Lochte, Richard S(amuel) 1944–
LOCHTE, Richard S(amuel) 1944– (Dick Lochte)
PERSONAL: Born October 19, 1944, in New Orleans, LA; son of Richard Samuel (an insurance investigator) and Eileen (a musician; maiden name, Carbine) Lochte; married Jane Bryson, 1989; children: one son. Education: Tulane University, B.A., 1965.
CAREER: Playboy, Chicago, IL, copywriter, 1966–70, West Coast promotional manager, 1970–73; freelance writer, 1973–. Military service: U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, 1962–69; became lieutenant commander.
MEMBER: International PEN, International Crime Writers Association, Writers Guild of America, Mystery Writers of America (board of directors, 1988), National Book Critics Circle, American Crime Writers League (president, 1999–2000), Private Eye Writers of America, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (vice president, 1986).
AWARDS, HONORS: Nero Wolfe Award, Rex Stout Society, 1985, Edgar Award for best first novel nomination, Mystery Writers of America, 1986, and 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century selection, Independent Booksellers Association, all for Sleeping Dog; Theatre Los Angeles Governors Award, 1989, for body of work in theatre criticism.
MYSTERY NOVELS; UNDER NAME DICK LOCHTE
Sleeping Dog, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1985.
Laughing Dog, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1988.
Blue Bayou, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.
The Neon Smile, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Christopher Darden) The Trials of Nikki Hill, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Lucky Dog, and Other Tales of Murder, Five Star (Unity, ME), 2000.
(With Christopher Darden) L.A. Justice, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Christopher Darden) The Last Defense, New American Library (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Christopher Darden) Lawless, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.
OTHER; UNDER NAME DICK LOCHTE
The Playboy Writer (nonfiction), HMH Publications (Chicago, IL), 1968.
Death Mask (novel), Shelbourne Press (New York, NY), 1971.
(Coauthor) Escape to Athena (screenplay), ITC/Associated Film Distribution, 1979.
Philip Strange (screenplay), Michael Laughlin Productions, 1985.
Also author of unproduced screenplay, Sleeping Dog, based on his novel of the same title. Film critic, Los Angeles Free Press, 1971–74; author of column "Book Notes," Los Angeles Times, 1974–85; theatre critic, Los Angeles Magazine, 1975–95; audiotape reviewer, Los Angeles Daily News and Armchair Detective, 1989–.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard S. Lochte has proven his skill as a mystery writer. Under the name Dick Lochte, he has published both solo efforts and collaborations with Christopher Darden, one of the attorneys from the prosecution team in the infamous O. J. Simpson trial. Lochte has "a style of his own: giddy and gaudy on the outside, cynical and perverse under the skin," mused Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times Book Review.
Lochte was nominated for a prestigious Edgar Award with his first novel, Sleeping Dog. The central character is private eye Leo G. Bloodworth, who specializes in finding missing persons. Bloodworth is approached by a fourteen-year-old girl who has lost her dog and soon becomes entangled with an illegal dog fighting ring, a blackmail scheme, and then the kidnapping of the girl. The novel is told from alternating viewpoints—Bloodworth's and the girl's. According to Sharon A. Russell, an essayist for St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, "these two presentations overcome one of the limitations of the first person novel: the reader can learn of events occurring in more than one place at the same time, and the reader's information is not limited to that presented by a single character." Sleeping Dog was praised by Newgate Callendar in the New York Times Book Review as "a first novel that is original; that moves alertly along; that has considerable charm as well as action; that has believable characters and elegant writing." Bloodworth appeared again in Laughing Dog and Lucky Dog, and Other Tales of Murder.
Lochte created a private eye named Terry Manion for his novels Blue Bayou and The Neon Smile. Manion is based in New Orleans, and tracks his suspects through that city's flamboyant underworld. Blue Bayou has Manion investigating the alleged suicide of his partner and mentor, J. J. Legendre; in the process, he uncovers political corruption in the state's legalized gambling industry. The novel is darkly comic, in the opinion of Stasio, who further noted that Lochte makes "the cynical case that the city is one big family, with members of every social and economic class caught up in a network of crime and corruption." In The Neon Smile, Manion must dig up the facts concerning an unsolved case from thirty years before, one originally investigated by Legendre, when a television producer decides to make a documentary about the case. The novel is "chockful of dark humor, wordplay and subtle clues," wrote a critic for Publishers Weekly, and is "rich enough to reward multiple readings." Manion and Legendre are also featured in Lucky Dog, and Other Tales of Murder.
Lochte has collaborated on several successful novels with attorney Christopher Darden. Their first effort, The Trials of Nikki Hill, features a smart, sexy African-American prosecutor who is assigned to work as a special assistant to the district attorney on a high-profile case that resonates with racial tension. The fast-paced story reveals Nikki as a multifaceted, hard-driving woman, "a charismatic heroine," stated Jenny McLarin in Booklist. The Trials of Nikki Hill is "a tale of sex, drugs, power and violence," according to Gwendolyn Osborne in Mystery Reader; she further described it as a "story of the abrogation of justice in favor of the political and personal ambitions of prosecutors and police." Nikki and her boyfriend, detective Virgil Sykes, are featured again in L.A. Justice, a story involving a murdered woman and her ten-year-old son, who may be a key witness to the crime. "Darden's legal smarts and Lochte's sure prose touch work well in tandem," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer, and Wes Lukowsky of Booklist rated it "an engrossing, entertaining legal thriller."
In The Last Defense, Lochte and Darden offer readers a story that "pinballs the non-stop action from courtroom to bar room to bedroom," according to a writer for Publishers Weekly. The plot revolves around Mercer Early, an ambitious young criminal defense lawyer who works for the most prestigious African-American law firm in Los Angeles. Winning his cases means everything to Early even if it means using fake evidence to get his client acquitted. Mercer's fast-track career is threatened by secrets from his past, however, and his need to keep those secrets buried leads to his courtroom defense of a former enemy. Lochte and Darden are "a formidable team" and their book gives readers "a fast ride with a jolting, surprise finish," according to the Publishers Weekly reviewer. Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, called The Last Defense "wildly entertaining," and also stated that the coauthors are "a great team."
Lochte once told CA: "It has been said that young writers today are interested in writing The Great American Film instead of The Great American Novel. If true, it is because they are unfamiliar with the differences—make that perils—the two media hold for the writer. As a novelist, the writer is in total control of the material and as such is responsible for research, accuracy, clarity of thought, and so on. As a screenwriter, he or she prepares a blueprint and thereafter is responsible only for cashing the check for services rendered."
"Writing pulled me through schools and college. If I hadn't been interested in it, I'd probably still be stuck back there trying to figure out why E=mc2. When I didn't know an answer, which was often, I made one up. I did some of my most creative writing in college. Later, it was a way of getting away from a nine-to-five job."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, fourth edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Booklist, February 15, 1999, Jenny McLarin, review of The Trials of Nikki Hill (audio version), p. 1044; October 1, 2000, Wes Lukowsky, review of L.A. Justice, p. 292; October 1, 2002, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Last Defense, p. 303; December 1, 2003, Wes Lukowsky, review of Lawless, p. 626.
Drood Review of Mystery, January, 2001, review of Sleeping Dog, p. 20.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002, review of The Last Defense, p. 1176.
Library Journal, November 1, 1999, Mark Pumphrey, review of The Trials of Nikki Hill (audio version), p. 144; November 1, 2001, Michael Rogers, review of Sleeping Dog, p. 138.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 24, 1985.
New York Times Book Review, November 17, 1985, p. 46; July 19, 1992; May 7, 1995.
Publishers Weekly, February 13, 1995, p. 66; February 10, 1997, p. 19; January 25, 1999, review of The Trials of Nikki Hill, p. 70; October 9, 2000, review of L.A. Justice, p. 76; September 30, 2002, review of The Last Defense, p. 54; December 8, 2003, review of Lawless, p. 46.
BookPage, http://www.bookpage.com/ (February 11, 2003), Bruce Tierney, review of L.A. Justice.
Books & Bytes, http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (February 11, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of The Last Defense.
January, http://www.januarymagazine.com/ (February 11, 2003), Tom Nolan, review of Lucky Dog, and Other Tales of Murder.
Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (February 11, 2003), Gwendolyn Osborne, review of The Trials of Nikki Hill.
Romance Readers' Connection, http://www.theromancereadersconnection.com/ (February 11, 2003), Tracy Farnsworth, review of L.A. Justice.
Romantic Times, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (February 11, 2003), Cindy Harrison, review of The Last Defense.
Under the Covers Book Reviews, http://www.silcom.com∼manatee/ (March 5, 1999), Harriet Klausner, review of The Trials of Nikki Hill.