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"Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and told with the air of suspense that few writers can handle, Wastelands is a story I wish I had written."

                                            — JOHN GRISHAM

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The Story Behind the Stories

In the summer of 2008, while I was practicing law and writing books no one wanted to publish, I had an idea for a novel that would open doors long closed to me and inaugurate my journey as an author. 

First published in 2012, A Walk Across the Sun went on to be an international bestseller and inspired a multi-year odyssey of travel and research that gave rise to three more novels like it, all deeply steeped in the truth of the world and addressing issues of global human rights.

For years, friends encouraged me to try my hand at nonfiction. "Your books already read like it," they said. I told them, "Find me a true story that I can write with the narrative tension and emotional intimacy of a novel and that will captivate readers from the first page to the last, and I'll tell it."

Wastelands is that story. I hope to write many more like it.

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What Readers Are Saying

"If you like stories of good people struggling to do right in the world's forgotten places, there is no one better suited to take you on the ride of your life."


New York Times Bestselling Author

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Elsie Herring, Duplin County, NC (Wastelands)
Elsie's Home in Duplin County (Wastelands)
Violet Branch, Duplin County, NC (Wastelands)
Woodell McGowan, Duplin County, NC (Wastelands)
The Founders of Smithfield Foods, Smithfield, VA (Wastelands)
An Industrial Hog Operation from Above (Wastelands)
Flying in Hog Country with Rick Dove (Wastelands)
A Sprayfield in Hog Country (Wastelands)
Tom Butler's Farm, Harnett County, NC (Wastelands)
Inside a Hog Barn
Tom Butler on Covered Lagoon (Wastelands)
Backpacking with Mike Kaeske (Wastelands)
Hiking in Cedar Mesa with Mike Kaeske (Wastelands)
Mona Lisa Wallace, Mike Kaeske and the Hog Farm Legal Team
Sunrise over Malaysia (Harvest)
Bangladeshi Worker in Malaysia (Harvest)
Bangladeshi Workers in Malaysia (Harvest)
Tazreen Fashions Factory, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Harvest)
Survivors of Tazreen Fire, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Harvest)
Garment Factory, Bangladesh (Harvest)
Streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh (Harvest)
Garment Worker and Children, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Harvest)
Amman, Jordan in Spring (Harvest)
Mount Nebo, Jordan (Harvest)
Boa Vista, Cape Verde (Harvest)
Male, Seychelles (Tears)
La Digue, Seychelles (Tears)
USS Truman in Arabian Sea (Tears)
USS Gettysburg, Arabian Sea (Tears)
USS Gettysburg, Persian Gulf (Tears)
Mogadishu, Somalia (Tears)
AMISOM Convoy, Mogadishu, Somalia (Tears)
Leadership at Hawa Abdi Village, Somalia (Tears)
Refugee Camp, Hawa Abdi Village, Somalia (Tears)
AMISOM Convoy, Hawa Abdi Village, Somalia (Tears)
Somali Refugee, Dadaab, Kenya (Tears)
Somali Aid Worker, Dadaab, Kenya (Tears)
Termite Mound, Dadaab, Kenya (Tears)
UN Convoy, Dadaab, Kenya (Tears)
School, Lusaka, Zambia (Garden)
Aid Worker, Lusaka, Zambia (Garden)
Aid Workers, Lusaka, Zambia (Garden)
Friends, Livingstone, Zambia (Garden)
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (Garden)
Zambezi River, Zambia (Garden)
Aid Workers and Children, Johannesburg, South Africa (Garden)
Cape Town, South Africa (Garden)
Mumbai, India at Night (Walk)
Grant Road Brothels, Mumbai (Walk)
Train, Mumbai, India (Walk)
Mumbai Cityscape (Walk)
Goa, India (Walk)
Fishing Boat, Goa (Walk)
Rickshaw, Mumbai, India (Walk)
Festival of Holi, Mumbai, India (Walk)
South Mumbai Skyline (Walk)
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