Dixon, Keith 1971–
Dixon, Keith 1971–
Born 1971, in Durham, NC; married Jessica Lee Behrer (a teacher), November 5, 2004. Education: Hobart College, Geneva, NY, graduated 1993.
Writer and editor. New York Times, became editor for News Technology department, 1993—.
Ghostfires, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.
The Art of Losing, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Referring to Keith Dixon's first novel, Ghostfires, Bookreporter.com Web site contributor Joe Hartlaub called it "an impressive debut from a writer who unquestionably will have more to say in the future." The novel focuses on William, Warren, and Ben Bascomb, three generations of Bascombs who face disturbing problems. The sour relationship between Warren and his son, Ben, is predated by William Bascomb's own negative feelings about Warren, whom William blamed for the death of his wife during Warren's birth. As for Warren and Ben, their mutual hostility is fueled by the fact that Warren has kept his son financially solvent through bad business dealings while Ben provides Dialudid and other drugs that his father has become addicted to after a burn accident, an addiction that cost him his medical license for five years. Furthermore, Ben helped his mother commit suicide as an act of mercy as she suffered from terminal cancer. The two men's problems come to a head when Ben ends up in a psychiatric award after a failed robbery, leaving Warren looking for drugs and willing to commit desperate acts to get them. "Insightful and impressively crafted, this is a novel from which no one emerges unscathed," wrote Michele Leber in Booklist. Library Journal contributor Judith Kicinski noted that the author "examines exquisitely how misfortune and weakness defeat a single family."
Dixon's next novel also received favorable reviews from the critics. "The Art of Losing is a dark, captivating novel in which Dixon relentlessly pursues the twin themes of greed and loss, stripping his characters clean as he does so," wrote New York Times Book Review contributor Natalie Moore of Dixon's sophomore effort. In The Art of Losing, Mike Jacobs is a broke filmmaker in New York City who joins a friend's plan to fix a horse race. Mike's job is to place the bets with bookmakers who already have barred Mike's friend, Sebby Laslo, from betting with them. When the horses they bet on don't win due to an accident involving the jockeys, who were in on the plan, Mike and Sebby find themselves deep in debt with people who will not hesitate to hurt and even kill them if they don't come through with the money. As a result, Mike finds himself descending into evil as he resorts to violence and murder in an effort to pay off the bookies and save his life. "Dixon has written a cautionary tale that is not easy to enjoy but even harder to forget," wrote Dennis Dodge in Booklist. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented: "So well and darkly done that readers may find themselves opting for a noir moratorium in the interest of mental health."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2003, Michele Leber, review of Ghostfires, p. 726; December 15, 2006, Dennis Dodge, review of The Art of Losing, p. 27.
Entertainment Weekly, February 23, 2007, Jeff Labrecque, review of The Art of Losing, p. 104.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of Ghostfires, p. 1326; November 15, 2006, review of The Art of Losing, p. 1144.
Library Journal, January, 2004, Judith Kicinski, review of Ghostfires, p. 154.
New York Times, November 7, 2004, "Jessica Behrer, Keith Dixon," wedding announcement, p. 16.
New York Times Book Review, February 8, 2004, Daniel Woodrell, "Other People's Drug Money," review of Ghostfires, p. 14; April 1, 2007, Natalie Moore, "Going Down Gambling," review of The Art of Losing, p. 18.
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 21, 2007, Frank Wilson, review of The Art of Losing.
Publishers Weekly, December 15, 2003, review of Ghostfires, p. 54; September 25, 2006, review of The Art of Losing, p. 41.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (October 7, 2007), Joe Hartlaub, review of Ghostfires.
Keith Dixon Home Page,http://www.readkeithdixon.com (October 7, 2007).
Noir Writer,http://noirwriter.blogspot.com/ (March 11, 2007), Steve Allan, "Sunday Interview: Keith Dixon."
PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (February 23, 2007), Frank Wilson, review of The Art of Losing.