Dunham, Tracy

views updated

Dunham, Tracy

PERSONAL:

Female. Education: Attended American University of Beirut; graduated from Hollins College.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Richmond, VA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Berkeley Prime Crime Publicity, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Worked as a general practice lawyer for more than twenty years.

WRITINGS:


WESTERNS


Morgan's Land, Walker (New York, NY), 1983.

On the Terror Trail, Thomas Bouregy (Scranton, PA), 1989.

The Trail to Medicine Lodge, Thomas Bouregy (Scranton, PA), 1994.

The Trail of Mythmaker, Thomas Bouregy (Scranton, PA), 1995.

The Long Trail Home, Thomas Bouregy (Scranton, PA), 1996.

The Ghost Trail, Thomas Bouregy (Scranton, PA), 1997.

The Changing Trail, Thomas Bouregy (Scranton, PA), 1998.

The Eureka Trail, Avalon Books (New York, NY), 1999.

MYSTERY NOVELS


Wishful Sinful, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2004.

Yes, the River Knows, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

After working as a lawyer for over twenty years, author Tracy Dunham discovered her passion for writing. In a statement posted on her home page, Dunham wrote: "I should have known I wasn't going to practice law until I died when I wrote a murder mystery during my tax class in law school." Dunham did note however: "I look upon those twenty years in the trenches … as preparation for doing what I love."

Dunham's first novel, Morgan's Land, is a western that was released in 1983. The author then published several more westerns over a period of sixteen years, including On the Terror Trail, The Long Trail Home,and The Eureka Trail. But in 2004, Dunham switched genres and began writing mysteries. Her first novel published in this genre is titled Wishful Sinful. In the story, lawyer Tal Jefferson returns to her deceased grandmother's house, located in a small town in Georgia. Tal arrives there shortly after losing a big case for an Atlanta, Georgia, law firm. The loss resulted in a death sentence for an innocent man, and Tal turns to alcohol for comfort until she is called upon to defend a woman named Crystal Walker. The case at first seems simple because Crystal admits that she murdered her lover. However, it begins to seem likely that Crystal is hiding something in an attempt to protect her daughter, Desiree. As Tal comes closer to the truth, her own life becomes endangered. Critics enjoyed Dunham's portrayal of the South. "Dunham's view of small-town Southern life is credible and realistic," wrote Sheri Melnick in the Romantic Times Book Club Online. Melnick also called Wishful Sinful "intriguing" and "suspenseful." Critic Dawn Dowdle held a similar opinion; in a review posted on the Best Reviews Web site, Dowdle remarked that Dunham's "characters are very well written and she knows the area that she has written about. It feels very authentic."

Dunham followed Wishful Sinful with a sequel titledYes, the River Knows. Readers again encounter protagonist Tal Jefferson, who travels to her home inSouth Carolina and continues to struggle with her alcoholism and her past mistakes. Tal is again thrust into the legal field when she and a former high school friend, Travis Whitlock, discover a floating head in the Wynnton river. The head belongs to the estranged husband of Tal's secretary, June Atkins. June becomes a suspect when the murder weapon is found in her possession, but Tal returns to court to prove June's innocence. Reviewers predominantly praised Yes, the River Knows. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the main character "a superb mix of hard edges and open wounds," while Melnick, again writing in the Romantic Times Book Club Online, stated: "The mystery is fast-paced and enthralling, with plenty of red herrings." Additionally, Harriet Klausner, in a review posted on the Best Reviews Web site, called the novel "well constructed" and concluded: "Dunham is a talented author who will have legal thriller fans valuing her work."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


PERIODICALS


Library Journal, December 1, 2005, Michele Leber, review of Yes, the River Knows, p. 104.

Publishers Weekly, October 31, 2005, review of Yes, the River Knows, p. 36.

ONLINE


Best Reviews,http://www.thebestreviews.com/(September 1, 2004), Dawn Dowdle, review ofWishful Sinful; (November 15, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Yes, the River Knows.

Romantic Times Book Club Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/(April 11, 2006), Sheri Melnick, review of Wishful Sinful; (April 11, 2006), Sheri Melnick, review of Yes, the River Knows.

Tracy Dunham Home Page,http://www.tracydunham.com (April 11, 2006).

Tracy Dunham Web log,http://www.tracydunham.blogspot.com(April 11, 2006).