a paperback edition.)

Bold Strokes has also reissued the next three Benjamin Justice mysteries in the series (REVISION OF JUSTICE, JUSTICE AT RISK, and THE LIMITS OF JUSTICE). If you can't find these early mysteries at your local bookstore, please ask the manager to order them through Bold Strokes Books (

John Morgan Wilson's Blog


A healthy and hopeful new year to all. I'm celebrating a Betty Webb review in Mystery Scene for SPIDER SEASON, my latest Benjamin Justice mystery ,that includes this: "This exquisite novel is the finest yet in a powerful series..." Thank you, Betty! (My Benjamin Justice series has won an Edgar for best first novel and three Lambda Literary Awards). I'm also preparting for a launch party on Sunday, January 4 in West Hollywood, CA. Anyone in the vicinity, drop on by! Details… Continue

Posted on January 2, 2009 at 4:30am

Celebrating My Latest Mystery Novel

Sorry for the blatant self-promotion, but I'm celebrating the publication of my latest Benjamin Justice mystery, SPIDER SEASON, which goes on sale today from St. Martin's Minotaur. SPIDER SEASON is the eighth novel in the series, which has won an Edgar and three Lambda Literary Awards. It's on the dark and character-driven side, for more adventurous readers one might say. If you'd like to read the first chapter, go to the link on the home page of my web site:… Continue

Posted on December 10, 2008 at 7:00am

Comment Wall (17 comments)

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At 4:58am on August 27, 2009, John Morgan Wilson said…
Thanks, Thomas. I have another story coming up in EQMM in a couple of months. Appreciate the kind comments.
At 11:44pm on August 1, 2009, Preetham Grandhi said…
Hi John, I want to introduce you to my debut novel "A Circle of souls" which is a murder, mystery, psychological thriller and a tale of justice and hope. Do visit to read more about the book. Make sure you sign up to win an autographed copy of the book. You can also read more reviews by clicking on the More Reviews button at the website. Thanks for your time in advance.

Best regards

Preetham Grandhi

Early Endorsements for “A Circle of Souls”

Linda Fairstein, NYT Bestselling Author: "A fascinating debut - this novel takes the reader to the darkest places in the human soul, from a writer with the authenticity to lead us there. A stunning thriller and an important read."

Judge Judy Sheindlin, star of the Judge Judy Show: "The seminal work of this fine author kept me glued to my chair until the adventure was over and the mystery solved. A great read!"

Book Synopsis:

The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town s top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury s hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.

The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgment, Leia explores the clues in Naya s crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.
In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.
At 5:50am on July 3, 2008, Charlotte Williamson said…
Thanks for the info on Ellery Queen mag. I set my sights higher, as we speak. I needed your boast of courage.
At 4:44am on July 1, 2008, Charlotte Williamson said…
Thanks. Appreciate your kind thoughts. It IS thrilling. I'd love to be able to publish in Ellery Queen. Would you share your secret on how it's done? Maybe I should set my sights higher? Getting published in Ellery Queen would be almost exciting as getting my first novel published.
At 5:20am on June 18, 2008, Charlotte Williamson said…
Yes! I am working on my third novel. Same detective and based on a real murder. Thanks for your interest. And I will keep you posted. I should be so lucky - Wow! Published in Ellery Queen. I haven't tried that one. I suppose I thought that they wouldn't give me the time of day. You're encouraging. Just about everyone I talk to on CrimeSpace is encouraging. Great bunch of people!
At 6:41am on June 17, 2008, Charlotte Williamson said…
Hi John,
You have an impressive resume. I feel honored to be among your Crimespace friends. One of my mystery short stories just got published in Women's Digest, so I'm really excited about that. You make what you do (and have done) seem so casual. That's a lot of work for one fella. I started on my writing career late in life, and I consider myself lucky to have had two novels published. I see more and more people over 50 starting on a new career, and I don't know if it's out of necessity, or begun as just a hobby-turned-new-career event. Whatever, it's fun and satisfying. I'm enjoying it.
At 2:00am on December 25, 2007, Todd Robinson said…
Cheers back, John. Happy Holidays.

At 5:44am on December 4, 2007, Paul Guyot said…
JMW! Should have seen my face smile when I saw your mug on crimespace.

I'm well, thanks. Loving StL, but always missing things about LA.

How are these days? I heard there is a new Justice book out. I gotta get it, been too long since my last fix.
At 2:42am on November 16, 2007, Elizabeth Zelvin said…
Hi,John. Thanks for the Comment. Yes, in fact, everyone calls me Liz. :) Liz

Death Will Get You Sober (St. Martin's, April 2008)
At 10:49am on November 14, 2007, Mary Saums said…
Hey, John - I can't remember where or when, but we were on a panel together at one of the cons a while back. I've been a fan of your books a long time.

How nice to see you mention The Talented Mr. Ripley. That's my current read. A book club discussion of In A Lonely Place by Dorothy Hughes, which I thought was fantastic, reminded me I need to read Ripley, since they both have such interesting psycho narrators. Before Ripley, I tried to read The Killer Inside by Jim Thompson, another first person psycho story, but just couldn't handle his particular violent bend. I'm going to need a real good cozy after all these. :)

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