About Shaun

Hi, and welcome to my site. I’m an author, magazine writer and investigative journalist. Showtime just turned my latest book, The Murder of Sonny Liston, into a feature documentary that you can see on demand. Next up is a movie version that should go into production in 2021.

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
Media Downloads

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.

These days I live in historic home in Wilmington, North Carolina. If you stop by, you’ll probably see with me with a laptop on the porch swing,  working on a sequel to my debut novel, which is awaiting publication. The only moss that grows around here is the Spanish type hanging in our yard.

Cover steroid nation  
Home Court

Home Court

In this chronicle of the the struggles of African Americans to play tennis in the segregated south, a five-year-old meets a doctor who changes history by building a clay court in his back yard. Think Green Book, through a tennis lens, with Althea Gibson and Arthur...

Cranky Yankee Blogger

Listen: Ring Tones

Episode 2: Award-winning author, journalist and investigator Shaun Assael joins the pod to discuss “Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston,” a documentary developed from his book “The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin and Heavyweights.” Immerse yourself in latter-day Las Vegas, learn how the infamous heavyweight champ shuttled between two worlds and delve into the craft of storytelling.

Ring Tones
News & Updates
NY Journal of Books Review Sonny Liston

Author Shaun Assael wades into Liston’s world with a hawk’s eye and the nose of bloodhound. The Murder of Sonny Liston is many things: a biography, a story of sixties Las Vegas, and an investigation into a suspicious death that was never conducted. Despite being...

Hang Up and Listen to this podcast with Stefan Fatsis

Josh Levin, Stefan Fatsis, and Mike Pesca discuss the first five games of the World Series. They also interview Shaun Assael about The Murder of Sonny Liston and talk about the Kabaddi World Cup with writer Jemayel Khawaja and Team USA’s Kevin Hustle. Episode air...