Langfield, Martin 1962-
Langfield, Martin 1962-
Born 1962, in Peterborough, England; married; wife's name Amy; children: Christopher (first marriage). Education: Graduated from University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall; spent time studying indigenous literature in Mexico.
Home—New York, NY.
Reuters, working out of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Madrid, Miami, London, and New York, starting as a foreign correspondent and deputy bureau chief of the Miami office, up through bureau chief of the Miami office, and East Coast bureau chief, 1987—, head of journalism training program; previously taught English in Paris, France.
The Malice Box, Pegasus Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to numerous periodicals around the world; author of the blog The Malice Box.
Journalist Martin Langfield was born in 1962 in Peterborough, England. He graduated from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he studied the French and Spanish languages, and he also spent time in Mexico, where he studied indigenous literature and the various stories of the region. A writer for Reuters, he has traveled all over the world working as a foreign correspondent, with a particular affinity for South America. His career was in some respect sparked during his time studying in Mexico, as he was in Mexico City when the 1985 earthquake hit. While he himself was unharmed, he was struck by the overwhelming chaos that surrounded him, and the importance of communication and the ability to spread the word in such a situation. Langfield commented in an interview for the Peterborough Today Online Web site: "This incredible event was happening right in front of my eyes and it was something that everyone in the world wanted to know about. There was no communication into the city and I suddenly realised how important is was for people to know what's going on."
Over the course of his career, he has reported from such diverse locations as El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Madrid, Miami, London, and New York. In addition to his reporting duties, he has served as both deputy bureau chief and full bureau chief in Miami, and later became bureau chief for the entire East Coast. In 1999, he settled back into life in the United States, moving to New York City where he is responsible for Reuter's journalism training program. In addition to working as a journalist, Langfield also spent time teaching English in Paris, France. In 2007, Langfield published his first book, The Malice Box.
The Malice Box was the first book published as part of the British Penguin Books' Michael Joseph imprint of thrillers, and as a result was accompanied by an intriguing marketing campaign that included a blog on- line and a game that included a prize. Perhaps despite the kitschy nature of the advertising for the book, Langfield's debut novel met with favorable critical response. The story revolves around a group of three friends from Cambridge who, despite growing up, still indulge in a friendly bout of scavenger hunts amongst themselves as a means of entertainment. This hobby eventually stands them in good stead as they find themselves facing a dilemma with a serious deadline. The book morphs into a puzzle-and-clue sort of adventure, the type that is often compared in more or less favorable terms to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. In Langfield's adventure, hero Robert Reckliss, a New York-based journalist, is charged with saving the world by determining how to keep the malice box of the title—also known as the Ma'rifat'—from exploding. Robert has just seven days to figure out the secret of the box, and along the way he must complete a series of seven tasks or trials. Along for the ride are his old friends, somewhat eccentric Adam Hale, and Katherine, who is now his wife but who once dated Adam. Peter Guttridge, writing for the Observer Online Web site, remarked that "the book is full of puzzles and moves at a good lick, but it is essentially a novelization of a computer game." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews noted that "Langfield's fiction debut … sacrifices conventional thrills to a series of cerebral challenges." Allison Block, reviewing for Booklist, remarked that "Langfield's premise is intriguing, but his flat characters and clichéed prose disappoint. Still, devotees of the theme will want to take a look." Library Journal reviewer Laura A.B. Cifelli had a similar view, commenting that "while the concept is brilliantly clever, the overall execution is a tad disappointing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2007, Allison Block, review of The Malice Box, p. 35.
Bookseller, January 5, 2007, review of The Malice Box, p. 9.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of The Malice Box.
Library Journal, October 15, 2007, Laura A.B. Cifelli, review of The Malice Box, p. 55.
Publishers Weekly, September 10, 2007, review of The Malice Box, p. 42.
Civilian Reader Blog,http://civilian-reader.blogspot.com/ (March 24, 2008), Stefan Fergus, review of The Malice Box.
Good Reads,http://www.goodreads.com/ (July 21, 2008), author profile.
Observer Online,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (February 18, 2007), Peter Guttridge, "Damn You, Dan Brown, for Copycats."
Peterborough Today Online,http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/ (February 17, 2007), "Dark Events Are Inspiration for Martin's Novel."
Times Online,http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ (March 10, 2007), Peter Millar, review of The Malice Box.