Eliot Pattison has been described as a "writer of faraway mysteries," a label which is particularly apt for someone whose travel and interests span such a broad spectrum. After reaching a million miles of global trekking, visiting every continent but Antarctica, Pattison stopped logging his miles and set his compass for the unknown. Today he avoids well-trodden paths whenever possible, in favor of wilderness, lesser known historical venues, and encounters with indigenous peoples. An international lawyer by training, Pattison began writing on legal and business topics, producing several books and dozens of articles published on three continents. In the late 1990's he decided to combine his deep concerns for the people of Tibet with his interest in venturing into fiction by writing The Skull Mantra. Winning the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery and listed as a finalist for best novel of the year in Dublin's prestigious IMPAC awards, The Skull Mantra launched the Inspector Shan series, which now includes Water Touching Stone, Bone Mountain, Beautiful Ghosts, and The Prayer of the Dragon. Both The Skull Mantra and Water Touching Stone were selected by Amazon.com for its annual list of ten best new mysteries. Water Touching Stone was selected by Booksense as the number one mystery of all time for readers' groups. The Inspector Shan series has been translated into over twenty languages around the world.
Pattison entered China for the first time in 1980 and during his many return visits to China and neighboring countries, developed the intense interest in the rich history and culture of the region that is reflected in these books. They have been characterized as creating a new "campaign thriller" genre for the way they weave significant social and political themes into their plots. Indeed, as soon as the novels were released they became popular black market items in China for the way they highlight issues long hidden in Beijing.
Pattison's longtime interest in another "faraway" place the 18th century American wilderness and its woodland Indians-- led to the launch of his Bone Rattler series, which quickly won critical acclaim for its poignant presentation of Scottish outcasts and Indians during the upheaval of the French and Indian War.
A former resident of Boston and Washington, Pattison resides on an 18th century farm in Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.
This biography was last updated on 01/13/2014.
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