Bryan Denson is a veteran journalist who specializes in telling hard-to-get stories in long-form narratives. He prefers offbeat tales requiring investigative lock-picking, followed by deep immersion into the lives of his characters to reveal the souls of their stories.
Bryan's 33-year career at five daily newspapers, most recently The Houston Post and The Oregonian, helped uncover scandal in the government’s biggest work program for disabled Americans; pressured the U.S. Air Force to rewrite deadly flight manual instructions for its primary transport plane; and exposed wasteful and duplicative efforts to clone monkeys at a national primate lab. His stories also have laid bare Social Security’s glacial process of awarding disability benefits to those who desperately need them while wasting billions on those who don’t. Bryan’s award-winning series, “The Slaying of a Generation,” chronicled a 300 percent increase in the gunfire deaths of Houston's African-American teens in the early 1990s.
His work has explained how the FBI’s sloth in a multiple-murder investigation inadvertently caused the rape of a teen-age girl. It showed how a small-town police department wrote $1 million in speeding tickets in just six months on a patch of highway outside its jurisdiction. And his series "Death Without Decorum" uncovered horrifying abuses by funeral home operators across the Lone Star State.
Bryan's award-winning narrative “Grave Injustice” explored the global black market for Native American antiquities through the prism of Jack Lee Harelson, the most prolific looter and grave robber in the American West. Harelson’s crimes – including the attempted murder-for-hire of a business partner, two judges, and the cop who brought him to justice – was the subject of a truTV special: “Grave Robber.”
The Spy’s Son takes readers deep into life inside a CIA family, a federal prison, and into the colorful world of spies and spy catchers on four continents. The book was released by The Atlantic Monthly Press on May 5, 2015, and is now for sale in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and soon in Russia and Estonia. Film rights were purchased by Paramount Pictures.
Bryan has been awarded scores of national and regional journalism honors. He is a winner of the George Polk Award, the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award, and was named a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize in national reporting. Denson was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, a second-place finisher in The Society for Features Journalism for news series and projects, and an honorable mention for the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. The Spy's Son, Bryan's first book, was a finalist for the William E. Colby Award.
He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his 17-year-old son, Holden.