Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author.
(1955- ) US scriptwriter and author whose nonfiction, mostly on military matters, culminated in The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians; Why It Has Always Failed (2002), which advocates preemptive strikes against nations deemed to support terrorists; his optimistic take on the consequences of such actions makes this a historical document of some interest. He is best known for The Alienist (1994) and its sequel, The Angel of Darkness (1997), both set in a densely atmospheric, heightened version of New York a century ago, but without moving into the fantastic. Their basic (anachronistic) structure – a psychologist creates the concept of the psychological profile to track down serial killers, whose crimes may have been committed years in the past – is recirculated in Killing Time: A Novel of the Future (2000), which despite its subtitle is sf: a psychiatrist in 2023 uses Information Technology to trace down the twin sisters who, as an exceedingly complicated plot uncovers, killed an earlier American president. The world in which this takes place exhibits familiar Near Future characteristics: pollution so bad it is unsafe to go outdoors; a Pandemic of some sort which has savagely reduced world population; bad news in the stock market; corruptions of information everywhere. The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (2005) is a fairly successful pastiche of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. [JC]
born New York: 2 August 1955
- Killing Time: A Novel of the Future (New York: Random House, 2000) [hb/Kamil Vojnar]
- The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2005) [hb/]
- The Legend of Broken (New York: Random House, 2012) [hb/]
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