Devereaux, Robert 1947-
DEVEREAUX, Robert 1947-
PERSONAL: Born September, 1947; married; wife's name, Victoria; children: Caitlin, Lianna. Education: M.S.; Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, One Union Square West, Ste. 904, New York, NY 10003.
CAREER: Hewlett Packard, software engineer, more than twenty years.
Deadweight, Dell Abyss (New York, NY), 1994.
Walking Wounded, Dell Abyss (New York, NY), 1996.
Santa Steps Out: A Fairy Tale for Grown-ups, Dark Highway Press (Fort Collins, CO), 1998.
Caliban and Other Tales, Dorchester/Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2002.
A Flight of Storks and Angels, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.
Contributor of short stories to magazines, including Pulphouse, Iniquities, Weird Tales, and Crank!; also contributor of short stories to anthologies, including MetaHorror, edited by Dennis Etchison, Dell, 1992; Love in Vein: Twenty Original Tales of Vampire Erotica, edited by Poppy Z. Brite, Prentice Hall, 1994; The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventh Annual Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, St. Martin's Press, 1994; Immortal Unicorn, edited by Peter S. Beagle, Harper, 1995; Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge, edited by Paul M. Sammon, Tom Doherty, 1995; and The Best of Crank!, edited by Bryan Cholfin, Tom Doherty, 1998.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer and software engineer Robert Devereaux is "the undisputed master of the twisted horror novel," according to a reviewer for the Book Barn Web site. The author of novels such as Deadweight and Walking Wounded, Devereaux has also written scores of short stories that push the boundaries of good taste. As Locus reviewer Edward Bryant noted, Devereaux's "Bucky Goes to Church" "displayed Devereaux's magnificent facility for convincingly and disturbingly evoking the best that young American psychopathic killers have to offer." Speaking with Paula Guran on the DarkEcho Web site, Devereaux noted that one critic described his first novel, 1994's Deadweight, as "American Psycho with a heart." But with his 2003 novel, A Flight of Storks and Angels, Devereaux made a change of direction in his fiction, creating a "whimsical" fantasy tale, according to reviewer Harriet Klausner in AllReaders.com, that "will provide plenty of delight for fans of angels or those who really care about the downtrodden."
Deadweight features a female protagonist, Karin Tanner, who is the victim of abuse by her father and her husband, Danny, whom she subsequently kills. After her lawyer, Frank, successfully pleads her case and gets her off the charge of murder, she marries him, only to discover that she weirdly misses the abuse. Visiting her husband's grave daily, she finds that she has a super green thumb in caring for the flowers; this ability to regenerate soon brings her dead husband back to life with horrific results. Writing in Locus, Bryant called this first novel "darkly, grotesquely, indisputably fascinating," and further felt that Devereaux "more ably infuses both sex and violence with a nastily seductive sensuality than most other artists." A Book Barn online reviewer called Deadweight "a great novel because it combines the extremity with profound insight."
Devereaux's second novel, Walking Wounded, was described as an "erotic thriller" by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Devereaux again features a female protagonist. In this novel he goes into the mind of a deeply disillusioned wife, Katt, who finds she has the power to lay on hands. She must decide whether to use this power for good or ill: to help her cheating husband, suffering from Parkinson's disease, or to hasten his death. Added to this mix is a thirteen-year-old son, the husband's lover to whom Katt is attracted, and a serial killer with a drill fetish. The result is a novel that is "beautifully sensual one page, frighteningly repulsive and twisted the next," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
With Santa Steps Out: A Fairy Tale for Grown-ups Devereaux adds surprising new dimensions to heroes of folklore. As the Book Barn online reviewer noted, "Any book containing scenes where Santa Claus cheats on his wife with the Tooth Fairy in the bed of a six-year-old (who's presently sleeping in it) while a voyeuristic Easter Bunny watches is bound to find some way to offend everyone."
Devereaux's 2003 novel, A Flight of Storks and Angels, is set in Auroville, California, a town where guardian angels become visible and audible to all. According to Jackie Cassada, writing in Library Journal, this fantasy novel is about, among other things, "love and forgiveness" as well as "failure and hope." All the residents of the town, from Mayor Porter to the local indigent, feel that the Keeshan family is crazy, despite the fact that the patriarch is a best-selling author with book sales in the millions. Ward, the thirteen-year-old grandson of the author, claims to be watched over by a guardian angel. This and other strange behavior from the boy keep townspeople at a distance. Even though locals are skeptical about this angel business, Ward, his girlfriend, June, and his grandfather set out on a quest—aided by angels—to better the world, and begin their campaign with Auroville.
Devereaux told CA: "My fourth book, Caliban and Other Tales, includes five previously published stories and a novelistic retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest from Caliban's point of view. I extended the story beyond the temporal bounds of Shakespeare's play to explore Caliban's relationship with his witch-mother Sycorax and his machinations against Ferdinand and Miranda once the magical island is left behind. Only tangentially horrific, Caliban and Other Tales is more a literary novel on the order of John Gardner's Grendel than it is a genre novel.
"What fires my enthusiasm for creating fiction is a drive to be deeply honest with my material, just as uncompromising standup comics like Bill Hicks go directly for the heart of truth without 'tarting' it up in tinsel and distraction. My most successful attempts at this are Deadweight, Santa Steps Out, and the as-yet-unpublished novels Deadolescence, a blistering look at the grim realities of high school life, and And Then a Miracle Happened, in which Santa Claus, after titanic struggles with the Tooth Fairy and the Goddess of Night, eradicates the shameful scourge of homophobia from the human race forever."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, November 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of A Flight of Storks and Angels, p. 102.
Locus, April, 1994, Edward Bryant, review of Deadweight, pp. 25-26, 53.
Publishers Weekly, August 19, 1996, review of Walking Wounded, p. 64.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaeders.com/ (December 19, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of A Flight of Storks and Angels.
Book Barn Web site,http://www.jp41.dial.pipex.com/ (December 15, 2000), review of Deadweight; (March 29, 2002) review of Santa Steps Out; (May 13, 2002) review of Caliban and Other Tales; (June 5, 2002) review of Walking Wounded.
DarkEcho.com,http://www.darkecho.com/ (October, 1996), Paula Guran, "Robert Devereaux: History and a Breadth of Experience."