A Seattle native, Wyler’s parents died early,leaving him on his own by the time he entered college. He supported himself with various jobs including being a fry cook at a drive-in and a professional musician playing drums for various local blues and jazz groups. In his first year of medical school, he knew he wanted to specialize in neurosurgery. Upon graduating from residency he started on the faculty of the University of Washington and then the University of Tennessee where he developed an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. In 1992 the prestigious Swedish Medical Center recruited him back to Seattle to develop a neuroscience institute.
Wyler’s love of thrillers began in 1974 on his way to Cincinnati to take the oral boards in neurosurgery. At SeaTac airport he picked up a copy of William Goldman’s Marathon Man to read on the flight. He became so engrossed he stayed up all night to finish it before stoking up on coffee and meeting with the examiners. He aced the exam.
Wyler develops plots from actual events in his practice. While serving on a committee charged with selecting the medical center’s new computerized medical record system he wondered what might happen if the software had a random bug. From this came the story line for Deadly Errors, his 2005 thriller that has been subsequently translated into several foreign languages, including Russian. Crime Spree Magazine wrote:
“There is a grand tradition of medical thrillers in the suspense field – hardly surprising since medicine is one place where life’s rubber really meets the road. A new entry, Deadly Errors, by a new author, Allen Wyler, is right up there with the best.”
Much of the background for Dead Head, a story about keeping a detached head alive for the information in the brain, was derived from Wyler’s own research on recording the brain’s electrical activity. As Adam Woog (Seattle Times) wrote:
“Wyler’s premise is deliriously over-the-top… (You’ll notice I’m avoiding any cracks about how fiction writing ain’t brain surgery.) But the story barrels right along, and, as Wyler points out in an afterword, the science of maintaining a disembodied head is already chillingly close to reality.”
Wyler’s third thriller, DEAD END DEAL, originated a few years ago, he was a guest lecturer at a medical center in Seoul, South Korea. He wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a foreign country hunted by police because of being framed for a murder.
In 2002 he left active practice to become Medical Director for a start-up medical technology company, Northstar Neuroscience, which went public (NSTR) in 2006. At the end of 2007 he retired to devote full time to writing.