Abbott Kahler (previously writing as Karen Abbott) is the author of four New York Times bestselling works of narrative nonfiction. A search for an ancestor who went missing in 1905 led her to write Sin in the Second City, which tells the true story of two sisters who ran the world’s most famous brothel and the nationwide battle to shut them down. Her interest in Gypsy Rose Lee, the subject of American Rose, stems from stories her grandmother shared about the legendary ecdysiast’s performances. Liar Temptress Soldier Spy was inspired by a six-year stint in Atlanta, where the ghosts of the Civil War still seem omnipresent. The HBO show Boardwalk Empire introduced her to bootlegger George Remus, the subject of The Ghosts of Eden Park and a character much more fascinating than Al Capone. THEN CAME THE DEVIL, her next nonfiction book, is about a disparate (and scheming) group of settlers on the Galapagos islands in the 1930s. Her debut novel, WHERE YOU END, is inspired by a true story of identical twins and a strange case of amnesia. USA Today once named her “a pioneer of sizzle history.”
Abbott’s books have featured as Indie Next picks, Amazon’s best books of the year, Library Journal’s best books of the year, and Smithsonian Magazine’s best history books of the year. She has also been a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, the Goodreads book award for history, and the Ohioana Book Awards, the second oldest state literary prize in the country. She has written for newyorker.com, New York Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Smithsonian Magazine. She is the host of an iHeartRadio podcast, REMUS: THE MAD BOOTLEG KING, about bootlegger George Remus.
Abbott is a native of Philadelphia, where she spent six years as a journalist, covering crime, advocating for abused women, and hanging out with mafia bosses and baseball wives. She lives in New York City and in Greenport, New York, where she’s convinced her little bungalow is haunted. She appreciates a good poker hand, an old bottle of wine, and the never-ending hunt for new stories to tell.