Crouch, Blake 1978–
Crouch, Blake 1978–
PERSONAL: Born 1978, in Statesville, NC. Education: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, B.A., 2000.
Desert Places: A Novel of Terror, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2004.
Locked Doors, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Blake Crouch published his first novel, Desert Places: A Novel of Terror, in 2004. Crouch's book features a successful suspense and thriller writer who is unwillingly thrust into the horrors he creates. Andrew Thomas, successful horror novelist, receives an anonymous letter one day at his North Carolina home, and his life is changed forever. The unnamed writer tells him that the body of a young woman has been buried in Thomas's backyard, along with evidence that will incriminate him in the murder. The letter writer goes on to tell him that he must call the telephone number enclosed in the letter to avoid having the local police come searching for the body. At first, Thomas thinks this is some twisted joke, but while searching his yard he finds the body of a local woman who has been missing. After calling his anonymous tormentor, Thomas is maneuvered to a hotel where he is drugged and kidnapped by a serial killer who must be stopped.
A Publishers Weekly critic felt that "Crouch shows real talent here," and praised the author's "smart, tight prose" and "narrative energy." Praise also came from Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary online writer Rick Kleffel, who felt Crouch "brings art and innovation to aspects of the novel where it's usually in short supply." Kleffel went on to note that Crouch manages "to keep up a positively blistering pace without ever seeming forced." Likewise, an online reviewer for Curled Up with a Good Book commented that Crouch's debut thriller is "effective in its darkness, depravity and the sense of terror it inspires."
Crouch followed up Desert Places with the sequel, Locked Doors, which finds horror novelist Thomas holed up in Alaska, now on the run as a supposed serial killer. Reading about new murders carried out by the real killer, Thomas is lured out of hiding and gives chase. A subplot involves another horror writer who discovers Thomas's whereabouts and has plans of his own. This time around, a critic for Kirkus Reviews found the book "blunt but expertly paced and viscerally effective, with many surprises and genuine chills." A Publishers Weekly contributor allowed that in Locked Doors "the action is nonstop, the violence visceral." Writing for BookReporter online, Joe Hartlaub found that "Crouch is quite simply a marvel." The critic went on to explain that the author "changes perspective, points of view, and tense at whim, challenging you to hang on and ride with him. And it's easy to do."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 2003, Michael T. Gannon, review of Desert Places: A Novel of Terror, p. 650.
Capital Times (Madison, WI), May 20, 2004, Rob Thomas, review of Desert Places.
Charlotte Observer, July 29, 2005, "Crouch Splatters N.C. with Blood."
Durango Herald, May 4, 2004, Nathaniel Miller, "Finger on Pulse of Depravity."
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2003, review of Desert Places, p. 1284; May 1, 2005, review of Locked Doors, p. 491.
Publishers Weekly, December 8, 2003, review of Desert Places, p. 48; June 6, 2005, review of Locked Doors, p. 40.
Record and Landmark, (Statesville, NC), August 4, 2005, Chyna Broadnax, "Native Son Finds Success Writing Thrillers."
Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary, http://trashotron.com/agony/ (April 16, 2004), Rick Kleffel, review of Desert Places.
Allreaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (September 12, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Desert Places.
Blake Crouch Home Page, http://www.blakecrouch.com (September 12, 2005).
BookReporter, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (September 12, 2005), Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum, review of Desert Places; Joe Hartlaub, review of Locked Doors.
Curled Up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (September 12, 2005), review of Desert Places.
MysteryOne, http://www.mysteryone.com/ (September 12, 2005), "Interview with Blake Crouch."