Ross Thomas (born February 19, 1926, in Oklahoma City — December 18, 1995, in Santa Monica, California) was an American writer of crime fiction. He is best known for his witty thriller that expose the mechanisms of professional politics. He also wrote several novels under the pseudonym Oliver Bleeck about professional go-between Philip St. Ives.
Thomas served in the Philippines during World War II. He worked as a public relations specialist, reporter, union spokesman, and political strategist in the USA, Bonn (Germany), and Nigeria before becoming a writer.
His debut novel, The Cold War Swap, won a 1967 Edgar Award, for Best First Novel, and Briarpatch earned the 1985 Edgar for Best Novel. In 2002 he was honored with the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award, one of only two authors to earn the award after their death (the other was 87th Precinct author Evan Hunter in 2006).
He died of lung cancer two months before his 70th birthday.
Aside from Philip St. Ives, the following characters appear in more than one novel:
Cyril (called "Mac") McCorkle, pub owner in Bonn and Washington, DC, and his business partner/friend Michael Padillo, spy, are in The Cold War Swap, Cast a Yellow Shadow, The Backup Men, and Twilight at Mac's Place.
Artie Wu and Quincy Durant, con men/adventurers, and their associate Otherguy Overby are in Chinaman's Chance, Out on the Rim, Voodoo, Ltd. Booth Stallings, expert on terrorism, and Georgia Blue, cashiered Secret Service agent, join them in the latter two.
Howard Mott, a Washington Lawyer, has cameo roles or is mentioned in several novels.
Ione Gamble, an actress, is a central character in "Voodoo, Ltd." and is mentioned in "Ah, Treachery!".
Draper Haere, political rainmaker, is a central character in Missionary Stew and is mentioned in Ah, Treachery.
Minor Jackson and Nicolae Ploscaru, central characters in The Eighth Dwarf, are mentioned in Ah, Treachery.