Michael Gruber was born and raised in New York City, and educated in its public
schools. He went to Columbia, earning a BA in English literature. After college
he did editorial work at various small magazines in New York, and then went back
to school at City College and got the equivalent of a second BA, in biology.
After that he went to the University of Miami and got a masters in marine
biology. In 1968-69 he was in the U. S. Army as a medic.
In 1973, he received his Ph.D. in marine sciences, for a study of octopus
behavior. Then he was a chef at several Miami restaurants, a hippie traveling
around in a bus and a roadie for various rock groups. After this he worked for
the county manager of Metropolitan Dade County, as an analyst, then as director
of planning for the county department of human resources.
He went to Washington DC in 1977, and worked in the Carter White House, Office
of Science and Technology Policy. From there he moved to the Environmental
Protection Agency as a policy analyst and also as the speechwriter for the
Administrator. In 1986, he was promoted to the Senior Executive Service of the
U.S., the highest level of the federal civil service.
In 1984 his cousin, Robert Tanenbaum, a successful trial lawyer, called him from
his offices in Los Angeles asking him to look at the first hundred pages of a
book he had written at the request of the publishing house Franklin Watts (now
part of Scholastic). He says "I called him, and I said, 'This is unsalvageable.
It's not a novel, it has no characters, no plot, nothing.'"
In return for half the advance, Gruber rewrote the novel, they renegotiated the
contract and went into business. This arrangement continued for 15 books.
Gruber says he created the characters and the novels based on stories Tanenbaum
told him, or transcripts of cases Tanenbaum had worked on. However, Gruber's
credit was limited to a thank you on the acknowledgements page. Eventually the
relationship dissolved - Resolve (2003) was the last Tanebaum book Gruber
In 1988 he left Washington, D.C. and settled in Seattle, where he worked as a
speechwriter and environmental expert for the state land commissioner. He has
been a full-time freelance writer since 1990, mostly on the Karp novels, but
also doing non-fiction magazine pieces on biology.
He started writing The Witch's Boy in 1996, but was unable to find a
publisher. So he wrote a thriller for adults, Tropic of Night (2003), set in
Miami, Long Island and West Africa which tells the story of a series of
ritualistic murders that sweep Miami. The book has strong supernatural
elements, although Gruber points out, "there is no supernatural. It's all part
of the universe, although the universe is queerer than we suppose." Two further
thrillers starring Miami cop Jimmy Paz followed: Valley of Bones (2005
and Night of the Jaguar (2006). In 2005 he also published The
Witch's Boy. In 2007 he published The Book of Air and Shadows,
a standalone thriller about a lost Shakespearian manuscript. He is also the author of The Forgery of Venus and The Good Son.
He is married with three grown children.
This biography was last updated on 07/08/2011.
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