Fallis, Greg(ory S.) 1951-
FALLIS, Greg(ory S.) 1951-
PERSONAL: Born December 9, 1951. Education: Iowa State University, B.S.; American University, M.S.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Dell Magazines, 475 Park Ave. S., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016.
CAREER: Author. Former private investigator; has taught at American University and Fordham University and at the Gotham Writers' Workshops and Online Classes.
AWARDS, HONORS: Shamus Award nomination, Private Eye Writers of America, 1998, for short story "Lord of Obstacles."
(With Ruth Greenberg) Be Your Own Detective, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1989, revised edition, 1998.
Lightning in the Blood (mystery novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: A Writer's Guide to Investigators and Investigative Techniques, Writer's Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1998.
A Murder: From the Chalk Outline to the ExecutionChamber, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1999.
Contributor to The Best American Mystery Stories 1999, edited by Ed McBain, Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Also contributor of stories to periodicals, including Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Murderous Intent, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Author of column on private investigation published in Murderous Intent.
SIDELIGHTS: Greg Fallis is a former private investigator who has turned his knowledge of detective work into several nonfiction books and a mystery novel. Debuting with the guide Be Your Own Detective, which he wrote with criminal defense lawyer Ruth Greenberg, Fallis provides information on how to conduct one's own investigation. The book can also serve as a resource not only for amateur sleuths but also for mystery writers conducting research or people trying to find missing family members. Library Journal reviewer Gregor A. Preston noted that the guide is written in "practical, helpful terms" and offers "pertinent advice" on the potential mistakes an amateur should avoid.
Fallis followed up his nonfiction work with a mystery novel, Lightning in the Blood, in which two detectives team up to solve an assault case involving lesbian lovers. Ex-police officer Kevin Sweeney and former journalist Joop Wheeler are hired by schizophrenic poet Anka Stiffel, who is accused of striking her lover, artist Amanda Owen, with a sculpture. Stiffel's only alibi is that she had spent the night with another woman; however, she cannot recall the woman's name. Sweeney and Wheeler therefore embark on a mission to prove Stiffel's alibi and protect her from assault charges that could turn to murder should the comatose Owen not survive. Much of this work involves an exploration of the lesbian scene by two heterosexual men, which results in a "dose of lively humor," according to a Publishers Weekly critic, who found the novel to be "a fresh, slightly off-the-wall tale." However, Library Journal writer Rex E. Klett warned that the fact that Owen's condition in the hospital is not desperate "neutralizes any suspense" in the plot.
Returning to nonfiction, Fallis wrote two more books that can serve as tools for mystery and crime writers. Just the Facts, Ma'am: A Writer's Guide to Investigators and Investigative Techniques is a straightforward guide for any aspiring murder mystery novelist, while A Murder: From the Chalk Outline to the Execution Chamber offers a different approach. Here, Fallis divides his book into two alternating parts: one is a step-by-step explanation of what typically happens after a murder is committed, from the investigation through the trial and sentencing, while the other part is a fictionalized account of an actual murder that Fallis uses to illustrate this process. Reviewing A Murder for Library Journal, Harry Charles felt that the factual material was a bit dry and that the fictional murder case is a bit too straightforward to be interesting. However, the critic concluded that A Murder is a "smoothly written" book that "deftly escorts the reader through the case." While a Publishers Weekly reviewer similarly noted that Fallis's anecdote is a bit bland, the end result is "a helpful and gripping layperson's primer on the criminal justice system's response to a murder."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 11, 1989, Cynthia Ogorek, review of Be Your Own Detective, p. 710.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1993, review of Lightning in the Blood, p. 488.
Library Journal, June 1, 1993, Rex E. Klett, review of Lightning in the Blood, p. 196; January, 1999, Gregor A. Preston, review of Be Your Own Detective, p. 126; February 1, 2000, Harry Charles, review of A Murder: From the Chalk Outline to the Execution Chamber, p. 102.
Publishers Weekly, May 3, 1993, review of Lightning in the Blood, p. 297; August 10, 1998, "Tricky Dicks," p. 320; November 15, 1999, review of A Murder, p. 51.*