For twelve years, Allison Leotta served as a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, where she specialized in sex crimes, domestic violence, and crimes against children. She now writes legal thrillers drawing on her experience.
Allison was dubbed “the female John Grisham” for her first novel, LAW OF ATTRACTION, which the Washington Post called, “a racy legal thriller…taking on a still-taboo subject.” Her second novel, DISCRETION, was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2012 by Strand Magazine and nominated for Best Book of the Year by Romance Reviews Today. Simon & Schuster /Touchstone will release her third novel, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, this August.
Allison is a weekly contributor to the Huffington Post, where she reality-checks TV crime dramas. Her blog, The Prime Time Crime Review, was named one of the best legal blogs in America by the ABA, for the last three years.
Allison has provided legal commentary for outlets such as CNN Live, MSNBC’s The Cycle, the PBS NewsHour, HuffPost Live, and Reuters TV.
Allison is a graduate of Michigan State University and Harvard Law School. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband, Michael Leotta, and their two sons. She recently signed another two-book deal with S&S/Touchstone, and is hard at work on her fourth and fifth books.
The backstory, in Allison’s words:
I started writing novels because I saw heartbreaking tragedies, acts of shocking evil, and vulnerable victims every day – but also moments of real heroism, true love, and healing. Given the stories I witnessed, the rich cast of characters I worked with, and my lifelong love of fiction, I had to write some books.
I wanted to create stories that would both entertain and teach about the way the criminal justice system works—and doesn’t work. At the heart of many of these stories is the intersection of love and hate. Many crimes stem from love gone wrong, and are committed by the victim’s most trusted ally: a spouse, lover, friend, or parent. My protagonist, sex-crimes and domestic-violence prosecutor Anna Curtis, sees the worst things that people do to their loved ones. My books explore Anna’s dark childhood, which drew her to this job, as well as the effects that living in this violent world have on her personal life today, as she struggles to have a happy and normal romantic life.
My first novel was written in the spaces of my life between prosecuting and mommying. I started writing while I was pregnant with my first son. I would wake up at 5:00 a.m. and write for a couple of hours before heading to work. I wrote at night and on weekends. After my son was born, I wrote during his naps and after bedtime. Now, the sound of a softly snoring baby triggers a Pavlovian response in me to start typing.