DuBois, Brendan

views updated

DuBois, Brendan

PERSONAL:

Married Mona Pinette. Education: Graduated from University of New Hampshire. Hobbies and other interests: Astronomy and the space program.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Exeter, NH. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist and short story writer, newspaper reporter.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Shamus Award for Best Short Story of the Year, Private Eye Writers of America, for "The Necessary Brother," 1995, and "The Road's End," 2001; Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award for Best Short Crime Fiction Story at the fourth annual New England Crime Bake, for "The Road's End," 2005.

WRITINGS:

"LEWIS COLE MYSTERY" SERIES

Dead Sand, Otto Penzler Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Black Tide, Otto Penzler Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Shattered Shell, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Killer Waves, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Buried Dreams, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Primary Storm, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.

OTHER FICTION

Resurrection Day (novel), G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 1999.

The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries (short stories), Crippen & Landru Publishers (Norfolk, VA), 2002.

Tales From the Dark Woods (short stories), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.

Betrayed (novel), Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Final Winter (novel), Time Warner UK (London, England), 2005.

Contributor of short fiction to numerous periodicals, including Playboy, Ellery Queen's Mystery, Mary Higgins Clark Mystery magazine, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery; contributor to various anthologies, including The Year's Best Mystery & Suspense Stories, Walker Books (New York, NY), 1988, 1990, 1992, 1995, Year's 25 Best Mystery Short Stories, 1995, 1997, Best American Mystery Stories, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, Best American Mystery Stories of the Century, edited by Otto Penzler and Tony Hillerman, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2000, and The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, Forge (New York, NY), 2001-04.

SIDELIGHTS:

Brendan DuBois, a life-long resident of New Hampshire, has set his mystery novels in the area in which he lives. He is best known as the author of the "Lewis Cole" series, but has also written numerous short stories and an alternative history novel titled Resurrection Day. At one point in his life, DuBois seriously considered a career with the National Security Agency, going so far as to complete the testing process and interview for three jobs. He has also worked as a journalist. He has taken this experience and made journalism and a murky entanglement with espionage a part of fictional sleuth Lewis Cole's profile. These two elements play large roles in the plot development and help to define the atmosphere of suspense in DuBois's novels. His deep knowledge of New Hampshire and its people is also an asset to the stories. DuBois's work has been favorably compared to the mystery novels of Robert Parker, whose sleuth, Spencer, is also an intelligent, tough, and erudite man.

Through the "Lewis Cole" novels, DuBois has created not only a group of well-plotted mysteries, but also an interesting community. The action of the books is set in a fictional town in coastal New Hampshire. As the stories unfold, readers become well acquainted with the local people and develop an appreciation of their nuanced relationships. Dead Sand, the first title in the "Lewis Cole" series, finds the hero living in New Hampshire as a magazine writer. He is drawn into the investigation of some suspicious deaths after a friend, the only detective on the local police force, asks his help. Cole's unearthing of secrets lead to attempts on his life. The discovery of the truth becomes imperative as the danger escalates.

In DuBois' second "Lewis Cole" novel, Black Tide, the hero is drawn into the puzzling circumstances surrounding an oil spill on the New Hampshire coast. To complicate matters, a mutilated corpse has washed ashore. Cole's friend and sometime sidekick, Felix Tinios adds another level of complexity by his involvement in a major art theft and the criminal underworld. Critics noted that DuBois reveals the connecting elements between the separate mysteries in a suspenseful ending.

The desolation of winter on the New Hampshire coast sets the tone for the third novel in the series, Shattered Shell. Cole's town has been plagued by arson and he takes an unofficial interest in the investigation. When a local woman, the lover of the police department's detective, is raped and beaten, the usually dormant winter atmosphere becomes tense. Complications ensue when Cole realizes that the woman's description of the crime does not match the physical evidence. Discovering the connections between the two crimes keeps Cole busy and in danger until the very end. In Killer Waves, Cole investigates the mysterious death of a man in a parking lot near his home. The matter quickly comes to the attention of some people with phony DEA identification, and Cole is soon embroiled in something more menacing than he could ever have imagined.

DuBois continues his series with Buried Dreams, in which Cole makes the acquaintance of Jon Ericson when he appears on Cole's doorstep, claiming that his Viking ancestors had landed on the beachfront property hundreds of years earlier and he is intent on searching for historic proof with the aid of his metal detector. However, Ericson is later murdered, and Cole investigates who killed him. In a review for Booklist, Bratt Pitt remarked that "this fifth entry will have readers hoping there are many more to follow." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote: "So much geography you'll want a road map, but briskly paced, with a neatly sprung ending." In Primary Storm, the next volume in the series, a Secret Service agent tracks Cole down despite all of his efforts to hide himself away in the country. When the agent turns out to be a fake, and ends up murdered, Cole is more than a little annoyed. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote: "DuBois keeps everything deft and literate until the ending, as wild and wooly as you'd expect from the premise."

Resurrection Day is something of a departure for DuBois. In this book he enters the realm of alternative history with a novel formed around the Cuban missile crisis. The story takes place ten years after the crisis, but in this telling, the Russians have destroyed the major U.S. cities and the U.S. military has destroyed Russia. Great Britain takes a humanitarian role, and saves what remains of the United States from starvation and complete destruction. Newspaper reporter Carl Landry becomes involved in the investigation of a murder and soon finds himself enmeshed in a complex plot that would return the United States to the status of a British colony. As he learns more, his life, like the life of the country, becomes endangered. The book's premise, according to Library Journal reviewer Kent Rasmussen, is "intriguing," but "its development is unsatisfactory." A writer for Publishers Weekly, however, commented that Resurrection Day "deserves to be as popular as Robert Harris's Fatherland." Reviewer David Pitt expressed similar praise in Booklist, calling the book a "feast for the mind" and a "first-rate novel."

DuBois continues to intersperse stand-alone thrillers between his "Lewis Cole" novels. With Betrayed, he offers readers a thriller about Vietnam soldier Roy Harper, who was reported missing in action, yet suddenly appears on his brother's doorstep thirty years later. Roy has a twisted story of torture and abuse, and it appears that, while he might have come home, he is far from free of his experiences. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews found the novel "not always plausible, but the story grabs, and the pages turn, testimony to the power of the narrative." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted: "DuBois has a way of taking stock characters … and surprising us with fresh insights into their behavior."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Armchair Detective, spring, 1995, John Benson, p. 217.

Booklist, May 15, 1994, Emily Melton, review of Dead Sand, p. 1666; February 15, 1995, Emily Melton, review of Black Tide, p. 1061; February 15, 1999, John Rowen, review of The Shattered Shell, p. 1044; April 15, 1999, David Pitt, review of Resurrection Day, p. 1476; May 15, 2004, Bratt Pitt, review of Buried Dreams, p. 1600.

Kirkus Review, January, 1995, review of Black Tide, p. 28; January 15, 1999, review of Shattered Shell, p. 106; April 1, 2002, review of Killer Waves, p. 456; May 1, 2003, review of Betrayed, p. 625; May 15, 2004, review of Buried Dreams, p. 474; August 1, 2006, review of Primary Storm, p. 755.

Library Journal, June 1, 1999, Barbara Conaty, review of Resurrection Day, p. 173; November 1, 2000, Kent Rasmussen, review of Resurrection Day, p. 158.

Publishers Weekly, April 11, 1994, review of Dead Sand, p. 58; January 9, 1995, review of Black Tide, p. 58; February 15, 1999, review of Shattered Shell, p. 90; May 17, 1999, review of Resurrection Day, p. 57; May 20, 2002, review of Killer Waves, p. 49; May 26, 2003, review of Betrayed, p. 52.

School Library Journal, December, 1999, Anita Short, review of Resurrection Day, p. 163.

Washington Post Book World, February 27, 1999, Joan Richter, review of Shattered Shell, p. 8.

ONLINE

Brendan DuBois Web site,http://brendandubois.com (August 29, 2002).

About this article

DuBois, Brendan

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article