Highland, Frederick 1945-

views updated

Highland, Frederick 1945-

PERSONAL:

Born February 13, 1945, in Audubon, NJ; son of Frederick William, Sr., and Emily Barbara Highland; children: Sophia Angela. Education: Suffolk University, B.A., 1967; University of Wisconsin, M.A, 1971, Ph.D, 1983.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Peace Corps, volunteer in the South Pacific, 1967-69; University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, teaching assistant, 1969-75; Upward Bound Program, Milwaukee, instructor, 1970-73; Bir Zeit University, Palestinian Authority, instructor, 1975-76; Chapman College, Orange, CA, PACE professor, 1977-79; Department of the U.S. Navy, Cubi Point, Philippines, education specialist, 1979-85; Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, professor, 1984-95; City Colleges of Chicago, Pearl Harbor, HI, director of PACE Hawaii, 1985-87; Highland Wordsmith (freelance writing and speaking service), Bellingham, WA, owner, 1996—. Also has worked as a sailor in the merchant marine and as a tropical agriculturist; former editor and founder of several periodicals.

MEMBER:

Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, Authors League of America, American Philatelic Society (Writer's Unit).

WRITINGS:

The Mystery Box (short stories), Ana-Libri Press (Bellingham, WA), 1998.

Ghost Eater, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Night Falls on Damascus, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of articles and short stories to periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS:

In his debut novel, Ghost Eater, Frederick Highland tells the story of Ulysses Vanders, a young sea captain who embarks on an adventure into remote jungle rivers in nineteenth-century Sumatra to rescue lost missionaries. Sailing on his riverboat the Lorelei, Ulysses is accompanied by the pirate hunter Claridge and escaped convict Rowan Fahey. When two Malayan women come aboard, Ulysses and his companions learn of some strange mystical practices and local voodoo rights. Later, after the adventurers finally arrive at the mission, they find that one of the young women missionaries has gone native and may be leading a violent cult. Library Journal critic Fred M. Gervat called Ghost Eater "a rousing adventure story." A Publishers Weekly contributor similarly commented that "this is a swashbuckling, seafaring novel with mystical overtones." Other critics also praised Highland for his riveting storytelling abilities. Referring to the novel as "an exciting, smoothly written naval adventure," Booklist reviewer Joanne Wilkinson called it "exhilarating escapist fare," and New Mystery Reader contributor Narayan Radhakrishnan promised that Ghost Eater "will enthrall and enchant the lover of mysteries."

Highland's second novel, Night Falls on Damascus, takes place in 1933 and features Nikolai Faroun, the chief of police in Damascus. When Vara Tamiri, a female activist in a strict patriarchal society, is murdered, the general public opinion, as well as that of Nikolai's colleagues, is that the woman got what she deserved. Nikolai, however, is determined to bring the killer to justice, making him almost as much of an outcast as the victim. As Nikolai investigates, he finds a wide range of suspects, from embarrassed family members to Vara's numerous lovers. In the end, he begins to suspect that the woman's murder may be due to political intrigue resulting from enemies first made two millennia earlier. Writing in Booklist, Keir Graff commented that the author "seems to have done his research," making the novel's "exotic locales and intrigue-laden power struggles" all the more real. Michael Leonard wrote on the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site: "Author Frederick Highland beautifully evokes an era where a thousand dark stories inhabit the furtive back streets of this city, a metropolis of memory, of ancient gates and monuments, tombs and catacombs. The novel is indeed a kaleidoscope of images of this ancient capital." Some reviewers also pointed out that the author provides insights into the political and social world of the Middle East. For example, a Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "the perfect guide to understanding just how wrongheaded the Westerners have been about Levantine politics."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2003, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Ghost Eater, p. 1953; October 15, 2006, Keir Graff, review of Night Falls on Damascus, p. 30.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of Night Falls on Damascus, p. 990.

Library Journal, August 1, 2003, Fred M. Gervat, review of Ghost Eater, p. 131.

Publishers Weekly, June 30, 2003, review of Ghost Eater, p. 51; October 2, 2006, review of Night Falls on Damascus, p. 42.

ONLINE

Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (April 17, 2007), Michael Leonard, review of Night Falls on Damascus.

Frederick Highland Home Page,http://www.frederickhighland.com (April 17, 2007).

Ghost Eater Web site,http://www.ghosteater.com (April 17, 2007).

Mystery Box Web site,http://www.themysterybox.com (April 17, 2007), brief profile of Frederick Highland.

New Mystery Reader,http://www.newmysteryreader.com/ (April 17, 2007), Narayan Radhakrishnan, review of Ghost Eater.