Catch "The Feather Heist" on This American Life, August 10th.

"[A]bsorbing...though it's non-fiction, The Feather Thief contains many of the elements of a classic thriller."  NPR's FRESH AIR

"[O]ne of the most peculiar and memorable true-crime books ever."  CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 

"Johnson has written a fascinating book—the kind of intelligent reported account that alerts us to a threat and that, one hopes, will never itself be endangered."  WALL STREET JOURNAL

Johnson, like Susan Orlean before him, is a magnifier: he sees grand themes—naïveté, jealousy, depression, the entitlement of man—in, say, the plumes of the king bird-of-paradise, collected by the nineteenth-century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace between bouts of fever in the Pacific. That vision makes a book about things like Victorian salmon fly tiers feel heavy as gold.­­"  THE NEW YORKER

"Clever, informative, and sometimes endearingly bumbling, this mix of natural history and crime opens up new worlds." AMAZON'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018 (#3)

"It is all a bit mad. Johnson, a wonderfully assured writer, takes us on a curious journey into the past...The Feather Thief proves that the most obscure, “candy-ass” activities can be made interesting for the general reader. Johnson makes his tale as vivid and arresting as a quetzal’s tail."  THE TIMES OF LONDON

"Within pages I was hooked. This is a weird and wonderful book...Johnson is a master of pacing and suspense. [I]t’s a tribute to Johnson’s storytelling gifts that when I turned the last page I felt bereft."  THE SPECTATOR

"Charming...There’s a lot to Johnson’s book, and he ties it together well, reeling you into disparate historical subjects in a thrilling catch-and-release style. [W]orth its weight in exotic bird feathers, which you’ll learn are very expensive." THE PARIS REVIEW (Staff Pick)

"Fascinating...a complex tale of greed, deception and ornithological sabotage." THE NEW YORK TIMES

"[A]n object lesson in humanity’s capacity for sheer, blind selfishness." THE SEATTLE TIMES

"[A] remarkable story Johnson tells with novelistic skill."  LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS

"the kind of beguiling spiral of a non-fiction work which I adore...Our quester, a kind of plumalogical Philip Marlowe, struggles and squirms at his meetings with these people."  THE SCOTSMAN

"The Feather Thief is an uncommon book.  It could have been about nothing more than an ill person who did an odd thing.  But it's not.  It entertains while it educates.  It informs and enlightens...we need more books like this one."  SCIENCE

"[A] riveting read. It also stands...as a reminder of how an obsession with the ornaments of nature — be they feathers, bird eggs or ivory — can wreak havoc on our scientific heritage." NATURE

"Everything the author touches in this thoroughly engaging true-crime tale turns to storytelling gold...Johnson's flair for telling an engrossing story is, like the beautiful birds he describes, exquisite.  A superb tale about obsession, nature, and man's 'unrelenting desire to lay claim to its beauty, whatever the cost.'" KIRKUS (Starred Review)

"[An] enthralling account of a truly bizarre crime…a page-turner." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred Review)

"Way more interesting than you’d think a book about a guy who stole some dead birds could possibly be, this is a remarkably compelling story of obsession and history and a man who so loved his art that he would break the law for it." BOOKLIST (Starred Review)

"[F]ascinating...a book about obsession, from the fly-tying community’s hunt for specific bird species to Johnson’s own need for justice and closure after the case is resolved. This is a gripping, multifaceted book about our need to possess beauty in the name of historical authenticity." INDIE NEXT PICK: MAY

"a wide-ranging, captivating work...just like a master fly-tier, Johnson skillfully weaves these disparate strands into a scintillating whole.  I was more than happy to bite and be reeled in."  LITERARY REVIEW 

"A riveting story about mankind’s undeniable desire to own nature’s beauty and a spellbinding examination of obsession, greed, and justice, The Feather Thief proves not all thrilling true crime has to involve murder, rape, or the exploitation of victimhood." BUSTLE 

"[a] rollicking true-crime adventure about obsession and the siren call of the wild" GOODREADS ("23 Big Books of Spring")

"[A] thrilling read." BUSTLE ("The 9 Most Anticipated True Crime Books of 2018")

"[A] true crime caper recounted with relish."  O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE. (May 2018 Issue)

"A captivating tale..." KIRKUS ("9 Book Club Picks for April")

"a fascinating narrative that expertly blends obscure history and captivating true crime." OXYGEN ("5 True Crime Books We Can't Wait to Read this Spring")

"You'll never look at a feather in the same way again after reading this riveting detective story...[a] fantastical narrative which brilliantly weaves together Alfred Russel Wallace, the surprisingly shadowy history of fly fishing, conservation and the plumage of the most beautiful birds on Earth." BOOKSELLER ("Editor's Choice - April 2018")

"Richly informative...endlessly fascinating and crackingly entertaining, The Feather Thief is the kind of true-crime narrative that gives Erik Larson's much-lauded The Devil in the White City a run for the money."  SHELF AWARENESS 

"An adventure caper, a dose of true crime, and an obsession with the natural world fill this exciting spring release...fascinating from the first page to the last—you won’t be able to put it down." SOUTHERN LIVING ("Our Bookshelves Can't Wait for these 2018 Spring Releases")

"[E]verything you want a small, wonderful slice of history to encompass: quirky real-life characters, fascinating moments from the past, and a nudge to encourage you to re-examine some of your own assumptions. I keep comparing this book to Longitude and The Orchid Thief, and I can’t wait to grab a cozy blanket and a glass of wine and get back to this compelling tale." AMAZON BOOK REVIEW

"[A] batshit insane story." CHICAGO READER ("Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018")

"Riveting." GOODREADS  ("40 of the Hottest Mysteries & Thrillers of 2018")

ADVANCE PRAISE

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EVENTS

october

10oct4:30 pm7:00 pmOccidental College

13octalldayBoston Book FestivalBoston, MA

november

14nov7:00 pm7:00 pmDenver Museum of Nature & ScienceDenver, CO

january

17jan7:00 pm8:30 pmSan Bernardino County MuseumRedlands, CA

30jan01febRancho Mirage Writers FestivalRancho Mirage, CA

february

30jan01febRancho Mirage Writers FestivalRancho Mirage, CA

may

28mayalldaySociety for the Preservation of Natural History CollectionsChicago, IL

june

14junallday16Nantucket Book Festival