Hightower, Lynn S.
HIGHTOWER, Lynn S.
PERSONAL: Born in Chattanooga, TN. Education: Received B.A. from University of Kentucky. Hobbies and other interests: Canoeing, riding horses, eating M&Ms.
CAREER: Full-time fiction writer.
MEMBER: Horror Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Sisters in Crime.
AWARDS, HONORS: Shamus Award, c. 1992, for Satan's Lambs.
Satan's Lambs, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1992.
High Water, Holt (New York, NY), 2002.
Fortunes of the Dead, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2003.
"david silver" series
Alien Blues, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Alien Eyes, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Alien Heat, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Alien Rites, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1995.
"sonora blair" mystery series
Flashpoint, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
Eyeshot, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
No Good Deed, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1998.
The Debt Collector, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2000.
Short stories represented in several anthologies, including Women of Darkness II, Tor Books, 1990; and Final Shadows, Doubleday, 1991.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Working on more "David Silver" books; also writing a mystery novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Lynn S. Hightower has penned three mystery series, as well as two independent mystery novels. Her first set of books features a homicide detective named David Silver, whose partner is a stingray-like alien named String. Hightower carried this team through four novels, while in the meantime penning the single novel Satan's Lambs, which garnered her the Shamus Award. This book features Lena Padget, a private investigator who specializes in cases of Satanic abuse.
In 1995, Hightower introduced one of her most popular sleuths. Sonora Blair is a widowed mother of two who is one of the few women on the homicide squad of the Cincinnati police department. She balances cases with the struggles of a single mother trying to have a personal life. In her first case, Flashpoint, she matches wits with a female serial killer who likes to set nice young men on fire. In the following year's Eyeshot, Blair must deal with the disappearance of a woman who, eight years earlier, saw the district attorney murder his pregnant wife. Stuart Miller, reviewing Eyeshot in Booklist, praised it as a "tautly plotted, engaging story, enlivened by crisp dialogue."
Sonora next appears in No Good Deed, in which she tries to solve the disappearance of a young girl who had been riding a horse when she vanished. As the tale goes on, Detective Blair has cause to wonder whether it is the girl or the horse who was the primary objective of the kidnapper. A Publishers Weekly critic discussing No Good Deed noted that "like her heroine, Hightower juggles a lot of action and the challenges of her plot with convincing authority." Similarly, Dick Lochte in the Los Angeles Times praised Sonora's fourth outing, The Debt Collector, maintaining that "the police procedures seem authentic. The talk is smart and has the ring of reality. Like her heroine, Hightower is a pro who knows how to get the job done."
Hightower tells a slightly more literary story in her 2002 effort, High Water. In it, three siblings gather at a restaurant to discuss the death of their mother. One, Claire, voices her disgust at her father's long abuse of the family, saying she wishes she could push him down the stairs. When the old man is subsequently found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs, the testimony of an eavesdropper leads to Claire's arrest. Her sister Georgie must work to clear her name, and in the process she investigates her father's ties to a past military scandal. A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded that High Water "hurtles along as rapidly as any of Hightower's … thrillers … but finds room for a world of family pain and southern warmth."
Hightower told CA: "I like to combine genres—take what I like out of every genre and put it all in one story. As you can see, I take the kitchen-sink approach to writing. A lot of my work includes dead bodies, aliens, and dark and stormy nights—though Satan's Lambs is strictly a mystery. I tried to slip a ghost into the story, but my editor wisely called the plot police." Hightower also said that she shares her office with two cats and an iguana named Earl.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 1996, Stuart Miller, review of Eyeshot, p. 325.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of High Water, pp. 685-686.
Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2000, Dick Lochte, review of The Debt Collector, p. E2.
Publishers Weekly, March 2, 1998, review of No Good Deed, pp. 62-63.*