Evans, Jon 1973-
Evans, Jon 1973-
Born 1973, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Education: University of Waterloo, B.S, 1996.
Home—Montreal, Quebec, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].
Author. Has worked as a computer engineer and programmer.
Arthur Ellis award for best first novel, 2005, for Dark Places.
Dark Places, Dark Alley (New York, NY), 2004, published as Trail of the Dead, Coronet Books (London, England), 2004.
The Blood Price (sequel to Dark Places), Perennial Dark Alley (New York, NY), 2005.
Invisible Armies, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.
Author of free online serial novel Beasts of New York.
Jon Evans draws on his extensive world travels to provide the settings for his well-received crime thrillers. His first novel, Dark Places, was hailed by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as a "haunting suspense debut." It features slacker Paul Wood, a sometime computer programmer from San Francisco who spends much of his time backpacking through remote areas of the planet. While hiking in the Himalayas, Paul discovers a mutilated corpse with a Swiss army knife protruding from each eye. Gruesome as this mode of death is, Paul recognizes it because, as it happens, his girlfriend Laura was killed the same way two years before in a central African backwater. The local police show no interest in solving the crime, so Paul decides to find the killer on his own. He returns to San Francisco and, with the help of his new romantic interest, Talena—a refugee from Bosnia and the attractive editor of the fictional Big Earth Guide for backpackers—he checks Internet records from the Guide. He finds a pattern of similar killings that points to one of three companions on the African trek. Risking his life and determined to avenge Laura, Paul concocts a plan to lure the suspects back to Africa. Though the Publishers Weekly critic found the plot "totally implausible," the reviewer enjoyed the novel's "bone-chilling buildup and brutal climax." Dark Places won the Arthur Ellis award for best first novel in 2005.
Paul appears a second time in The Blood Price. As the novel begins, he and Talena are visiting Sarajevo. What is intended as a pleasant vacation, however, soon turns into a nightmare. Appalled to discover that her sister, Saskia, is being routinely abused by her brutal husband, Talena enlists the help of Sinise Obradovic, a drug dealer and head of a people-smuggling ring. He agrees to get Saskia to safety, but he demands a steep price: Paul's assistance in building Mycroft, a super Web site that will allow Sinise to increase his business efficiency and profits. As the dangers increase, the characters become caught up in an extended chase through the Balkans to Latin America and finally to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. Connie Fletcher, writing in Booklist, observed that Paul is an especially appealing hero with a complex personality and wry sense of humor. Because Paul is so sympathetic and well-drawn, Fletcher went on, readers will care about what happens to him. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews also commented on the likability of The Blood Price's characters, but felt that "the story too often morphs into a travelogue." A writer for Publishers Weekly, however, described the novel as a "colorful transcontinental story of self-preservation and harebrained derring-do."
In Invisible Armies, described by a Kirkus Reviews writer as a "cyber-spacey thriller about good-guy hackers vs. bad-guy hackers," Evans tackles the theme of multinational corporate corruption. Danielle Leaf, a young American wanderer, has come to India at the request of her old boyfriend to deliver a lost passport. Scarcely has she set foot in town, however, before she is kidnapped by a gang posing as police who plant a bag of marijuana on her and throw her into jail. From her cellmate, Laurent, she learns that the Kishkinda, a multinational mining company, is poisoning thousands of farmers in developing countries. Laurent inspires Danielle to join forces with the antiglobalization movement opposing Kishkinda. The pair flee India and eventually arrive in Paris, where Danielle's former boyfriend, superhacker Kieran, joins them. Through cyber-intrigue they hope to bring down Kishkinda and other ruthless companies that put profit over the lives of individuals. But, as Kieran and Danielle learn, Laurent and his movement are not what they claim to be, and neither is Kishkinda. The Kirkus Reviews writer praised Invisible Armies as a "fresh and entertaining" novel. While a reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt that the book's treatment of the globalization theme was "less than convincing," Booklist critic David Pitt considered Invisible Armies Evans's "most accomplished thriller yet." Pitt also asserted that its polished narrative and enjoyable characters attest to Evans's continued development as a storyteller.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2005, Connie Fletcher, review of The Blood Price, p. 1998; May 15, 2007, David Pitt, review of Invisible Armies, p. 24.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of The Blood Price, p. 753; May 15, 2007, review of Invisible Armies.
Publishers Weekly, May 31, 2004, review of Dark Places, p. 51; August 8, 2005, review of The Blood Price, p. 210; April 9, 2007, review of Invisible Armies, p. 32.
Times (London, England), August 14, 2004, Fiona Hook, review of Trail of the Dead.
Washington Post Book World, October 23, 2005, Richard Lipes, review of The Blood Price, p. 13.
Armchair Interviews,http://reviews.armchairinterviews.com/ (January 29, 2008), Beth Cummings, review of Invisible Armies.
Beast of New York Web site,http://www.beastsofnewyork.com (January 29, 2008).
Jon Evans Home Page,http://www.rezendi.com (February 11, 2008).