Ethan Brown is the author of four investigative reporting-driven books about crime and criminal justice policy, Murder in the BayouQueens Reigns SupremeSnitch, and Shake the Devil Off. He has written for New York magazine, The New York ObserverWired, GQ, Mother JonesThe GuardianRolling Stone, and The Village Voice. He also worked for nearly a decade as a mitigation specialist for attorneys representing indigent defendants facing the death penalty in the Deep South and elsewhere.  From the fall of 2017 to June 2021, Ethan was the Enterprise Editor of The Appeal, which produced original journalism about the most significant drivers of mass incarceration, state and local criminal justice systems.

He is currently Editor-in-chief of The Garrison Project, an organization launched in October 2021 addressing the crisis of mass incarceration and policing through investigative reporting and analysis. The Garrison Project publishes its work in partnership with national and local publications including The New Republic, New York Magazine, Slate, The Pittsburgh City Paper, The Raleigh News and Observer, Black Pittsburgh, The Texas Observer, Baltimore Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Huffington Post, The Baltimore Brew, The Daily Beast and The Intercept. The Garrison Project is “one of the few things that’s made me optimistic about where American journalism is headed in 2024,” wrote Nieman Lab founder Joshua Benton in January 2024.

Ethan’s 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”) and Publishers 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 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.” In 2009, 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 OffA True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans—was published by Henry Holt in 2009. Evan Wright, author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill, called it “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.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called Shake the Devil Off  “heartbreaking.” Nate Blakeslee, author of Tulia, 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, 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 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, 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 sex workers in Southwest Louisiana. “Who  Killed the Jeff Davis 8?” was praised by 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, was published by Scribner/Simon and Schuster in September 2016. The book was praised by 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”), 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”), and 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”).

During the fall of 2019, Showtime aired a five part documentary series based on Murder In The Bayou. Ethan served as an Executive Producer on the series.

Ethan can be reached at at ethanbrown72 at gmail dot com. Follow Ethan on Twitter here.