About Shaun

Hi, and welcome to my site. I’m an author, magazine writer and investigative journalist, as well as a sometime television correspondent. Showtime just bought my latest book, The Murder of Sonny Liston, and is turning it into a feature documentary that will be in theaters next year.

My instincts always lead me to crime and politics, though I somehow managed to spend twenty years in the investigations unit at ESPN. Four books have also allowed me to join the NASCAR tour for a season; delve into the history of Vince McMahon for a New York Times best-selling unauthorized biography; chronicle America’s history with steroids; and turn into a cold case cop to investigate the decades-old death of Sonny Liston, the infamous heavyweight champion of the word.


Shaun Assael | Photo credit: Amy K. Nelson
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I’ve been lucky to win numerous awards for my magazine work lately, including from the National Association of Black Journalists (for science writing), the Associated Press Sports Editors (for investigative reporting), the National Headliners Club, the New York Press Club, and the World’s Best Radio Programs and World’s Best TV & Films awards.

I love the kind of open field reporting that lets me throw myself into a new world and emerge with a better understanding of what drives people — for good and ill. It’s taken me on some amazing rides, with the best yet to come.

These days, my wife, Ellen, and I live with our two dachshunds in a rambling house on a historic block by the water in coastal North Carolina. If you stop by, you’ll probably see with me with a laptop on our porch swing,  blogging as the Cranky Yankee or working on my first novel and a new project about the Civil War.

The only moss that grows around here is the Spanish type that’s hanging from the crepe myrtles in our yard.





Cover steroid nation  


Return Game

Wonder why the tennis world hates Maria Sharapova so much? Read my behind-the-scenes look into her comeback from a drug suspension, and why what worked on the court backfired in the court of public opinion.

Cranky Yankee Blogger

as found on:

Outside the Lines

Invite Me to Your Reading

Planning to reopen the unsolved case of Sonny Liston's mysterious death, or reading one of my other books, with your book club or class? I always enjoy joining a book discussion, and can do so virtually. Just reach out with your details.

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