“Peter Edwards knows how the real bad guys eat, sleep and breathe, and on the page brings them to life – even the dead ones – better than any other true crime writer.”—Linwood Barclay, international bestselling author
“Canadian gangsta shit. That stuff is hard.” – Snoop Dogg, television critic and rapper
Peter Edwards is the author of seventeen books, the organized crime beat reporter at The Toronto Star and a producer with Juliet Forrester in Top Left Entertainment.
He spent the first eleven years of his life in Lytton, British Columbia, a strange but happy village with no streetlights or elevators between several First Nations communities. Lytton was almost totally destroyed by a sudden fire in June 2021 and has become an international flashpoint for the dangers of climate change and global warming.
His father Kenneth was the region’s only doctor, sometimes paid with salmon speared from the Fraser River. His mother Winona was an avid, perceptive, passionate writer who pioneered the benign neglect school of child-rearing while raising their four children. His father sometimes dabbled in journalism, and once wrote in a medical journal that it’s better to have a fence at the top of a cliff than an ambulance waiting at the bottom of it. Edwards remains best-known in Lytton for winning the junior boys’ category of a baking contest with a French apple pie, in a competition marred by the disqualification of several competitors for using store-bought mixes. He plans to buy a summer home on the outskirts of Lytton immediately after winning the lottery.
There were about twice as many people (about 700) in his high school, Central Secondary in London, Ont. as in all of Lytton. He went to Western University (formerly University of Western Ontario) where he received an Hons. BA in Canadian History and a Masters degree in Journalism.
Edwards was named to the university’s Alumni Gallery of Distinction in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Not long after that, the university changed its name and erased all mention of the Gallery of Distinction. Edwards claims not to take this personally.
Before heading off to the work world, Edwards took a year off school to pursue his love of judo while supporting himself working in a pub in Soho, London. He was thrown, choked, arm barred and pinned by some of the best fighters in the world and still considers that year a great investment of his time.
He has since worked for newspapers in Woodstock, Ont., London, Ont., Vancouver, Saskatoon, Whitehorse and Regina before landing in Toronto. He worked as a copy editor, sports writer and briefly as an entertainment editor, before drifting into organized crime reporting. He has written for The Toronto Star for more than thirty years.
Ten of his sixteen non-fiction books are on organized crime. He was also author of a young adult novel, The Biker’s Brother, published by Annick Press.
Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War, which was co-written with Antonio Nicaso, was developed by New Metric Media and developed into a TV mini series called “Bad Blood,” starring Kim Coates, Anthony LaPaglia and Paul Sorvino. Edwards was an executive producer and consultant on the project, which is called “Bad Blood” and marketed internationally by Sky Vision. Simon Barry was the original head writer on the project and Michael Konyves deserves credit for writing Season 2.
Among the show’s fans is Snoop Dogg, who posted, from the back of a limo a spontaneous review which included: “Yo. Hot show alert, hot show alert. Netflix. ‘Bad Blood.’ That mutha fukka hard… I’m just a fan of this shit and that’s some good shit. It’s called ‘Bad Blood’ and it’s on Netflix.”
Season 1 of “Bad Blood” first appeared on Netflix worldwide on December 7, 2018, followed by Season 2.
Bad Blood debuted on City and FX in September 2017. Business or Blood became a Globe and Mail and Toronto Starbest-seller again after Random House re-released it that month under the title Bad Blood: The End of Honour.
Edwards was a consultant for the movie One Dead Indian, which won three Gemini Awards and was nominated for another four. He covered Ipperwash with Harold Levy of the Toronto Star for years, benefitting both from Levy’s idealism and keen sense of humour. Edwards’s coverage earned him an eagle feather from the Union of Ontario Indians and a gold medal from the Centre for Human Rights. A particularly poignant moment came when he was a pallbearer at the funeral of the late Sam George, who sacrificed his health in a tireless effort to obtain justice after his brother Dudley’s death.
Edwards has received awards from Amnesty International’s Orillia chapter, the Saskatchewan Reporters Association and the Ontario Reporters Association but still secretly smarts about the university’s Gallery of Distinction debacle. He was a member of a Toronto Star team that won a National Newspaper Award for spot news coverage and also received an honourable mention in sports-writing for a series he worked on with the late Randy Starkman.
His books on organized crime has been translated into French, German and Italian and published across North America, Europe and Australia. The Bandido Massacre has its own website, designed by Jefferson Rabb. His book Delusion on Victorian superspy Henri Le Caron made it onto the CIA’s “Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf” and was called a “well-documented corrective to an intriguing spy story.” Edwards has beenhttps://www.thestar.com/initiatives/speakers-bureau.html interviewed about organized crime for the BBC, CBC, CTV, CBS.com and the Mob Stories series for History Television and frequently lectures on organized crime and journalism at several universities and colleges. He often begins his talks by paraphrasing Keith Richards and saying, “It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere.”