John Temple


Barranca del Cobre Chihuahua Mexico March 2023


Charleston WV Opioid event with President Obama Oct 2015

John Temple is a non-fiction author, investigative journalist, screenwriter and professor.

His four nonfiction books chronicle dramatic stories of ​American life and illuminate critical current events and ​issues. Those narratives include the rise and fall of the ​nation’s largest opioid pill mill as well as a Nevada ranching ​family’s notorious armed standoffs with the federal ​government. John has spoken across the country about the ​roots of the opioid epidemic and has written for the ​Washington Post, Daily Beast, HuffPo, and other major ​media outlets. He has appeared many times as an expert ​on national television, radio, and podcasts.

In recent years, John has turned his attention to ​screenwriting, including his work as a staff writer on the ​2023 Showtime drama TV series Waco: The Aftermath. ​He is a professor at the University of Hawai’i.


American Pain (2015) was the king of the Florida pill mills, a mega-clinic expressly created to serve addicts posing as patients. From a fortress-like former bank building, American Pain’s doctors distributed massive quantities of oxycodone to hundreds of customers a day, mostly traffickers and addicts who came by the vanload. Inked muscle-heads ran the clinic’s security. Former strippers operated the pharmacy, counting out pills and stashing cash in garbage bags. Under their lab coats, the doctors carried guns—and it was all legal… sort of.

John and his writing partner and wife, Hollee, have written a feature film screenplay adaptation of American Pain.

* Finalist for the Edgar® Award in Best Fact Crime

* New York Post, “The Post’s Favorite Books of 2015”

* Suspense Magazine’s “Best True Crime Books of 2015”

* Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year in True Crime

* Publishers Weekly, Big Indie Book of Fall 2015

Up in Arms (2019) chronicles how an isolated clan of desert-dwelling Mormons became the guiding light of America’s Patriot movement. The nation was riveted in 2014 when hundreds of armed Bundy supporters forced federal agents to abandon a court-ordered cattle roundup. Then in 2016, the Bundys led a 41-day armed takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon. A propulsive narrative populated by rifle-toting cowboys, apocalyptic militiamen, undercover infiltrators, and the devout Bundys themselves.

“[An] intelligent, impeccably researched deep dive into two clashes between the federal government and right-wing antigovernment protesters . . . Temple’s even-handed and painstaking reportage yields a clear and unbiased portrait of this subsection of the movement.” —Publishers Weekly

“Give[s] the reader the information needed to decide whether he or she belongs on Team Bundy or Team Fed—or neither.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“If you want to understand the extremist militia groups popping up around the country lately, you need to start with Nevada’s notorious Bundy clan. Temple shines a light on the people as well as the religious, political and economic factors that gave rise to this dangerous movement.” —The Revelator

The Last Lawyer (2009) is the true, inside story of how an idealistic legal genius and his diverse band of investigators and fellow attorneys fought to overturn a client's final sentence. It received the 2010 Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers.

Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner's Office (2005) chronicles the exploits of a diverse team of investigators at a coroner's office in Pittsburgh.

John was a staff writer for this season of television, with credited bylines on three of the five episodes.

Waco: The Aftermath, (2023) starring Michael Shannon and Giovanni Ribisi, is a five-part Showtime drama series portraying the searing aftermath of the disastrous FBI 1993 standoff at the Branch Davidian compound – an event that helped radicalize Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and many others. For better or for worse, the actions and decisions of that fateful spring galvanized American militia movements and helped catalyze events that led up to the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Co-written with his wife, Hollee, and composer sons Gideon and Hank, Star Machine is the family's first musical collaboration! John & Hollee wrote the book for the show while their sons wrote the music and lyrics. We’re workshopping it at Baldwin Wallace University.

It's May 2002 when Jaz, a Juillliard dropout who is desperately trying to break into the LA music scene, lands on an outrageous TV talent show that's about to become a national sensation (any resemblance to American Idol is purely coincidental, we swear).

With an early '00s-influenced pop-rock score, Star Machine is a comedic romp through the triumphs and rock-bottoms of one of the most ridiculous arenas of show biz.

Beat Down is a feature film about a down-on-his-luck schemer from a West Virginia boxing family who comes home to borrow money from his mother, a two-time world champion, and winds up fighting in a rowdy amateur boxing competition.

Shot in West Virginia and North Carolina in April and May, 2023, Beat Down won Best Feature and Best in Festival at its April 2024 premiere at the Appalachian Film Festival. Beat Down was directed by Curren Sheldon, written by John Temple, and produced by Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Curren Sheldon, John Temple and Hollee Temple.

Beckley WV April 2023




Mother Jones article, March 9, 2021

CNBC Power Lunch appearance, August 28, 2019

Washington Post article, Oct. 5, 2020

HuffPost article, Jan. 22, 2018

NPR’s On The Media podcast episode, Sept. 4, 2020

CSPAN episode, March 21, 2018

Washington Post article, Sept. 4, 2020

American Greed episode, July 7, 2016

Dave Pell’s Next Draft post, Feb. 11, 2020

Washington Post review, Jan. 8, 2016

The Conversation article, Oct. 23, 2019

New York Post article, Dec. 26, 2015

KTLA Morning Show appearance, July 8, 2019

Daily Beast article, Oct. 21, 2015

Publishers Weekly review, 2019

USA Today review, Sept. 20, 2015

Publishers Weekly review, 2015

Variety article, Nov. 19, 2014


John and Hollee





Email ME

Photo Gallery

speaking, reporting, production

Fort Lauderdale FL American Greed taping Dec 2015
Nevada UP IN ARMS reporting trip May 2018
Palomas Mexico Reporting trip March 2023
Santa Fe NM WACO THE AFTERMATH set May 2022
Pittsburgh PA Temple Family Writer s Room STAR MACHINE Summer 2023
Los Angeles CA July 2019
Berea OH Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music 2022
Beckley WV BEATDOWN set April 2023