Ethan Brown has written for New York, The New York Observer, Rolling Stone, GQ, Mother Jones, the Marshall Project, Details, and The Village Voice. He has appeared on NPR, WNYC, Court TV, MSNBC, Hot 97, TPMCafe and BET to discuss drug policy, street crime, the music business and other issues.
His first book—Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler—was published by Random House in 2005 to rave reviews in the Boston Globe (“diligently researched and trenchantly observed…a fascinating look at the way one generation’s reality becomes the next’s mythology”), The Village Voice (“one of the first reliable accounts [of the crack era]…the fact that Brown was able to publish so thorough an account is itself notable”) andPublishers Weekly (“A vigorous account of an American subculture that’s colorful, influential and, given the body count, tragic”).
Ethan’s second book—Snitch: Informers, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice—was published by Public Affairs in 2007. The Legal Times wrote ofSnitch that “Many police and prosecutors reading his book (or this review) will surely cry foul. Their cries will too often be proven insincere upon close examination, however, because Brown’s evidence…is overwhelming.” Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury praised Snitch as “must reading for anyone concerned about the future of ‘law and order’ in America.” Manhattan Institute Scholar John McWhorter called Snitch one of the “strongest, smartest” books about race in the past decade.
Ethan’s third book—Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans—was published by Henry Holt in the fall of 2009. Evan Wright, author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill, called Shake the Devil Off “a chilling portrait of a broken hero failed by the system.” George Pelecanos,New York Times bestselling author of The Turnaround, said that “Ethan Brown examines a notorious murder case, rescues it from the talons of tabloid journalists, and comes up with something much more than a true crime book. Shake the Devil Off is a gripping suspense story, an indictment of the military’s treatment of our soldiers in and out of war, and a celebration of the resilience and worth of a great American city.” Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, urged “every military general and every VA leader to read this book to understand how hubris and incompetence in government often leads to massive pain, suffering, and preventable death. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should put Shake the Devil Off at the top of their reading list as a superbly written account of how everything could and did go wrong for a soldier and his family during and after war.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called Shake the Devil Off “heartbreaking” and Nate Blakeslee, author ofTulia, hailed the book as “a ‘coming home’ story that rivals any written about veterans of the war in Iraq, and a true crime account that raises the bar for the genre. Measured, thoroughly reported, and written with true empathy.” David Simon, creator of The Wire and author of Homicide and The Corner, said that “looking more deeply at that from which the rest of us turned in horror, Ethan Brown has transformed an ugly and disturbing shard of the post-Katrina anguish. In this book, that which was lurid and sensational becomes, chapter by chapter, something genuinely sad and reflective, something that now has true meaning for New Orleans and for all of us.” In September of 2009, Shake The Devil Off was chosen as a “Critics’ Pick” in the Washington Post and an “Editors’ Choice” by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. In December of 2009, theWashington Post named Shake the Devil Off one of the best books of 2009.
In January of 2014, Medium.com published “Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8?” a nearly 8,000 word investigative-reporting driven feature which was the result of Ethan’s two year investigation into the unsolved homicides of eight female prostitutes in Southwest Louisiana. Though the case—known as the “Jeff Davis 8”—received national attention in the New York Times and on CNN, Ethan formulated a new theory of the case arguing that it was not the work of a serial killer. Ethan backed up this theory by citing thousands of pages of homicide files, witness interviews, and autopsy reports in the Jeff Davis 8 case. “Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8?” received an onslaught of online traffic and more importantly, praise from his fellow journalists (“Astonishing revelations,” wrote Lost Girls author Robert Kolker), criminal justice experts and even cable TV showrunners. True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto called Ethan’s piece on the Jeff Davis 8 an “important study of police corruption and a suspected serial killer in Louisiana.”
Ethan’s fourth book, Murder in the Bayou, is an even deeper investigation into the Jeff Davis 8 case and was published by Scribner/Simon and Schuster in September of 2016. The book has been praised Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil author John Berendt (“Ethan Brown’s daring and dangerous exposé uncovers a murky inferno of violence and corruption in south Louisiana, where it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad, and the brutal murders of eight prostitutes go unpunished, though not necessarily unsolved”), investigative reporter and Rolling Stone contributor Janet Reitman (“A deeply reported, and disturbing, true crime story that is as puzzling as it is intriguing. Ethan Brown’s Murder in the Bayou raises as many questions as it answers, but never ceases to enrage. This is a book about power: those who wield it, and those who, tragically, fall victim to it”), Doug J. Swanson, author of Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker (“Ethan Brown wades into the fetid political swamps of south Louisiana and emerges with a sordid yarn of sex, drugs and death. With a depraved and threatening cast of characters, Brown delivers a dogged, courageous inquiry into the murders of eight women. Even those accustomed to institutional corruption in the Pelican State will be shocked by this tale”) and Zachary Lazar, author of Evening’s Empire: The Story of My Father’s Murder (“By way of Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, Ethan Brown casts light on an America that many people would prefer to believe is not there. Murder in the Bayou reveals a complicated web of violence, poverty, drugs, and corruption—it’s a brave feat of reporting.”)
Ethan can be reached at at ethanbrown72 at gmail dot com; Inquiries about Ethan’s published work should be sent to David Patterson at the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, Inc: firstname.lastname@example.org; follow Ethan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ethanbrown72