The winner of the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award, Ross Thomas (1926-1995) was a prolific author whose political thrillers drew praise for their blend of wit and suspense. Born in Oklahoma City, Thomas grew up during the Great Depression, and served in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, he worked as a foreign correspondent, public relations official, and political strategist before publishing his first novel, The Cold War Swap (1967), based on his experience working in Bonn, Germany. The novel was a hit, winning Thomas an Edgar Award for Best First Novel and establishing the characters Mac McCorkle and Mike Padillo.
Thomas followed it up with three more novels about McCorkle and Padillo, the last of which was published in 1990. He wrote nearly a book a year for twenty-five years, occasionally under the pen name Oliver Bleeck, and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel with Briarpatch (1984). Thomas died of lung cancer in California in 1995, a year after publishing his final novel, Ah, Treachery!