In 2008, Canadian model Diana O'Brien was stabbed to death in a Shanghai stairwell just twelve days after arriving in the city. The actions of both police investigators and O'Brien's Chinese modeling agency soon aroused suspicion, adding to the mystery of her death. 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.

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 sex workers to geneticists, Unnatural Selection looks at what happens when the world's extra boys grow up.

I have written about everything from underwater archaeology off the coast of Albania to Chinese cyberspies. My articlesop-eds, and book reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign PolicyHarper's, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Popular Science, Salon, Scientific American, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications.  I am a contributing correspondent with Science and a founding member of the writers' cooperative Deca.


  • I am an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America. While there I will be writing a book for Riverhead on an unusual trade secrets case.
  • New-ish articles: an article for Science on whether predictive policing actually prevents crime, and a feature for Scientific American on global population trends.
  • My longform story And The City Swallowed Them is available from Amazon's Kindle Singles and Deca's iOS app. Download links for countries outside the United States are here, and an interview I did with CBC's The Current on the story is here