Montanari, Richard 1955(?)-
Montanari, Richard 1955(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1955, in Cleveland, OH. Education: Attended Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. Hobbies and other interests: Boxing, gourmet cooking, and independent films.
ADDRESSES: Agent—The Jane Rotrosen Agency, 318 East 51st St., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Writer. Sold clothing at Peter Brown's of Oxford Street and encyclopedias in Hempstead Heath, both in England; has also worked construction in the United States.
AWARDS, HONORS: On-Line Mystery Award.
Deviant Way (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.
The Violet Hour: A Novel of Suspense, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Kiss of Evil: A Novel of Suspense, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
The Rosary Girls: A Novel of Suspense, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Also contributor to periodicals, including Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, WordPerfect magazine, and Cleveland magazine; author of bi-weekly film column for Edition and Free Times.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The second book in the Philadelphia series, The Skin Gods; screenplay biography about a deceased jazz musician.
SIDELIGHTS: "My books are known for their graphic content, for their multiple reversals and whodunit aspects," Richard Montanari explained in an interview on the Bookhaunts Web site. In his first mystery, Deviant Way, Montanari tells the story of serial murders committed in Cleveland that are perpetrated by one or more people. When police detective Jack Paris takes on the case, he uses a female colleague, Cindy Taggart, to bait the killer or killers, who pick up their victims at singles bars. Paris has only one solid clue: all the victims had a rose tattoo scraped off their skin with a razor. Before long, the case becomes personal for Paris, whose daughter is kidnapped. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "Montanari gives the serial-killer theme an original spin but fails to follow it through." Calling the book a "scary, suspenseful psychosexual thriller," Booklist critic Wes Lukowsky said, "The women-in-jeopardy theme is an overused plot element in suspense fiction, but first-time author Montanari keeps things moving."
The Violet Hour: A Novel of Suspense once again features a serial killer. This time, the murderer is seeking revenge for his girlfriend's death due to a heroin overdose. Freelance reporter Nick Stella digs into the case, which revolves around the attendees of a party twenty years earlier when the woman died. As the partygoers are murdered one by one, Stella gets closer to identifying the perpetrator. A Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed The Violet Hour a "consistently surprising if somewhat implausible novel of suspense." David Pitt called the book "an especially interesting thriller," praising the author for not using "suspense as a substitute for craftsmanship."
In Kiss of Evil: A Novel of Suspense, Montanari brings back Detective Jack Paris, who is now out to clear the name of his friend and colleague Michael Ryan, who was shot with his own gun in a Cleveland motel. The prime suspect, a fashion model, was cleared in the murder but later apparently killed herself. Paris is also on the case of a series of savage murders that seem to be committed indiscriminately; the victims range from a street person to a middle-class suburban businesswoman. All have been mutilated and all bear an arcane religious symbol. As Paris hunts down the killer, he also uncovers clues to Ryan's death. "Those with a yen for viscera and violence will appreciate Montanari's scalpel-like narrative skills," according to one Publishers Weekly contributor. Kelly Milner Halls, writing in the Denver Post, described the book as "a pulse quickening, deftly crafted page-turner."
The Rosary Girls: A Novel of Suspense, finds Kevin Byrne, a twenty-year Philadelphia police detective veteran who is considered a maverick, teamed with Detective Jessica Balzano on a series of teenager murders. All the teens attended the same Catholic high school, and the two look for clues that might lie within the Roman Catholic tradition. The story is told both by the police and the killer, an approach that Rebecca House Stankowski, writing in the Library Journal, felt results in a "cleverly crafted" story. A Publishers Weekly contributor similarly called Montanari "a wonderfully evocative writer," though the reviewer complained that "the final unveiling of the madman's identity will draw cries of foul from readers." But Harriet Klausner, writing in MBR Bookwatch, concluded, "Anyone who has not read a Richard Montanari thriller is missing something very special."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 1995, Wes Lukowsky, review of Deviant Way, p. 1865; May 15, 1998, David Pitt, review of The Violet Hour: A Novel of Suspense, p. 1599; December 15, 2004, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of The Rosary Girls: A Novel of Suspense, p. 69.
Denver Post, May 13, 2001, Kelly Milner Halls, review of The Rosary Girls, p. I8.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of The Rosary Girls, p. 1122.
Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Rebecca House Stankowski, review of The Rosary Girls, p. 99.
MBR Bookwatch, February, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of The Rosary Girls.
Publishers Weekly, June 12, 1995, review of Deviant Way, p. 47; May 11, 1998, review of The Violet Hour, p. 50; April 9, 2001, review of Kiss of Evil: A Novel of Suspense, p. 53; December 13, 2004, review of The Rosary Girls, p. 691.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 1, 2001, Oline H. Cogdill, review of Kiss of Evil.
Best Reviews Web site, http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (March 8, 2005), review of The Rosary Girls.
Bookhaunts Web site, http://www.webrighter.co.uk/bookhaunts/ (March 8, 2005), "Richard Motanari—Q&A's."
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (March 8, 2005), interview with Montanari.
Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/ (March 8, 2005), interview with Montanari.
Reviewingtheevidence.com, http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/ (March 8, 2005), review of The Rosary Girls.
Richard Montanari Home Page, http://www.richardmontanari.com (March 8, 2005).