Also writes as Shirley Kennett.

• “THE MORTAL PATH is a novel to be savored for both its edge of suspense and the pure joy of its storytelling. Part immortal, all human, Maliha is a heroine who will leave readers breathless and craving more. Not to be missed!” (James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Map of Bones and Black Order)

• “Chilling, thrilling, and a page turner!” (Heather Graham, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Killing Edge)

• “A passionate, fascinating story packed with action and history. Three hundred years ago, Maliha Crayne was burned at the stake. Now she’s in a race against time to save the world and her soul, and you’ll be with her step by step.” (David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of The Brotherhood of the Rose)

• “Twisted. Action packed. Tons of fun. Dakota Banks slams you through a wild tale of mayhem and murder. You’ll love every page.” (Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown)

• “Sweeping across continents and centuries, THE MORTAL PATH by Dakota Banks is story-telling at its most vivid. The characters are fascinating, the plot nail-biting, and the period pieces memorable. Curl up in your favorite chair - entertainment is guaranteed.” (Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Spymaster)

• “Fans of supernatural and dark fantasy will be intrigued by Maliha Crayne’s quest to save her soul.” (Publishers Weekly)

• “DELIVERANCE is a gut-kick of a read, with non-stop action and as inventive a world as I’ve ever seen. Maliha Crayne, not a character to be trifled with, could give other Urban Fantasy heroines a pointed lesson in real ass-kicking.” (Vicki Pettersson, author of the bestselling Signs of the Zodiac series on DELIVERANCE)

• “DELIVERANCE by Dakota Banks delivers everything I love in suspense fiction: great characters who jump from the page; a smart, layered plot, and pacing that screams. This is the kind of book that makes you look forward to a rainy day.” (John Gilstrap, author of NATHAN'S RUN and DAMAGE CONTROL)

• “Readers who like their paranormal romantic suspense novels to feature nonstop action, twisting plots, and deadly heroines will devour Banks’ clever and compelling Mortal Path series. Assassins, demons and danger, oh my!” (Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of LOVE YOU MORE)

• “A breakneck ride through worlds visible and invisible - who knew the ancient Sumerians were this thrilling?” (Joseph Finder, NYT bestselling author of BURIED SECRETS)

I have to believe that growing up in a converted turn-of-the-century funeral home, complete with blood gutters and a drain in the basement floor, warped my mind.

I set aside all those macabre thoughts spawned by reading books in the basement at night with a flashlight and undertook a relatively normal life. College, science fiction, husband, computers, Star Trek, mortgage, fantasy, Star Wars, kids, mysteries, writing, thrillers, horror, and cats. I'm not sure in which order all those things happened, but I haven't killed off enough gray cells yet that I've forgotten any of them. That brings me up to now, or at least the last decade.

I wrote short stories in high school and college, submitted them, and got rejection letters. I still have some of them. Writing was shelved while life ran amuck, and I came back to it in the 1990s. I published six books, all hard-edged suspense thrillers dealing with virtual reality, one of them set in a future world. None were written under the Dakota Banks name. I enjoyed these books because they were my first taste of the writing life, not to mention that they brought in some money and put 600,000 published words under my belt.

Something was missing, though, and it took me six books to find out what the missing piece was. Although my books were highly imaginative and extrapolated then-current trends in forensic science, computer simulation, and virtual reality, they didn't go far enough. I felt hemmed in by reality.

I needed to get back into the basement with a flashlight.

I took a deep breath and thought about what I really wanted to do with my writing career. I had an idea that had been playing around at the edge of my mind for a while, and I decided to see what I could make of it. Combining my love of archaeology with the freedom that comes from using mythological elements in a story, I came up with the basic concepts for the Mortal Path series. Developing that world and the characters who bring it to life has been tremendously rewarding for me, and I hope the books provide pleasurable reading for you.

I live on the western fringe of St. Louis, Missouri with my husband. Our two sons, one adopted from Peru and the other from Ethiopia, are out of college and finding their way in life. My cats Snickers, Squeaky, and Marble sometimes ghostwrite my books. Good stuff, too, if you speak Cat.

I'm a member of International Thriller Writers, the Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Other Works

  • The PJ Gray Series, Books 1-5 by Shirley Kennett

    Reprint 2012
  • Burning Rose by Shirley Kennett

    Reprint 2012
  • Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2

  • Dark Time: Mortal Path Book 1


Awards and Recognition

  • Deliverance - USA Best Book Award for Fantasy, 2012