Kevin Brooks was born in Manningtree, Essex, England in 1959, but grew up in Exeter, Devon. It took Brooks awhile to achieve his dream of becoming a writer. He had many unusual jobs before his first book, Martyn Pig, was published, such as crematorium assistant, snack vendor at the London Zoo, and civil servant. Brooks says that when he was in school he was, “Mostly confused and a little bit scared – pretty much the same as I am now!” He hoped that when he grew up he would become a writer, a vet, or a rock star. After he failed to become a rock star, he pursued writing, which turned out to be his true calling.
Though the musical career did not work out, Brooks still loves music. His favorite bands are Joy Division, The Cure, The Fall, The Jesus and Mary Chains, and Velvet Underground. His favorite books are Westerns, “From the early Westerns of Elmore Leonard, J.T. Edson, and Louis L'Amour, all the way through to the more recent Westerns of writers like Thomas Eidson, Cormac McCarthy, and Larry McMurtry.” The Road of the Dead was extremely influenced by Westerns, especially when it comes to the setting of Dartmoor.
Brooks begin writing a book with the two brothers, Cole and Reuben, about a year before he wrote Road of the Dead, but it was not turning out the way he hoped, so he set that project aside. He still loved those characters though, so he worked them into The Road of the Dead.