Abbott, Jeff 1963-
Abbott, Jeff 1963-
Born 1963, in Dallas, TX; married; children: two sons. Education: Rice University, B.A., 1985.
Home—Austin, TX. E-mail—[email protected]
IBM, Austin, TX, manager for worldwide communications, 1991-98; Vignette, Austin, director of marketing communications, 1998-99; nFusion, Austin, vice president and creative director, 2000-03; currently freelance writer.
Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, Mystery Writers of America, for Black Jack Point and Cut and Run; Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for best short story, Mystery Writers of America, for "Bet on Red"; Agatha Award and Macavity Award, Mystery Readers International, both for Do unto Others.
"JORDAN POTEET" SERIES
Do unto Others, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1994.
The Only Good Yankee, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Promises of Home, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Distant Blood, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1996.
"WHIT MOSLEY" SERIES
A Kiss Gone Bad, New American Library (New York, NY), 2001.
Black Jack Point, Onyx (New York, NY), 2002.
Cut and Run, Onyx (New York, NY), 2003.
Panic, Dutton (New York, NY), 2005.
Fear, Dutton (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to anthologies, including And the Dying Is Easy, 2001, High Stakes, 2003, Best American Mystery Stories, Death Do Us Part, Greatest Hits, Damn Near Dead, and The World's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. Abbott's books have been translated into Japanese, German, Chinese, Polish, Russian, Norwegian, Dutch, French, Thai, Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Estonian.
Panic has been optioned for film by the Weinstein Company.
After working as a communications and marketing director, Jeff Abbott broke into crime and mystery writing with his debut novel, Do untoOthers. This was the first of a humor-laced series featuring Texas librarian and amateur sleuth Jordan Poteet. Since then, Abbott has also produced a darker crime series starring a Texas justice of the peace, Whit Mosley, and the thriller novels Panic and Fear. The author has said that his main goal in writing his novels is to entertain, noting that both plot and character are important to him. "I try to strike a balance between plot and character," he told Mike Stotter in Shots Magazine. "It's easy to be caught up in a cool premise for a suspense story, but unless that plot is populated by characters that resonate with the reader, it's just a writing exercise."
A native Texan himself, Abbott set his first two series in his home state, and critics have commented on the colorful characters that populate his novels. The Jordan Poteet books are about a Boston man who settles in Mirabeau, Texas, to take care of his aging mother. Although he lacks a master's degree in library science, he is hired as the small town's local librarian. In Do unto Others Poteet finds himself falsely accused of killing an irritating woman who had been badgering him about what she felt were smutty books on the library's shelves. Booklist critic Emily Melton felt that the "action is flashy, and the ending is heartwarming." A Publishers Weekly writer complained that Abbott attempts to cover too many thematic topics within the span of a short book, but added that the story offers "a bright, often funny portrayal of the social mechanics of a small town."
Poteet faces other challenges in further installments of the series, such as a mad bomber in The Only Good Yankee and coming to terms with the identity of his real father in Distant Blood. Critics have found these further adventures of the librarian to be more or less successful. A Publishers Weekly contributor appreciated the "sweet and sour Southern charm" of The Only Good Yankee and concluded that the novel is "escapist fare that's as good as it gets."
Abbott began a new series featuring Whit Mosley, a laid-back Texas justice who partners with police detective Claudia Salazar to investigate crimes. The very professional Salazar serves as a stark contrast to Mosley, who does not even have a law degree and does not mind skirting the rules. This becomes particularly clear in the novel Cut and Run, in which Mosley tracks down his mother in Houston. She has become involved in organized crime, and the judge decides he needs to get tough on the crooks who threaten her. A Publishers Weekly reviewer remarked that the mother-son relationship in the story "rings false" but that overall the work "should gratify Abbott's fans."
After completing three Whit Mosley books, Abbott went on to write the stand-alone thrillers Panic and Fear. In the former, filmmaker Evan Casher learns after his mother is murdered that his parents were actually spies. Now Casher is himself a target of another group of spies known as the Deeps, who are after him because they believe he has an important computer file. A Publishers Weekly critic called Panic a "superior, fast-paced thriller," while Booklist contributor David Wright similarly described it as a "near-perfect thriller." In Fear a former mobster now in the federal witness protection program has to put himself in danger again after his psychiatrist is murdered. He begins to uncover a nefarious plot surrounding a new drug used to treat post-traumatic psychological disorders. Mike Shea commented in Texas Monthly that "Abbott has a genuine knack for the bang-up finish." A Publishers Weekly writer predicted that "few who start this book will stop turning the pages."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Armchair Detective, fall, 1995, Donald H. Buck, review of The Only Good Yankee, p. 457; spring, 1997, J. Clifford Kaspar, review of Distant Blood, pp. 224-225.
Booklist, October 1, 1994, Emily Melton, review of Do unto Others, p. 241; August, 2005, David Wright, review of Panic, p. 1997; August 1, 2006, David Wright, review of Fear, p. 45.
Library Journal, August 1, 2005, Jeff Ayers, review of Panic, p. 64.
Publishers Weekly, October 10, 1994, review of Do unto Others, p. 66; March 27, 1995, review of The Only Good Yankee, p. 82; October 14, 1996, review of Distant Blood, p. 81; September 17, 2001, review of A Kiss Gone Bad, p. 62; October 6, 2003, review of Cut and Run, p. 67; July 11, 2005, review of Panic, p. 56; June 12, 2006, review of Fear, p. 30.
Texas Monthly, August, 2006, Mike Shea, review of Fear, p. 60.
Tribune Books, November 4, 2001, Dick Adler, review of A Kiss Gone Bad, p. 2.
Books 'n' Bytes,http://wwwbooksnbytes.com/ (October, 2001), Harriet Klausner, review of A Kiss Gone Bad; (September, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Black Jack Point.
Jeff Abbott Home Page,http://www.jeffabbott.com (March 22, 2007).
Jeff Abbott MySpace site,http://www.myspace.com/ jeffabbottbooks (March 22, 2007).
Mystery One Bookstore,http://www.mysteryone.com/ (November 26, 2001), Jon Jordan, interview with Abbott.
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (September 10, 2004), Thea Davis, review of A Kiss Gone Bad, and Jennifer Monahan Winberry, review of Black Jack Point.
Romantic Times Book Club,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (September 10, 2004), Toby Bromberg, reviews of A Kiss Gone Bad and Black Jack Point.
Shots Magazine,http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (March 22, 2007), Mike Stotter, "Jeff Abbott Quizzed by Mike Stotter."