Chambers, Christopher 1963-

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CHAMBERS, Christopher 1963-

PERSONAL:

Born 1963, in Washington, DC. Education: Graduated from Princeton University; University of Baltimore, law degree.

ADDRESSES:

Home—MD. Agent—Randy Duke, Literary Group International, 270 Lafayette St., Suite 1505, New York, NY 10012.

CAREER:

Attorney and author. Worked in legal field, including for U.S. Department of Justice. Queens College, Charlotte, NC, adjunct professor in communications; Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, adjunct professor.

WRITINGS:

"ANGELA BIVENS" SERIES; THRILLER NOVELS

Sympathy for the Devil, Crown (New York, NY), 2001.

A Prayer for Deliverance, Crown (New York, NY), 2003.

OTHER

Contributor to anthologies, including French Quarter Fiction: The Newest Stories of America's Oldest Bohemia, edited by Joshua Clark, Light of New Orleans Publishing, 2003; and Shades of Black, edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland and Walter Mosely. Contributor to periodicals, including Charlotte Observer, Savoy, Ebony, Esquire, USA Today, Urban Stage & Screen, From the Ground Up, and Denver Rocky Mountain News, and to SmackTV.com.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Calypso's Song, a young adult novel about African-American whalers and sea captains; a novel, Carolina Pancakes.

SIDELIGHTS:

Former attorney Christopher Chambers quit his regular job after "realizing [being a lawyer] did indeed … suck," as he frankly commented on his Web site. Being a black attorney was a struggle all the way, he added: "I played that game of climbing and clawing, toe-to-toe with the old boy network. On their field, by their rules. Sometimes winning, sometimes losing. But always nose down in the mud, feet planted, glad just to be in the stadium. But I don't regret my early retirement from the hamster wheel, or from venal people who felt I was an affirmative action baby." Before a favorite uncle passed away, he revealed to Chambers that his one regret was not pursuing the things he loved in life because he was too busy being a successful businessman. As a result, Chambers decided to follow his dream. He started writing fiction and teaching college students. His first novel, Sympathy for the Devil, was released in 2001.

A crime thriller, Sympathy for the Devil features an African-American woman who is an agent for the Federal Burea of Investigation. The story starts when Angela Bivens wins a discrimination suit against the FBI in a complaint that she was passed over for promotion because she was a black woman. After the suit is won, her superiors transfer her to another department and assign her two murder cases: the first case involves two teenagers who are the apparent murder victims of a twisted ritual; the second concerns the killings of several drug dealers that the police have dismissed as just another gang-related series of murders. As Bivens begins to dig into these cases, she starts to uncover some unsettling secrets; at the same time, she becomes romantically involved with P. T. Williams, a brilliant lobbyist and attorney from a respected family. The problem is that Williams has a twin brother, and it soon becomes apparent that the brother may be involved with the very cases Bivens is working on.

As a former attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Chambers' insider knowledge of what goes on in Washington, D.C., was a benefit to his debut novel, according to critics. However, a Publishers Weekly contributor felt that the author's "over-ambitious effort to cover a wide range of political, social and racial issues slows the narrative flow." On the other hand, as a reviewer for Black Issues Book Review noted, "Chambers cleverly reveals the pressures African-American women face in professional positions."

Chambers followed Sympathy for the Devil with another "Angela Bivens" thriller, A Prayer for Deliverance. In this sequel, bizarre occurrences having to do with witchcraft, ritual killing, and folklore are tied to a case that also involves terrorism and politics. Bivens not only has to deal with this case, but also with being pregnant; with superiors in the department who suspect the wrong people in a murder case she is working on; and with a prominent black politician whom she both admires and suspects of hiding important secrets. Some reviewers of A Prayer for Deliverance found that the novel strains credibility, a Publishers Weekly contributor writing that the competing plot lines create a "messy melange."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Black Issues Book Review, September, 2001, review of Sympathy for the Devil, p. 19.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2002, review of A Prayer for Deliverance, p. 1637.

Publishers Weekly, August 6, 2001, review of Sympathy for the Devil, p. 66; January 20, 2003, review of A Prayer for Deliverance, p. 59.

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), February 2, 2003, Joshua Clark, "Location, Location, Location," p. 6.

ONLINE

Chris Chambers Home Page,http://www.chrischambersbooks.com (August 26, 2004).

Mountain Times Online,http://www.mountaintimes.com/ (March 7, 2002), review of Sympathy for the Devil.*