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Gentry, Christine 1954–

Gentry, Christine 1954–

PERSONAL: Born 1954, in La Plata, MD. Education: University of Florida, B.S.; Master Groomer degree.

ADDRESSES: Home—FL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Poisoned Pen Press, 6962 East First Ave., Ste. 103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Worked for twenty years as a bookseller and assistant manager for Waldenbooks; founder of Brush Puppies Mobile Pet Grooming; freelance writer, 1979–. Teaches courses on freelance writing and police report writing.

MEMBER: Bloody Pens.

WRITINGS:

When Dogs Run Wild: The Sociology of Feral Dogs and Wildlife, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1983.

(With Sally Gibson-Downs) Encyclopedia of Trekkie Memorabilia: Identification and Value Guide, Books Americana (Florence, AL), 1988.

(With Sally Gibson-Downs) Greenburg's Guide to Star Trek Collectibles, three volumes, Greenburg Publishers (Sykesville, MD), 1992.

(With Sally Gibson-Downs) Motorcycle Toys: Identification & Values: Antique and Contemporary, Collector Books (Paducah, KY), 1995.

Contributor to wildlife periodicals.

"ANSEL PHOENIX" MYSTERY SERIES

Mesozoic Murder, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2003.

Carnosaur Crimes, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Christine Gentry began a career as a mystery writer after many years as a bookseller, dog groomer, and a rather eclectic freelance writer. Her previous books have included guides to Star Trek collectibles and motorcycle toys and a study of the sociology of feral dogs. She has taught classes on magazine writing for interested amateurs, as well as on police-report-writing for law-enforcement professionals. At the same time, her interest in paleontology is the subject of her "Ansel Phoenix" mysteries.

Introduced in Mesozoic Murder, Phoenix has a mixture of talents and interests, like her creator. She is an artist and a scientist, drawing on both skills in her job creating pictures of dinosaurs based on fossils and logical deductions from the natural world. She is also half Blackfoot, proud of her Native-American heritage but also sensitive about it due to childhood slights. All these aspects of her character come together when she discovers the grave of a murdered colleague during a fossil-hunting trip. Mistrusting the police for her own reasons, Phoenix begins her own investigation of the crime and soon finds herself caught in a dangerous mystery involving stolen fossils, scientific rivalry, and Native American lore. At the same time, she begins to realize that her own nonprofit fossil-hunting organization, the Pangaea Society, includes some rather unsavory members and quite possibly the murderer. According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "Gentry's appealing heroine … and the intriguing milieu in which she operates should ensure both a warm reception and a speedy encore.

Phoenix reappears in Carnosaur Crimes. This time, she is trying to save the Big Toe Natural History Museum following attempts to make off with its prized Allosaurus tracks. Although the thief was unsuccessful, FBI investigators are threatening to remove the tracks for safekeeping and study at a distant university. At the request of the museum's curator, Dr. Dieselmore, Phoenix agrees to help out in a sting operation designed to catch the mastermind behind the attempted theft. Soon she is drawn into the dangerous world of fossil poaching, a world populated by corrupt antiquities dealers, drug smugglers, and clever but ruthless con artists. A Kirkus Reviews contributor felt the results are weighed down by "an overloaded plot [and] prose as desiccated as those dinosaur bones." In a more favorably assessment, a Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote: "Though several plot-thickening coincidences strain credulity, the snowballing pace will keep the reader turning the pages until the unexpected finish." Booklist reviewer Sue O'Brien added that "plot twists, fast pacing, and vivid descriptions distinguish this second in the series." Similarly, a reviewer for MBR Bookwatch concluded that Gentry's "story line hooks the audience from the moment that Dr. Dieselmore calls Ansel and never lets up until the final confrontation."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 1, 2005, Sue O'Brien, review of Carnosaur Crimes, p. 1144.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2005, review of Carnosaur Crimes, p. 262.

MBR Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of Carnosaur Crimes.

Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2003, review of Mesozoic Murder, p. 82; March 21, 2005, review of Carnosaur Crimes, p. 39.

ONLINE

Christine Gentry Home Page, http://www.gentrybooks.com (July 7, 2005).

Poisoned Pen Press Web site, http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/ (July 7, 2005), biography of Christine Gentry.

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