PERSONAL: Born in Oakland, CA; married; children: two. Education: University of California at Davis, M.A.
ADDRESSES: Home—Davis, CA. Agent—c/o Random House Publicity, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Fiction writer. Worked in arctic oilfields and on oceangoing tugboats and icebreakers, 1980–89; worked variously as an English teacher, golf instructor, and maintenance man.
2182 kHz (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 2002, published as 2182 Kilohertz, 2003.
The Western Limit of the World (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: David Masiel, who was often told tales of the sea by his master-mariner grandfather when he was a boy growing up in northern California, tells a seafaring story of his own in his first book, 2182 kHz. The plot involves Henry Seine, who after learning that his wife is leaving him, decides to find work on an Alaskan tugboat. Henry's troubles mount when he discovers that the tugboat is captained by a madman, who eventually causes the vessel to be lost at sea with the entire crew, except for Henry. Rescued by a beautiful ship's cook named Julia Lew, Henry soon finds himself on a new journey, this time to rescue a scientist stranded in the far north on an icecap that is melting. A Kirkus Reviews contributor felt that the book is "a good page-turner with an appropriately colorful crew and perfect tempo." Writing in Publishers Weekly, another reviewer called the effort a "gripping, darkly humorous arctic adventure story." Booklist contributor Ted Leventhal considered the novel to be "an excellent adventure tale."
Masiel returns to the sea in The Western Limit of the World. This time the nautical tale revolves around Harold Snow, an aged World War II veteran who is a seaman on a dilapidated chemical tanker named Tarshish. He has commandeered the ship, along with first mate Charlie Bracelin, to make money selling a load of goods to a West African company. Harold has renamed the ship Elisabeth in honor of a much younger woman on the ship with whom he is falling in love. The arrival of a young crewmember and Snow's relationship with Elisabeth causes new problems for the grizzled old seaman. Noting that the author "isn't subtle about the metaphorical connections," a Kirkus Reviews contributor went on to call the effort an "assured, propulsive novel that nicely balances adventure sequences with more intimate moments." In Publishers Weekly a reviewer observed that the author is successful "in conveying the danger and adventure of the contemporary nautical life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Ted Leventhal, review of 2182 kHz, p. 993.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2002, review of 2182 kHz, p. 12; September 15, 2005, review of The Western Limit of the World, p. 997.
Publishers Weekly, February 11, 2002, review of 2182 kHz, p. 161; September 12, 2005, review of The Western Limit of the World, p. 39.
Internet Book List Online, http://www.iblist.com/ (November 15, 2005), brief profile of author.