David Corbett

David Corbett
Author of The Mercy of the Night
Conference Co-Chair

We are excited to announce that David Corbett has agreed to co-chair for Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference for 2015!

Author Website

Mystery Writers Conference 2015 Information

Mystery Writers Conference 2015 Registration

For fifteen years, David worked for the San Francisco private investigation firm of Palladino & Sutherland, and played a significant part in a number of high-profile criminal and civil litigations, including the Lincoln Savings & Loan Case, The DeLorean Trial, the Coronado Company marijuana indictments, The Cotton Club Murder Case, The People's Temple Trial, the first Michael Jackson child molestation case, and a RICO civil litigation brought by the Teamsters against former union leaders associated with organized crime—as well as numerous other drug, murder, and fraud cases.

In 1995, he eased out of private investigation work to serve as office manager and "Man Friday" for his wife, Terri, as she launched her own law practice, specializing in probate litigation, estate planning, and small business law. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September, 2000, and in January, 2001, passed away at age 46.

Six weeks before Terri's death, Ballantine purchased David's first novel, The Devil's Redhead. Widely praised, it was nominated for both the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best First Novel of 2002. His follow-up, Done for a Dime, was also broadly acclaimed ("the best in contemporary crime fiction"—The Washington Post), was named a New York Times Notable Book, and was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Novel of 2003.

He followed up with 2007's Blood of Paradise, which has been compared to the work of Graham Greene and Robert Stone, and was selected one of the Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers of 2007 by The Washington Post. His fourth novel, Do They Know I'm Running?, arrived in bookstores on March 1, 2010, and instantly garnered widespread praise.

He's also penned numerous articles and stories—one of which, "It Can Happen," from San Francisco Noir, was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Short Story of 2005, and another, "Pretty Little Parasite" from Phoenix Noir, was included in Best American Mystery Stories 2009. He also contributed chapters to The Chopin Manuscript and The Copper Bracelet, serial audio thrillers that now have been combined in a single hard cover version titled Watchlist. He continues to reside in Northern California.

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Praise for David Corbett

"David Corbett has written a wise, inspiring love letter to all the imaginary creatures inside our minds—so we might conjure them whole on the page. I predict that massively underscored copies of The Art of Character will rest close at hand on writers’ desks for many years to come."
—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Torch

“I once made the mistake of writing a story with David Corbett. The man smoked me. He can delineate the character and personality of an accordion on three strokes. I didn't even know accordions had character. Imagine what he can do with people. This act of generosity and wisdom from a very good writer will help anyone who is staring at a blank page, any day, any time. Highly recommended.”
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America and The Hummingbird’s Daughter

“Both inspiring and practical, The Art of Character belongs on every writer’s shelf. David Corbett brilliantly illustrates those elusive tools writers need to breathe life into their characters with greater confidence and deeper insight.”
—Cara Black, bestselling author of Murder at the Lanterne Rouge

"The topic of character development begins and ends with David Corbett’s The Art of Character. This is the book on the subject, destined to stand among the writings of John Gardner, Joseph Campbell, and the others of that select few whose work is fundamental to understanding the craft of storytelling."
—Craig Clevenger, author of The Contortionist’s Handbook

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The Mercy of the Night Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781477849446
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas & Mercer - April 7th, 2015

Phelan Tierney helps people who hope to start their lives over. When Jacquelina Garza, a young woman he's taken under his wing, disappears, the former lawyer devotes himself to finding her--despite her secretive and puzzlingly unhelpful family.


Blood of Paradise Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780812977332
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ballantine Books - March 6th, 2007


The Art of Character: Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film, and TV Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143121572
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - January 29th, 2013

Former private investigator and New York Times notable author David Corbett offers a unique and indispensable toolkit for creating characters that come vividly to life on the page and linger in memory.


Do They Know I'm Running? Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780812977554
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ballantine Books - March 2nd, 2010

From acclaimed author David Corbett, a stunning and suspenseful novel of a life without loyalties and the borders inside ourselves.


Done for a Dime: A Novel Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780449007150
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - June 29th, 2004

Raymond “Strong” Carlisle made his mark as an ace sideman to the biggest names in R&B. Now he lies in the mud outside his home, shot dead from behind.


The Devil's Redhead Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780449007167
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ballantine Books - June 3rd, 2003

In this masterfully written fiction debut, David Corbett combines a gripping crime story with a poignant tale of enduring love.


San Francisco Noir (Akashic Noir) Cover Image
By Peter Maravelis (Editor)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781888451917
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Akashic Books - October 1st, 2005

Brand new stories by: Domenic Stansberry, Barry Gifford, Eddie Muller, Robert Mailer Anderson, Michelle Tea, Peter Plate, Kate Braverman, David Corbett, Alejandro Murgu a, Sin Soracco, Alvin Lu, Jon Longhi, Will Christopher Baer, Jim Nesbit, and David Henry Sterry.