"Read the first page of THE DEAD SOUL and you won't stop. … Phelps’s narrative grabs you by the lapels and doesn’t let go." –John Lutz, New York Times bestselling author
In this first novel, serial killer expert, star of Investigation Discovery’s “Dark Minds,” New York Times bestselling author of 26 books, M. William Phelps takes readers into the twisted world of “the Optimist,” a sadistic serial killer—based on Phelps’s ten years of research and writing about serial killers (five books)—bent on not only terrorizing his young female victims, leaving their naked bodies along Boston’s Freedom Trail, but also driving Detective Jake “Sundance” Cooper to the edge of insanity as the cop fights to redeem his imploding career. Through an investigation revealing the true madness and evil of this killer, Jake’s mentor, Detective Mo Blackhall, is on the verge of being indicted for his role in a Big Dig corruption scandal, putting Jake at the center of choosing blue blood loyalty over the truth. Strap yourself in and prepare for a thrill ride of suspense, mystery and police procedural drama, with a captivating and honest look at the underbelly of Boston’s mean streets, driven by a cast of characters reminiscent of Dennis Lehane’s greatest fiction.
Investigative journalist M. William Phelps, a serial killer expert, and New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of 26 nonfiction books, including 6 about serial murderers. Winner of 2008 New England Book Festival Award for I'll Be Watching You, Phelps has appeared on "The View," "The Today Show, "GMA," and over 100 additional television shows as a crime expert, the USA Radio Network, Catholic Radio, Ava Maria Radio, ABC News Radio and Radio America, who calls him "the nation's leading authority on the mind of the female murderer." He frequently appears on the hit Investigation Discovery show "Deadly Women." He's written for the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, the New London Day, and has been profiled in such noted publications as Writer's Digest, NY Daily News, Newsday, Albany Times-Union, Hartford Courant, Connecticut Magazine, Suspense magazine, Forensic Nursing, and the NY Post. He also consulted on the first season of the Showtime cable television series "Dexter."
Beyond his non-fiction crime work, in 2008 Phelps published a highly acclaimed narrative nonfiction biography of Revolutionary War patriot Nathan Hale: NATHAN HALE: The Life and Death of America's First Spy, which was optioned for film by Warner Bros.
In 1996, Phelps's pregnant sister-in-law, Diana Ferris, was savagely murdered in Hartford, Connecticut. Through his writing and work with crime victims, M. William Phelps is on an obsessive quest to not only find his sister-in-law's killer, but the reasons why people kill and what stirs inside the dark minds of serial murderers.
Phelps lives in a small Connecticut farming community near the Massachusetts border.