Max McCoy is an award-winning journalist and author.

He won the Spur award in 2008 from the Western Writers of America for his novel, Hellfire Canyon. It’s the story of a 13-year-old boy and his mother who walk across Missouri during the Civil War and become part of the gang lead by Alf Bolin, the notorious Ozark serial killer. Hellfire Canyon was also named a Kansas 2008 Notable Book.

McCoy is the author of nineteen novels, including four original Indiana Jones adventures for LucasFilm and the novelization of Steven Spielberg’s Into the West. His fiction debut, The Sixth Rider, about the 1892 raid on Coffeyville’s banks by the Dalton Gang, was published by Doubleday and won the Spur/Medicine Pipe Award for Best First Novel by the Western Writers of America.

USA Today described his writing as “powerful.” In addition to westerns and historical fiction, McCoy also writes contemporary adventures. Publishers Weekly called his novel, The Moon Pool, an “intelligent thriller… tightly drawn characters, a vile villain and a satisfying, thought-provoking conclusion make this a compelling read.”

McCoy grew up in Baxter Springs and most of his books are set in Kansas or Missouri. He began his career in journalism at the Pittsburg Morning Sun and writing for pulp magazines such as True Detective and Front-Page Detective. Most recently, he was the investigative writer for the Joplin Globe. He has won first-place awards in investigative reporting for his longform narratives on serial killers and hate groups.

His latest book is Damnation Road  (Pinnacle, September 2010), the third book in the triology that began with Hellfire Canyon. He is currently at work on a new thriller that will feature characters introduced in The Moon Pool. 

He’s an assistant professor of journalism at Emporia State University and the director of the Tallgrass Writing Workshop, which is held every June on the ESU campus.