Ablow, Keith Russell 1961-
* Indicates that a listing has been compiled from secondary sources believed to be reliable, but has not been personally verified for this edition by the author sketched.
ABLOW, Keith Russell 1961-
PERSONAL: Born November 23, 1961, in Boston, MA; son of Allan (in business) and Jeanette (a teacher; maiden name, Mezonsky) Ablow; married; wife's name Deborah (an attorney). Education: Brown University, Sc.B. (neuroscience), 1983; Johns Hopkins University, M.D., 1987.
ADDRESSES: Home—12 Forty-ninth Street, Newbury, MA 01951. Agent—Beth Vesel, Beth Vesel Literary Agency, 80 Fifth Ave., Suite 1101, New York, NY 10011.
CAREER: Forensic psychologist and author. Tri-City Mental Health Center, Lynn, MA, medical director and psychiatrist, 1992-94; Heritage Hospital, Somerville, MA, associate medical director and psychiatrist, 1993-94. Correspondent for Medical News Network. Medical director in New England, 1994-96; outpatient psychiatrist, Boston Regional Medical Center, 1996—.
MEMBER: American Medical Writers Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Optimate Award, 1990.
Medical School: Getting In and Staying Human, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989, revised edition, 1990.
(With Raymond J. DePaulo) How to Cope with Depression: A Complete Guide for You and Your Family, McGraw, Hill (New York, NY), 1989.
To Wrestle with Demons: A Psychiatrist Struggles toUnderstand His Patients and Himself, American Psychiatric Press, 1992.
Anatomy of a Psychiatric Illness, American Psychiatric Press, 1993.
The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler: The Doctor WhoBecame a Killer, Free Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Without Mercy: The Shocking True Story of the DoctorWho Murdered, St. Martin's Mass Paperback (New York, NY), 1996.
"FRANK CLEVENGER" SERIES
Denial (novel), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1997.
Projection: A Novel of Terror and Redemption, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1999.
Compulsion (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Columnist for Washington Post and Mental Health Infosource Web site. Also creator and executive producer of Expert Witness (telelvision pilot), CBS, 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A fifth "Clevenger" mystery.
SIDELIGHTS: Forensic psychiatrist Keith Russell Ablow has written a number of nonfiction books relating to his field of study. In addition, beginning in 1997, Ablow left the boundaries of nonfiction and made a name for himself in the crime-fiction genre with a series of novels that includes Denial, Projection: A Novel of Terror and Redemption, and Compulsion.
According to Christopher Cox in a Boston Herald article, when Ablow decided to begin his second career as a novelist, he started with the basics, studying the writing styles of such authors as John Steinbeck. His strategy worked: in 1997 Ablow's debut novel, Denial, was published by Pantheon. Denial marks the debut of forensic psychiatrist Frank Clevenger, described by Cox as "a gambling, ponytailed, authority-baiting, bad-as-he-wants-to-be" doctor who investigates murders. Clevenger enjoys the wealth that comes with his position, but he also has his share of demons, including an abusive childhood and bouts with cocaine. "I've never found it interesting in literature or in life to hear stories of joy and pleasure," Ablow explained to Cox in describing the creation of his flawed protagonist.
In Denial Clevenger is called upon to investigate the brutal mutilation of a young woman. The police's chief suspect is a schizophrenic man who believes he is General William Westmoreland; Clevenger knows otherwise and goes on the hunt for a possible serial slasher. Booklist reviewer Gilbert Taylor lauded the novel as a "clever and tense debut." To a Publishers Weekly contributor, the author "delivers a convincing, seductively fascinating portrait of a man and a milieu obsessed with sensation." "Ablow knows his stuff," stated People reviewer Mark Donovan.
Clevenger returns in 1999's Projection. In this tale, the forensic expert must find out if respected plastic surgeon Trevor Lucas is responsible for four unsolved murders. Declared mentally unfit and committed to a mental institution, Lucas "cuts off his arm and begins mobilizing the criminally insane inmates to assist him in vivisecting their fellow patients," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Can Clevenger step in and stop Lucas from murdering his hostages? Booklist reviewer David Pitt found Projection "even more unsettling—and more accomplished—than its predecessor."
In 2002 Ablow followed up with a third Clevenger mystery, Compulsion, leading Pitt to declare that "this series just keeps getting better." By now the psychologically scared detective must investigate a particularly disturbing crime: one of a billionaire's twin infant daughters has been murdered and one of the man's adopted sons is a suspect. "Clevenger's old inner-city cop buddy . . . thinks Billy was set up by the real killer," a Publishers Weekly critic noted, explaining the detective's subsequent journey of discovery. The same reviewer called Compulsion "not as bloody" as Denial and Projection, but a novel that nonetheless "scores as a great psychological mind-bender."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 1994, review of The StrangeCase of Dr. Kappler: The Doctor Who Became a Killer, p. 86; July, 1997, Gilbert Taylor, review of Denial, p. 1801; September 1, 1999, David Pitt, review of Projection: A Novel of Terror and Redemption, p. 70; May 15, 2002, D. Pitt, review of Compulsion, p. 1554.
Books, spring, 1998, review of Denial, p. 19.
Boston Herald, September 28, 1997, Gayle Fee, "Inside Track," p. 006; April 29, 1988, Ed Hayward, "Doc," p. 5; July 14, 1997, Christopher Cox, "Breakthrough: Chelsea Doctor's Study of Crime Fiction Makes for Killer Debut," p. 45.
Federal Lawyer, October, 1997, Eric Drogin, review of Denial, p.41.
Journal of the American Medical Association, December 14, 1994, Paul Chodoff, review of The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler, p. 1796.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1997, review of Denial, p. 658; May 15, 2002, review of Compulsion, p. 676.
Library Journal, September 15, 1994, Christine Moesch, review of The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler, p. 81; October 1, 1997, review of Denial, p. 48.
New York Times, November 27, 1994, Wendy Kaminer, review of The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler, p. 27.
People, September 8, 1997, Mark Donovan, review of Denial, p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, June 2, 1997, review of Denial, p. 22; July 19, 1999, review of Projection, p. 180; July 8, 2002, review of Compulsion, p. 33.
Keith Ablow Web site,http://www.keithablow.com (August 19, 2003).