Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert D. Zimmerman  

Pen Name: RD Zimmerman, Robert Alexander

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1952 in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Zimmerman was born and raised in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Robert D. Zimmerman is an author of mysteries, psychological thrillers, and historical fiction. He studied Russian in college. After graduating, he worked in the Soviet Union for the US Information Service. His historical fiction are Russian themed and written under the pen name Robert Alexander. His book, ''The Kitchen Boy'', is soon to become a major motion picture. Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood (''The Pianist'', ''The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,'' ''Quartet'') has written the script, and Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2008 for ''The Counterfeiters'', will direct. Kristin Scott Thomas will star as Tsarina Alexandra Romanov in the fictionalized tale of the tumultuous final ruling days of Tsar Nicholas II before he and his family were banished to Siberia.Zimmerman currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Closet: A Todd Mills Mystery
ISBN: 0385320043

Delta. 1997

It began with a brutal attack in a posh Minneapolis neighborhood. And from the first killing to the next, Todd Mills was at the center of the story. The son of Polish immigrants, Todd had changed his name and risen to the top of his field as a TV news reporter, winning two Emmy Awards along the way. Then his world came crashing down. Suddenly, the double life he'd hidden for so long was brutally uncovered: he was the secret lover of the first man to die.

When Michael was murdered, Todd lost everything--including a life lived as a lie. Now he's out of the closet and under suspicion, desperately investigating the killings himself, moving through a world of gay bars, steamy nightclubs, and double identities--where the one secret that matters most belongs to a killer who will strike again . . . and again.

Tribe: A Todd Mills Mystery
ISBN: 0385320027

Delta. 1997

All he remembered was the furtive encounter, the terror of discovery, the burning cigarette. . . and the voyeur on the fire escape plummeting to his death. For twenty years, Todd Mills was safe, closeted, building his career as a two-time Emmy Award-winning TV reporter. He had it all--until his double life became front-page news. Since his lover's murder, Todd hadn't worked. It was the first pause in his professional life.

Now he's out, warily beginning a romance with police detective Steve Rawlins, when an old friend, an ex-girlfriend, calls for help. The son she gave up for adoption years before has found her--and left his baby. Now she and the baby are being stalked by a cult of zealots who will stop at nothing to reclaim the child. But as Todd steps into the firing range of The Congregation, he's forced to face the nightmare of his own buried past, as murderous secrets return to kill again. . . .

Hostage (Todd Mills)
ISBN: 0385318928

Delta. 1998

Todd Mills is getting ready for the coup of his career: an exclusive interview with right-wing congressman Johnny Clariton, whose positions against gay rights and AIDS research promise to make his appearance with Minneapolis's only openly gay journalist an explosive television event. Things are also getting pleasantly serious between Todd and Steve Rawlins, although Rawlins' grieving over the recent end of his closest friend's long struggle with AIDS is beginning to take its physical toll on the police detective.

Coup turns to chaos, and grief to despair, when Todd's interview ends with the Congressman abducted by gun-wielding kidnappers--and a tragic discovery puts an unsuspecting Rawlins on the trail of the abductors, a trio of unlikely domestic terrorists in the final stages of AIDS, willing to risk what's left of their lives to give violent expression to their desperate AIDS rage. Their goal: to make the world know what it's like to live--and die--with AIDS. Their weapons: a Congressman, a video camera, and a syringe full of HIV-infected blood. Their conduit to the global viewing audience: Todd Mills, who knows more about their plans--and has more at stake--than he first realizes.

Unsettling, unpredictable and unapologetic in its dramatization of such hot-button issues as right-wing hypocrisy, AIDS activism, HIV infection and assisted suicide, Hostage is Zimmerman's darkest and most suspenseful tale yet, a bold step forward for this acclaimed series.

Outburst (Todd Mills Mysteries)
ISBN: 0385323751

Delacorte Press. 1998

Todd Mills is running out of time.

Against his instincts, Todd is lured to the Stone Arch Bridge by an anonymous phone call with promises of a hot blackmail story. Under pressure, and in need of a scoop, Minneapolis television's most well-known (and only) openly gay reporter soon finds that his visit to the bridge does deliver a sensational exclusive, but not the one he is expecting: Todd arrives to see a man murdered, leaving him as the sole witness to the crime.

Todd's lover, city homicide investigator Steve Rawlins, immediately takes on the case. But when a mysterious suspect emerges, the danger only intensifies, for this suspect has a secret, a past, and an identity that isn't what it appears to be. An attempt is made on Rawlins's life in the course of his investigation, and Todd--dragged into the center of the story he's trying to cover--makes a frightening discovery. The murder victim was a police officer, and was gay. The killer, it seems, has developed a taste for watching gay cops die.

And unless Todd and Rawlins are able to put together the pieces of the suspect's meticulously concealed past, the consequences may prove deadly--for them both.

Innuendo (Todd Mills)
ISBN: 0385319266

Delta. 2000

Tim Chase walked across the room and flashed Todd Mills his megawatt smile. Stunned, Todd almost forgot the ugliness swirling around them both. For Chase, Hollywood's hottest star, it's the rumors that claim he is gay--and that his high-profile marriage is a sham. For Todd, an award-winning TV reporter, it's a murder case that has put his relationship with policeman Steve Rawlins in jeopardy and spread a deadly chill through Minneapolis's gay world.
The victim was a young man on the run from his past. Somewhere, Rawlins met the boy, and now Todd believes Rawlins offered him more than guidance. While Todd is getting a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a very personal interview with Tim Chase, he suddenly realizes that the murder may touch the actor and his entourage. And now the story is not about Innuendo. It's about the secrets that rage behind public masquerades. Including the kind that kill... .

Death Trance: A Novel of Hypnotic Detection
ISBN: 0688114512

William Morrow & Co. 1992

A blind, paraplegic detective uses forensic hypnosis to delve into her brother's past and uncover clues to his lover's murder

Blood Trance
ISBN: 068812139X

William Morrow & Co. 1993

Answering Loretta's desperate plea for help, unemployed technical writer Alex arrives at Loretta's house to find her evil stepmother, Helen, lying in a pool of blood. 15,000 first printing. $10,000 ad/promo.

The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar (A Romanov Novel)
ISBN: 0142003816

Penguin Books. 2004

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient), directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters)

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs’ brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family’s murder? Historically vivid and compelling, The Kitchen Boy is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.

"Ingenious...Keeps readers guessing through the final pages." —USA Today

Rasputin's Daughter: A Novel (A Romanov Novel)
ISBN: 0143038656

Penguin Books. 2006

From the author of the national bestseller The Kitchen Boy comes a gripping historical novel about imperial Russia’s most notorious figure

Called “brilliant” by USA Today, Robert Alexander’s historical novel The Kitchen Boy swept readers back to the doomed world of the Romanovs. His latest masterpiece once again conjures those turbulent days in a fictional drama of extraordinary depth and suspense. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Maria Rasputin—eldest of the Rasputin children—recounts her infamous father’s final days, building a breathless narrative of intrigue, excess, and conspiracy that reveals the shocking truth of her father’s end and the identity of those who arranged it. What emerges is a nail-biting, richly textured new take on one of history’s most legendary episodes.

The Romanov Bride: A Novel (A Romanov Novel)
ISBN: 0143115073

Penguin Books. 2009

The bestselling tale of Romanov intrigue from the author of The Kitchen Boy

Book groups and historical fiction buffs have made Robert Alexander's two previous novels word-of-mouth favorites and national bestsellers. Set against a backdrop of Imperial Russia's twilight, The Romanov Bride has the same enduring appeal. The Grand Duchess Elisavyeta's story begins like a fairy tale-a German princess renowned for her beauty and kind heart marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the Romanov's lavish court. Her husband, however, rules his wife as he does Moscow-with a cold, hard fist. And, after a peaceful demonstration becomes a bloodbath, the fires of the revolution link Elisavyeta's destiny to that of Pavel-a young Bolshevik-forever.

The Cross and the Sickle
ISBN: 0821713124

Zebra. 1984

The Red Encounter
ISBN: 0380750511

Avon Books. 1986

Vera Karansky, a Russian computer expert, is forced by the KGB to attempt to steal top secret information on America's Strategic Defense Initiative

Murder Most Artful (Bepuzzled Ser.)
ISBN: 0922242003

Lombard Marketing. 1987

Blood Russian

Ballantine Books. 1987

ISBN: 1556111371

Donald I. Fine. 1989

Mindscream: A Medical Thriller, by Zimmerman, R.D.

Deadfall in Berlin
ISBN: 155611222X

Donald I. Fine. 1990

A young boy living in war-torn Berlin witnesses the murder of a cabaret singer and, thirty years later, he must remember the identity of the murderer or become his next victim



  • Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Mystery, 1995
  • Outburst

  • Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Mystery, 1998

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