Bill Sanborn Ballinger was born on March 13, 1912, in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and was educated at the University of Wisconsin. He worked in radio and advertising in the early 1940s. Ballinger wrote 81 radio scripts, then turned to writing novels in 1948, eventually producing about 30 books, including the Joaquin Hawks series. He received the Geneva Grand Master Award for Portrait in Smoke and was nominated for an Edgar in 1958 for The Longest Second. Ballinger also wrote at least 150 teleplays, including scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Ironside. In the late 1970s, he became an associate professor of writing at the California State University Northridge in Los Angeles. Ballinger passed away on March 23, 1980, in Tarzana, California.
- Portrait in Smoke / The Longest Second
- "An extraordinary book… a fascinating, eerie experience in irresistible, non-stop reading."—Anthony Boucher, NY Times. New introduction by Nicholas Litchfield. June 2018.