Multi award-winning novelist, Michael Lister, is a native Floridian best known for his literary suspense thrillers DOUBLE EXPOSURE, BURNT OFFERINGS, and SEPARATION ANXIETY, as well as his two ongoing mystery series, the prison chaplain John Jordan "Blood" series (BLOOD SACRIFICE) and the hard-boiled, 1940s noir Jimmy "Soldier" Riley Series (THE BIG HELLO).
The Florida Book Review says that "Vintage Michael Lister is poetic prose, exquisitely set scenes, characters who are damaged and faulty" and Michael Koryta says, “If you like crime writing with depth, suspense, and sterling prose, you should be reading Michael Lister," while Publisher's Weekly adds, “Lister’s hard-edged prose ranks with the best of contemporary noir fiction.”
Michael grew up in North Florida near the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River in a small town world famous for tupelo honey.
Truly a regional writer, North Florida is his beat.
Captivated by story since childhood, Michael has a love for language and narrative inspired by the Southern storytelling tradition that captured his imagination and became such a source of meaning and inspiration. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology with an emphasis on myth and narrative.
In the early 90s, Michael became the youngest chaplain within the Florida Department of Corrections. For nearly a decade, he served as a contract, staff, then senior chaplain at three different facilities in the Panhandle of Florida—a unique experience that led to his first novel, 1997’s critically acclaimed, POWER IN THE BLOOD. It was the first in a series of popular and celebrated novels featuring ex-cop turned prison chaplain, John Jordan. Subsequent books in the series include BLOOD OF THE LAMB, FLESH AND BLOOD, THE BODY AND THE BLOOD, BLOOD SACRIFICE, and RIVERS TO BLOOD, and each takes readers through the electronically locked gates of the chain-link fences, beneath the looping razor wire glinting in the sun, and into the strange world of Potter Correctional Institution, Florida’s toughest maximum security prison. Of the John Jordan series, Michael Connelly says “Michael Lister may be the author of the most unique series running in mystery fiction. It crackles with tension and authenticity,” while Julia Spencer-Fleming adds “Michael Lister writes one of the most ambitious and unusual crime fiction series going. See what crime fiction is capable of.”
Michael also writes historical hard-boiled thrillers, such as THE BIG GOODBYE, THE BIG BEYOND, and THE BIG HELLO featuring Jimmy "Soldier" Riley, a PI in Panama City during World War II. Ace Atkins calls the "Soldier" series "tough and violent with snappy dialogue and great atmosphere . . . a suspenseful, romantic and historic ride."
Michael Lister won his first Florida Book Award for his literary novel, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, a book, according to the Panama City News Herald, that “is lyrical and literary, written in a sparse but evocative prose reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy.” It is a contemplation of life and death, art and meaning, set deep in the swamps of the Apalachicola River, a thriller about a wildlife photographer whose camera traps capture a crime, that shows the beauty and danger of the Panhandle paradise.
His second Florida Book Award was for his fifth John Jordan novel BLOOD SACRIFICE.
In addition to penning several original plays and screenplays, two of Michael's novels have been adapted for the stage and one for the screen.
A screenwriter and filmmaker, Michael worked for three years as the senior staff writer for Triple Horse Entertainment, one of the South’s largest production companies.
For the past ten years, Lister has written for and edited the oldest newspaper in Gulf County, The Gulf County Breeze. One of the last independent papers in the region, it began in 1925.
His nonfiction books include the "Meaning" Series: MEANING EVERY MOMENT, THE MEANING OF LIFE IN MOVIES, and THE MEANING OF JESUS.
Michael's short stories have appeared in such collections as DELTA BLUES, NORTH FLORIDA NOIR, and FLORIDA HEAT WAVE, which he edited.
Lister’s latest literary thrillers include DOUBLE EXPOSURE, THUNDER BEACH, BURNT OFFERINGS, and SEPARATION ANXIETY.