Gethers, Peter 1953–

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Gethers, Peter 1953–

(Russell Andrews)

PERSONAL:

Born April 10, 1953, in New York, NY; son of Steven and Judith Gethers. Education: Attended University of California, Berkeley, 1970-72, University of London, 1972-73, and University of California, Los Angeles, 1973-74.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. Office—Random House, Inc., 201 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022. Agent—Esther Newberg, International Creative Management, 40 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor. Bantam Books, Inc., New York, NY, executive editor, 1975-80; Random House, Inc., New York, NY, editor, 1980-83; Villard Books, New York, NY, vice president and editorial director, 1983-91; Random House, Inc., vice president and editor-at-large, 1991—. Writer and producer of television series.

MEMBER:

National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Writers Guild of America (East), Authors League of America.

WRITINGS:

The Dandy (novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 1978.

(Coauthor) Rotisserie League Baseball (nonfiction annual), Bantam (New York, NY), 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990.

Getting Blue (novel), Delacorte (New York, NY), 1987.

The Cat Who Went to Paris (nonfiction), Crown/ Ballantine (New York, NY), 1991.

A Cat Abroad (nonfiction), Crown/Ballantine (New York, NY), 1993.

Historical Cats (humor), Fawcett (New York, NY), 1996.

The Cat Who'll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2001.

NOVELS

(With David Handler, under joint pseudonym Russell Andrews) Gideon, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1999.

(With David Handler, under joint pseudonym Russell Andrews) Icarus, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2001.

(As Russell Andrews) Aphrodite, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 2004.

(As Russell Andrews) Midas, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 2005.

(As Russell Andrews) Hades, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Author of several television scripts for the series Kate and Allie. Writer-producer for television series Working It Out; co-creator/executive producer of television series Lands End.

SIDELIGHTS:

Peter Gethers is an editor, publishing executive, nonfiction writer, and novelist. The Dandy, his first novel, describes a "monster of the '70s" according to Joseph McLellan in a Washington Post review. The protagonist of the novel is a thirty-year-old man named Eugene Toddmann who deals with life by detaching himself from it emotionally. Thus, the only reaction he allows himself whenever tragedy strikes is curiosity. He becomes asocial, an attitude that leads him to kill the closest thing he has to a best friend in a duel over a woman he does not even care about. "Clearly, we are dealing here with a monster," wrote McLellan, "a walking abstraction, but I suspect it is a monster that looms as a sort of ideal for more than one young man of our era." The critic went on to note, "It is no small undertaking to center a book on a nearly abstract character and yet hold the reader's interest for over 200 pages, but Gethers has done it with a virtuoso flourish."

In another Washington Post article, Tom Miller praised the characters and writing in Gether's Getting Blue, a novel about one athlete's rise to the top of professional baseball. "Often Gethers's personality sketches jump off the page and demand rereading in admiration of their precision," Miller attested. The reviewer also admired the author's accurate depiction of the earlier years of baseball: "His observations about black-white relations in 1950s minor-league baseball are sensitively—and, I suspect, accurately—portrayed." But despite the book's strengths, Miller concluded that "the three or four story lines don't end concurrently, and we're left with a book whose parts are far greater than their sum."

Despite the positive reviews his novels have earned, Gethers is perhaps best known for a series of nonfiction books about his pet cat, Norton, named after the character played by Art Carney in the television series The Honeymooners. Ironically, Gethers had been a cat hater before he received the six-week-old Norton as a gift in 1983. From then on, man and feline were inseparable. The Cat Who Went to Paris and A Cat Abroad chronicle the pair's adventures in Paris and Provence, where Norton enjoyed dining in fine restaurants, staying at elegant hotels, and flying on the Concorde. The final volume, The Cat Who'll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human, addresses the more somber subject of Norton's old age, illness, and death. Even those who are not particularly attracted to cats, noted Booklist reviewer Ilene Cooper, will be "touched both by Gether's love and devotion for his pet and Norton's often humanlike reactions to his illness." Christine C. Menefee in School Library Journal observed that the book offers "a different perspective … on medicine, aging, friendship, and grief; the value of humor; or just the meaning of life."

Gethers teamed with mystery writer David Handler in writing two thrillers under the pseudonym Russell Andrews. In Gideon a ghostwriter must unravel the mystery of the authorship of a secret manuscript he is working on that has far-reaching—and fatal—political ramifications. In a favorable review in Booklist, David Pitt commented that the writers "[smoothly blend] their different storytelling gifts into something entirely fresh and genuinely suspenseful," though a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that "the narrative, with its endless twists … winds up with several complications too many, and this plethora of side plots dilutes the lucid, cumulative pleasures a good thriller is designed to evoke." The pair's second effort, Icarus, focuses on a restaurateur who must find out who is responsible for murdering members of his family over a period of several decades. The novel won praise from Pitt who claimed in Booklist: "This is a much better novel than Gideon, deeper and better written, with characters that are much more life-like and memorable."

Writing solo under the Russell Andrews pseudonym, Gethers has created a mystery-suspense series featuring the small-town policeman Justin Westwood, who has come to the Long Island hamlet of East End after a high-flying career as a homicide detective. Derailed by a family tragedy, Westwood turns to alcohol for comfort, but the murder of a local reporter in the series debut, Aphrodite, finally pushes him out of his self-imposed professional exile. While his colleagues at the local police department describe the death of journalist Susanna Morgan, Westwood's nose for crime smells murder. Soon the investigation leads to the door of a billionaire who is researching how to stop the aging process; Westwood himself becomes a possible victim when he gets in the way of this research. A KirkusReviews critic had high praise for the series opener, noting that Andrews/Gethers "demonstrates his knack for making a sympathetic hero likable enough to redeem—well, almost redeem—an impossibly convoluted plot." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer termed Aphrodite a "gripping, wildly plotted thriller," and further observed that the "heady whodunit action [is] cleverly handled." Further praise came from Library Journal reviewer Ronnie H. Terpening, who called Aphrodite "a seductive read from start to finish," and from Booklist contributor Pitt, who found it "top of the line."

The second novel in the series, Midas, finds Westwood investigating a suicide bombing on Long Island and the subsequent crash of a small plane, incidents that the policeman determines are chillingly connected. Pitt, writing in Booklist, felt the author "handles the sensitive subject matter skillfully, engaging our interest in a complex plot rather than simply exploiting our fear of terrorism." In the third series title, Hades, Westwood is personally involved in the murder of a Wall Street financier, for he was making love with the man's wife at the time of the death. Now he must break the secrecy of an international conspiracy to clear his name in this "true thriller reader's thriller," as Armchair Interviews Web site reviewer Jeff Foster described the novel. Likewise, Booklist reviewer Pitt concluded: "Those who like their crime novels dark, mysterious, and labyrinthine will have a great time."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1999, David Pitt, review of Gideon, p. 1643; May 1, 2001, David Pitt, review of Icarus, p. 1618; July, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of The Cat Who'll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human, p. 1969; November 1, 2003, David Pitt, review of Aphrodite, p. 481; February 15, 2005, David Pitt, review of Midas, p. 1063; February 1, 2007, David Pitt, review of Hades, p. 34.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2003, review of Aphrodite, p. 1252.

Library Journal, August, 2001, Eva Lautemann, review of The Cat Who'll Live Forever, p. 146; December, 2003, Ronnie H. Terpening, review of Aphrodite, p. 162.

MBR Bookwatch, May, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Midas.

New York Times, October 21, 1991, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Cat Who Went to Paris, p. B2.

New York Times Book Review, September 29, 1991, Kiki Olson, review of The Cat Who Went to Paris, p. 22.

People, May 31, 1999, "Journey's End: Recalling Norton, a Cat Who Traveled Far, Wide and Well," p. 77; September 3, 2001, "Pages," p. 47.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1999, review of Gideon, p. 68; July 9, 2001, review of Icarus, p. 49; July 16, 2001, review of The Cat Who'll Live Forever, p. 171; November 17, 2003, review of Aphrodite, p. 41.

School Library Journal, December, 2001, Christine C. Menefee, review of The Cat Who'll Live Forever, p. 175.

Variety, July 26, 1999, Oliver Jones, "From Pages to Pix, It's All to Gethers Now."

Washington Post, August 24, 1978, Joseph McLellan, review of The Dandy; April 7, 1987, Tom Miller, review of Getting Blue.

ONLINE

Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (August 27, 2007), Jeff Foster, review of Hades.

Mystery Books,http://www.mystery-books.com/ (April 10, 2007), review of Hades.

Who Dunnit,http://www.who-dunnit.com/ (August 26, 2007), "Russell Andrews."