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Larsgaard, Chris 1967-

LARSGAARD, Chris 1967-

PERSONAL:

Born 1967, in San Francisco, CA.. Education: Attended university in California.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Delacorte, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

CAREER:

Writer. Private investigator, c. 1990—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Shamus Award shortlist for best P.I. first novel, Private Eye Writers of America, 2001, for The Heir Hunter.

WRITINGS:

The Heir Hunter (crime novel), Delacorte (New York, NY), 2000.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Two more novels, including a possible prequel to The Heir Hunter.

SIDELIGHTS:

Chris Larsgaard is a private investigator who used his knowledge in finding heirs to unclaimed fortunes for the basis of his debut novel, The Heir Hunter. An heir hunter is a special type of investigator who locates family members who are entitled to money left by their relatives that has gone unclaimed for one reason or another. Usually, this type of work involves relatively routine work looking through public record files and other documents, but in the case of Larsgaard's main character, Nick Merchant, the work digs up government secrets and life-threatening adventure.

When Nick teams up with his ex-girlfriend, Alex Moreno, to find out who should get the twenty-two million dollars left behind by Gerald Jacobs, a deceased resident of Hudson, New York, they discover that Jacobs was part of the FBI witness protection program. Further investigation leads the team on a chase that takes them from Washington, D.C., to Switzerland, as they discover links involving everything from secret Swiss bank accounts and Nazis to a federal government cover up. All the while, they are pursued by agents linked to powerful people who will do anything to keep Merchant and Moreno from learning the truth.

Although reviewers of The Heir Hunter found minor flaws in the book that they attributed to Larsgaard's inexperience as a novelist, many critics had high praise for this debut effort. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "gives a bit too much plot away" and that Larsgaard has an occasional tendency to "overwrite," but the critic concluded that "this fine debut oozes authenticity and provides a fascinating glimpse into the quixotic and dangerous realm of high-stakes 'assets recovery.'" Similarly, Booklist writer Gary Niebuhr noted that although Larsgaard occasionally stretches credibility, the reviewer appreciated how the author "keeps things moving and does a good job with character development." Finally, Denver Post contributor Ron Franscell, commenting that the author's hero has less authority than a character who is a policeman or government investigator but more experience than an amateur sleuth, enjoyed how Larsgaard introduces readers to "a whole new sleuthing subspecies, thankfully more closely related to medical examiners and investigative reporters than precocious cats and nosy nuns."

Larsgaard explained, in a Wag interview with Woody Arbunkle, that he was inspired to write The HeirHunter when he noticed that no one had yet written a crime novel featuring a hero involved in his line of work. "I had a good feeling that the concept would be well-received because it presented a niche of private investigation which few people know about," he told Arbunkle. After the success of his debut novel, Larsgaard plans to write more, starting with "something a bit more daring, although it will involve a few of the same elements of The Heir Hunter, such as changed identities and such. I plan on writing another heir-finding book soon, however; I'm seriously thinking of making it a prequel to the original."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2000, Gary Niebuhr, review of The Heir Hunter, p. 884.

Denver Post, February 13, 2000, Ron Franscell, review of The Heir Hunter.

Library Journal, February 15, 2000, Jane Jorgenson, review of The Heir Hunter, p. 197.

Publishers Weekly, December 6, 1999, review of The Heir Hunter, p. 51.

ONLINE

Wag,http://www.thewag.net/ (August 1, 2000), Woody Arbunkle, "The Wag Chats with Chris Larsgaard."*

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