Harrington, Kent (A.) 1952-
HARRINGTON, Kent (A.) 1952-
Born 1952; married. Education: Graduated from San Francisco State University.
Home—San Francisco, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Capra Press, 155 Canon View Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.
Dark Ride, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Día de los Muertos, Dennis McMillan Publications (Tucson, AZ), 1997.
The American Boys, Dennis McMillan Publications (Tucson, AZ), 2000.
The Tattooed Muse, Dennis McMillan Publications (Tucson, AZ), 2001.
Contributor to Measures of Poison, Dennis McMillan Publications (Tucson, AZ), 2000.
Kent Harrington writes noir fiction. His novels, with their graphic violence and troubled protagonists, have been compared to the works of Jim Thompson and James M. Cain. In an interview with the Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers Web site, Harrington said that he started writing because "I was very broke and had been doing a job where people shot at me quite a lot, and I mean with bullets." Harrington stated that noir appeals to him because it "is very strict in terms of its tone and architecture but incredibly liberal about intellectual spin."
Harrington's first novel, Dark Ride, portrays Jimmy Rogers, a promising athlete and heir to his father's lucrative wine business. Instead of becoming successful, Jimmy is involved in drug abuse, sexual obsession, and murder. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Harrington a "stylish writer" and admired his "refreshing contempt for Jimmy's dim-wittedness." However, the reviewer disliked Harrington's "herky-jerky plotting and [his] habit of signaling his intentions." Booklist critic Thomas Gaughan remarked that "the sex and violence are remarkably graphic and ugly, but they're not gratuitous."
The Tattooed Muse is Harrington's tribute to famed film director Alfred Hitchcock. Martin Anderson, a struggling writer experiencing his first success, begins to lose his memory and suffer delusions. Anderson believes that there is a blonde woman haunting San Francisco's Coit Tower. Booklist critic Thomas Gaughan admitted that experienced noir readers will see through the plot, but noted that "the treachery that fills the second half of the book, and the tormented character of the man who solves the mystery, are worth the ride."
Harrington's novel Día de los Muertos tells the story of corrupt DEA Agent Vince Calhoun. Calhoun smuggles people over the border, and he has a large gambling debt and an ex-girlfriend who has just returned from prison. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that although the book had a lot going for it, Vince Calhoun "creates all his own trouble"; as a result, readers cease to care about him. Alex Law, the protagonist in The American Boys, is a washed-up CIA agent who becomes involved in a conspiracy between high-ranking officials and drug cartels. A Publishers Weekly contributor described Harrington's political thriller as "edge-of-the-seat reading from start to finish." The contributor also commended Harrington for understanding that "good suspense novels work because they are not about events, but about the people embroiled in the action."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 1995, Thomas Gaughan, review of Dark Ride, p. 688; November 15, 2001, Gaughan, review of The Tattooed Muse, p. 557.
Publishers Weekly, December 4, 1995, review of Dark Ride, p. 53; November 10, 1997, review of Día de los Muertos, p. 56; April 17, 2000, review of The American Boys, p. 49.
Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers Web site,http://www.crimepays.com/ (August 6, 2004), interview with Kent Harrington.*