Hewson, David 1953–

views updated

Hewson, David 1953–


Born 1953, in Yorkshire, England; married; wife's name Helen (a journalist). Hobbies and other interests: Food, travel, and wine-making.


Home—North Downs, Kent, England. Office—P.O. Box 418, Ashford TN25 5WZ, England.


Scarborough Evening News, Scarborough, England, former trainee reporter; Times, London, England, former reporter; Independent, London, England, former feature editor; Sunday Times, London, England, computer and technology columnist.


W.H. Smith Fresh Talent Award, 1996, for Semana Santa.


Shanghai Thunder, Hale (London, England), 1986.

The Quark XPress Companion: Additional Know-How for Professional Publishing Results with the Macintosh, Heyden (London, England), 1988.

Introduction to Desktop Publishing: A Guide to Buying and Using a Desktop Publishing System, John Taylor Book Ventures (Hatfield, England), 1989.

Granada and Eastern Andalucia (travel), Merehurst Press (London, England), 1990.

Mallorca (travel), Merehurst Press (London, England), 1990.

Seville and Western Andalucia (travel), Merehurst Press (London, England), 1990.

Semana Santa (novel), HarperCollins (London, England), 1996.

Epiphany (novel), HarperCollins (London, England), 1996.

Solstice (novel), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Native Rites (novel), HarperCollins (London, England), 2000.

Lucifer's Shadow (novel), HarperCollins (London, England), 2001.


A Season for the Dead, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.

The Villa of Mysteries, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Sacred Cut, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2006.

The Lizard's Bite, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2006.

The Seventh Sacrament, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2007.


Semana Santa was made into a feature film in 2002.


David Hewson began his writing career in journalism, but in the mid-1990s he returned to his first love: fiction. Hewson's books reflect his various interests—such as Mediterranean travel and computer and space sciences—that have also characterized his journalism. Hewson's first novel, Semana Santa, takes place during Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, in Seville, Spain. Detective Maria Delgado sets out to track down a ruthless killer who has murdered a pair of artist brothers in a way that recalls a famous painting. Delgado, who is an outsider from Madrid, is not supposed to be involved in the investigation, but she finds herself drawn further and further into the matter. Soon the killer chooses her as the next victim.

Hewson drew on his familiarity with technology and science for his third novel, Solstice. "Just when we thought we might run out of natural disasters to unnerve us in thriller fiction," stated reviewer William F. Nicholson in USA Today, "David Hewson has come up with solar flares." In the book, technologist Michael Lieberman has been hired by a solar research station based on the island of Mallorca to investigate increased sunspot activity that has accelerated global warming to the boiling point. Complicating Lieberman's research is the fact that someone seems to have harnessed the increased heat for a weapons system and is attacking research satellites. When Air Force One is burned out of the sky, the CIA and FBI enlist Lieberman's help to find the culprit. Suspicion soon falls on Lieberman's former partner, Charley Pascale, who helped Lieberman design a superweapon-carrying satellite called "Sundog." It turns out that Pascale, who is dying from a debilitating disease, has hijacked Sundog and turned its weapons against Earth. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the author "cleverly mines the increasing vulnerability of the world's computer-dependent infrastructure to provide a megahertz action thriller."

Hewson's novel Lucifer's Shadow evokes the atmosphere of the historic city of Venice. The book tells the story of Oxford student Daniel Forster, who has been hired to catalogue the eclectic collection of antiques dealer Signor Scacchi. Forster is confused about Scacchi's motives in hiring him, until he realizes that the dealer is depending on him to discover something that will save him from his severe economic problems. Soon Forster uncovers an unknown violin concerto that might have been written by the eighteenth-century composer Antonio Vivaldi. At the same time, the student realizes that everyone he knows in Venice has been misleading him. Birmingham Post contributor Jess Hybert commented: "Leaping back and forth between the past and present, Hewson's tale of good and evil is as enjoyable for its historical context as for its tense narrative development."

A Season for the Dead begins a series of detective-fiction novels featuring a Roman investigator and policeman named Nic Costa. Costa, stated WashingtonPost Book World contributor Patrick Anderson, "is a curiosity. He is twenty-seven, slender, handsome, a runner, a vegetarian and a passionate admirer of the painter Caravaggio." The young policeman's interest in the Renaissance painter is fortuitous, because he gets drawn into a murder investigation that centers on the sex life of a professor of early Christianity named Sara Farnese. Someone is murdering Sara's former lovers in ways reminiscent of early Christian martyrdoms—a topic that Caravaggio often depicted in his artwork. Many critics praised the book. A Publishers Weekly reviewer, for example, commended the work for its "outsized, eccentric characters" and "abundance of historical detail" and concluded that the book is "engrossing." Laura A.B. Cifelli, writing for Library Journal, remarked that the story "offers a … compelling view of the public art of Rome and the private intrigue of the Vatican." San Francisco Chronicle contributor Mark Lazarus concluded that "A Season for the Dead has a number of attractions, not least its great detail and rich historical underpinning."

The next book in the Nic Costa series is The Villa of Mysteries, in which an American couple inadvertently unearth the preserved body of a young woman who appears to have been sacrificed as a virgin two thousand years earlier. The find results in an ongoing investigation and arguments over jurisdiction between various branches of law enforcement and other government agencies. A link is discovered between the body and the disappearance of a tourist, both of whom appeared to be part of a cult worshiping Dionysus. As Costa attempts to follow a series of leads, the body count grows. Booklist contributor Jennifer Baker called Hewson's effort "a complex and satisfying mystery from a master plot maker." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews commented: "Hewson is a confirmed overplotter, but, still, this is entertaining stuff, with a literate style and an appealing cast."

Hewson's third Costa novel, The Sacred Cut, tells the story of an Iraqi girl living as a refugee in Rome who finds herself in police protection after witnessing a murder. The corpse has been posed as if it were in a painting, and a sacred symbol has been cut into the body as well. Costa and his partner Peroni must solve the case before the FBI, whose agents are already involved, can close in on the killer themselves. A contributor to Publishers Weekly remarked that "Hewson's solid writing and multidimensional characters command attention from start to finish of this smart, literate thriller." Ron Bernas, writing for the Detroit Free Press, noted that "the climax is something you don't see often in books like this: bloodless, but fully satisfying."

In The Lizard's Bite Nic Costa finds himself sent to Venice, having aggravated his superiors in Rome. He is teamed with Commissario Gianfranco Randazzo, whose personality is diametrically opposed to Costa's; they set out to find those responsible for the murders of Bella and Uriel Arcangelo, who are killed when the furnace at their glass-blowing business explodes. Reviewing the work for Booklist, Bill Ott remarked that "Hewson takes the story well beyond its genre-bound premise." Marilyn Stasio, writing for the New York Times Book Review, remarked: "Logic aside, Hewson's preposterous story is told with dashing style." And a contributor for Publishers Weekly called the book "wonderfully complex and finely paced."

The Seventh Sacrament finds Nic Costa back in Rome after his sojourn to Venice, along with fellow detective Gianni Peroni and their supervisor, Leo Falcone. Shortly following the discovery of a Mithrean, a group of students attempted to re-enact an ancient ritual on the property. The result was the disappearance of the son of a prominent archeologist. More than a decade later, a series of murders appears to be tied to these earlier events. Although who committed the current crimes and why is quickly solved, the true mystery lies in the modern-day crimes' connection to the previous ones. Bookbag critic Magda Healy called the book "a pretty compelling read, with pace, suspense, cliff-hangers in all the right places and multiple points of view which are easy to follow but make for added interest too."



Birmingham Post (Birmingham, England), July 7, 2001, Jess Hybert, review of Lucifer's Shadow, p. 53.

Booklist, May 1, 2004, Jennifer Baker, review of Lucifer's Shadow, p. 1504; December 15, 2004, Jennifer Baker, review of The Villa of Mysteries, p. 711; December 15, 2006, Bill Ott, review of The Lizard's Bite, p. 26.

Detroit Free Press, January 4, 2004, Ron Bernas, review of The Sacred Cut.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2004, review of A Season for the Dead, p. 111; July 1, 2004, review of Lucifer's Shadow, p. 596; December 1, 2004, review of The Villa of Mysteries, p. 1121.

Library Journal, February 15, 2004, Laura A.B. Cifelli, review of A Season for the Dead, p. 161.

Publishers Weekly, June 7, 1999, review of Solstice, p. 71; February 2, 2004, review of A Season for the Dead, p. 57; October 31, 2005, review of The Sacred Cut, p. 34; September 18, 2006, review of The Lizard's Bite, p. 34.

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), April 2, 2004, Jane Dickinson, review of A Season for the Dead, p. D31.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 4, 2004, Mark Lazarus, review of A Season for the Dead, p. M4.

USA Today, September 10, 1999, William F. Nicholson, review of Solstice, p. E2.

Washington Post Book World, April 12, 2004, Patrick Anderson, review of A Season for the Dead, p. 2.


Bookbag,http://www.bookbag.co.uk/ (June 3, 2007), Magda Healy, review of The Seventh Sacrament.

David Hewson Home Page,http://www.davidhewson.com (June 4, 2007).

New York Times Book Review Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (November 26, 2006), Marilyn Stasio, review of The Lizard's Bite.