Gischler, Victor 1969-

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GISCHLER, Victor 1969-

PERSONAL:

Born March 11, 1969, in Sanford, FL; son of Victor (in real estate) and Sharon Burden (a massage therapist) Gischler; married Jackie Bach, December 19, 1998. Ethnicity: "White guy." Education: Earned a Ph.D. Politics: Moderate conservative.

ADDRESSES:

Home—637-B Earthside Circle, Claremore, OK 74017. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Rogers State University, Claremore, OK, assistant professor of creative writing, 2001—. Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Finalist, Edgar Allan Poe Award for best first novel, Mystery Writers of America, 2002, for Gun Monkeys.

WRITINGS:

Gun Monkeys (crime novel), UglyTown (Los Angeles, CA), 2001.

The Pistol Poets (crime novel), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Author, with Anthony Neil Smith, of crime novels Bourbon Street Spank and To the Devil, My Regards, published in e-book form by Handheld Crime. Short stories published in anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories 1999, edited by Ed McBain, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1999. Short stories also published in magazines, including Blue Murder, Nefarious, Lynx Eye, Crimestalker Casebook, Portland, Thrilling Detective, Lean Seed, Futures, Westview, and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

SIDELIGHTS:

Victor Gischler began his writing career with science-fiction, horror, and fantasy stories, but he had little success in these genres, so he switched to crime fiction. He has gone on to have numerous mystery stories published, and with his first book-length work, Gun Monkeys, he earned a nomination for the Mystery Writers of America's prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award in the category of best first novel.

The protagonist of Gun Monkeys is Charlie Swift, an organized-crime hit man, or "gun monkey," who is also a family man, looking after his mother and younger brother. Swift works for a crime syndicate in Orlando, Florida, and the novel's story is set in motion when a rival group from Miami tries to take over the territory. In the ensuing gang war, many of Charlie's colleagues are killed, leading him to seek revenge. The novel is filled with cynical characters and violent action. Gun Monkeys offers "a bantering tone" and "dark humor" along with its "unusual protagonists," noted Library Journal reviewer Rex E. Klett.

Gischler's second novel, The Pistol Poets, is set at a fictional college, Eastern Oklahoma University. Several factors make life on campus less than idyllic. A graduate student dies of a drug overdose while in bed with visiting professor Jay Morgan. One of Morgan's poetry students, a former criminal, helps him bury the woman's body; meanwhile, her parents hire a private detective to locate her. To make matters worse, hoodlum Harold Jenks turns up in Morgan's class, impersonating a student he had killed during a robbery attempt. Jenks has stolen a large amount of cocaine from his boss, who eventually arrives from East St. Louis, Illinois, to try to reclaim it—but several other characters decide they would like to have it as well. Along the way, the novel lampoons the pretensions of academia and what some might see as hypersensitivity concerning racial and sexual matters.

The Pistol Poets "is in numerous ways politically incorrect, which decent satire almost has to be," commented Washington Post Book World critic Patrick Anderson, "and its twisted tale of gangsters and poets, if not profound, will brighten the day of anyone blessed with a sense of humor." A Kirkus Reviews contributor had less praise for the novel: "Although some of it is funny, you'll look in vain for a character to like." Peter Mergendahl, writing in the Rocky Mountain News, offered a different view, remarking that Gischler "knows how to make his characters not only hilarious caricatures, but also just intelligent enough to be worth rooting for." A Publishers Weekly reviewer deemed the book "a far-fetched but fast and viciously enjoyable read," and in a similar vein, Booklist's Jenny McLarin described it as "over the top, perhaps" but "utterly entertaining."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 2003, Jenny McLarin, review of The Pistol Poets, p. 731.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of The Pistol Poets, p. 1342.

Library Journal, May 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Gun Monkeys, p. 138.

Publishers Weekly, December 1, 2003, review of The Pistol Poets, p. 40.

Rocky Mountain News, February 6, 2004, Peter Mergendahl, review of The Pistol Poets, section D, p. 28.

Washington Post Book World, March 1, 2004, Patrick Anderson, review of The Pistol Poets, section C, p. 4.

ONLINE

Books'n'Bytes Web site,http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (September 24, 2004), Dusty Rhoades, review of Gun Monkeys, and Jon Jordan, interview with Gischler.*

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