PERSONAL: Married; children: two. Education: Wayne State University, B.A., M.A.
ADDRESSES: Home— Troy, MI. E-mail— [email protected]tchellbartoy.com.
“PETE CAUDILL” SERIES; CRIME NOVELS
The Devil’s Own Rag Doll, St. Martin’s Minotaur (New York, NY), 2005.
The Devil’s Only Friend, St. Martin’s Minotaur (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Mitchell Bartoy debuted his noir crime series in 2005 with The Devil’s Own Rag Doll.A native of Detroit, the author sets his stories in that city but goes back in time to the 1940s. It is a time of racial tensions, police corruption, and worries about the war; into this setting Bartoy places Pete Caudill, a flawed police detective who has lost two fingers and an eye in an accident and, thus, is not able to enlist in the military. In the first novel, Caudill is assigned to find the killer of a teenager who was the daughter of a prominent Detroit industrialist. In the second novel, The Devil’s Only Friend, Caudill has quit the force but becomes an investigator again after a friend asks him to find out who killed his sister. Bartoy fills his stories with dark images, a complex and at times unsympathetic hero, and language that reminded some critics of Mickey Spillane’s stories. The overall impression of many reviewers was that Bartoy’s fiction is uneven but promising in quality. “The depth and sincerity that shine through Bartoy’s sometimes overheated prose make this a promising debut,” stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor about The Devil’s Own Rag Doll.“The writing is lean and tight, invoking the period as much through style as through the descriptions of places and events,” observed Dana King in the Mystery Reader.“Its occasional lapses into Spillane-esque purple prose can be explained as representing the period, jarring only in comparison to the matter of factness which surrounds it,” King continued.
Discussing the second installment in the series, a Kirkus Reviews writer concluded: “The ultra-dark noir sometimes gets lost in its brooding, but Caudill keeps the pages turning.” Although a Publishers Weekly contributor perceived a “lack of narrative drive” to The Devil’s Only Friend, the critic felt the author “provides a moving, frighteningly real view of WWII-era Detroit.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, September 1, 2005, Bill Ott, review of The Devil’s Own Rag Doll, p. 67; October 1, 2006, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Devil’s Only Friend, p. 39.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005, review of The Devil’s Own Rag Doll, p. 817; September 15, 2006, review of The Devil’s Only Friend, p. 930.
Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2005, review of The Devil’s Own Rag Doll, p. 36; September 25, 2006, review of The Devil’s Only Friend, p. 48.
Mitchell Bartoy Home Page, http://mitchellbartoy.com (January 7, 2007).
New Mystery Reader, http://www.newmysteryreader.com/ (January 7, 2007), Dana King and Robin Thomas, review of The Devil’s Own Rag Doll.*