And The City Swallowed Them

In 2008, Canadian model Diana O'Brien was stabbed in a Shanghai stairwell, twelve days after arriving in the city. The actions of police investigators and O'Brien's Chinese modeling agency would soon arouse suspicion. At once a page-turning narrative and a work of deep investigation, And The City Swallowed Them draws on dozens of interviews with investigators, models, and family members of those close to the crime.

Unnatural Selection

There are over 100 million females “missing” from Asia’s population--more than the entire female population of the United States. Outside of Asia, too--in countries like Albania, Azerbaijan, and Georgia--couples are making sure at least one of their children is a son. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, with a cast of characters ranging from geneticists to prostitutes, Unnatural Selection looks at what happens as the world's extra boys grow up.


I have written about everything from Amazonian archaeology to Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests. My articles and book reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, the Financial Times magazine, Harper's, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Popular Science, Scientific American, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Walrus, and other publications.  I am a contributing editor with Science.


  • I am a founding member of Deca, a writers’ collective formed to produce and market longform dispatches from around the world. For more information, subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  • New-ish articles: a piece for Matter on the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, and a rundown of recent China books for The New York Times.
  • My longform story And The City Swallowed Them launched this June and is now available from various outlets. A #1 bestseller on Amazon's Kindle Singles, the short book is also available through Deca's iOS app. I've compiled download links for a variety of countries here. An interview I did with CBC's The Current on the story is here
  • Check out my op-ed piece on China's changing relationship with the death penalty in the New York Times. The article draws on some of the reporting I did for And The City Swallowed Them.
  • Read/listen to coverage of my five-month investigation into academic corruption in China at the BBC, Wired UK, and South China Morning Post. Or read the report, which appeared in Science, here.