D'Ambrosio was raised in Philadelphia, Pa., and Bangkok, Thailand. He graduated The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., with a B.A. in political science and history.
D'Ambrosio published the novel, Cold Rolled Dead, and has written extensively about New Jersey's culture of political corruption, and the need for greater public access to government records.
"Fighting New Jersey's Tax Crush" (2009), which D'Ambrosio edited and co-wrote, was named a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
As both editor and writer, he has also won and shared in the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Farfel Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting, the National Headliner awards for Public Service and Series Writing, two Associated Press Managing Editors' awards for Public Service, the Clark Mollenhoff Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting, three National Press Club awards for consumer journalism, and three  Brechner Freedom of Information awards.
He lives in New Jersey. He has been a visiting professor at Syracuse University, New York, and has lectured at other universities including Harvard and Southern California.
His debut novel, Cold Rolled Dead, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award in 2007, and was a best-seller for several weeks on Amazon.com's Techno-thriller list. His work has been compared to Tom Clancy and Mario Puzo. The Beachcomber review called it an "exciting first novel...(with a) narrative that makes The Godfather seem quaint and naive.... The Asbury Park Press, D'Ambrosio's employer, called the novel "... a page-turner with hefty detail on police procedure ... and human nature at its darkest....
D'Ambrosio is a national expert in a field of journalism called computer-assisted reporting, which uses various programs to analyze government data. An unnamed precursor to DataUniverse was launched in the Spring of 2005 by D'Ambrosio, and the full DataUniverse was launched on the Asbury Park Press's website, on December 1, 2006. The site is programmed and maintained by D'Ambrosio. DataUniverse now contains more than two dozen databases from crime records to property sale information, and garners about 1 million page views a week. The DataUniverse model has been widely duplicated throughout the Gannett newspaper chain and other news outlets.