Ross Thomas was an American writer of crime fiction. He is best known for his witty thrillers 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, was written in only six weeks and won a 1967 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. 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.