5 May 2016.
Preston attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he studied mathematics, biology, physics, anthropology, chemistry, geology, and astronomy before settling down to English literature. After graduating, Preston began his career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York as an editor, writer, and finally manager of publications. Preston also taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University and served as managing editor of Curator, a journal for museum professionals. His eight-year stint at the Museum resulted in the non-fiction book, Dinosaurs in the Attic, edited by a rising young star at St. Martin's Press, a polymath by the name of Lincoln Child. During this period, Preston gave Child a midnight tour of the museum, and in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to Preston and said: “This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!” That thriller would, of course, be Relic.
In the year 2000, Preston moved with his family to Florence, Italy, to write a murder mystery set in Tuscany. Instead of writing the novel, however, he became fascinated by the story of a serial killer named il Mostro di Firenze, the Monster of Florence. He teamed up with an Italian journalist, Mario Spezi, who was an expert on the case. In 2008 they published a nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence. The book won numerous journalism awards in both Italy and the United States. Preston has published a number of solo novels, including Tyrannosaur Canyon, Blasphemy, and Impact. His recent novel with Lincoln Child, Cold Vengeance, hit #1 on both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
Preston was Co-President of International Thriller Writers and serves on the Board of Governors of the Authors Guild. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Long Rider’s Guild. In 2011, Pomona College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.