Education: University of Northern Colorado, Ed.D.
Weber State University, Ogden, UT, Department of Criminal Justice, 1981—; became professor emeritus. Has worked as police officer and member of Utah state parole board.
The Commission (novel), Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2007.
When longtime criminal justice professor Michael Norman began writing his debut novel, a mystery titled The Commission, he was, in a way, testing himself. He had previously penned academic articles, but this was his first attempt at creative writing. "I wondered if I had a creative bone in my body," he recalled, according to a news release from his school, Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. His aim, he added, was "to write a mystery that I would want to read … to entertain readers and keep their attention."
The Commission, part of a planned series, reflects Norman's background, which includes police work and service on the Utah parole board as well as teaching. His protagonist, Sam Kincaid, is an investigator with the Utah Department of Corrections and the divorced father of a young daughter. Kincaid joins with Salt Lake City police detective Kate McConnell to solve the murder of the state's parole board chairman, who was killed while on his way to a romantic rendezvous. They end up uncovering political corruption while trying to resist their attraction to each other.
Several reviewers found Norman a talented new voice in crime fiction and his book marked by authenticity. A Publishers Weekly contributor deemed The Commission an "impressive debut" that "exudes verisimilitude from start to finish." Booklist commentator Sue O'Brien praised Norman's "inside view of the prison system" along with his storytelling and characterization. Concluded a Kirkus Reviews critic: "Norman's precise, foursquare prose is a perfect match for his story. Bring on the series."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2006, Sue O'Brien, review of The Commission, p. 36.
Entertainment Weekly, February 16, 2007, Bob Cannon, review of The Commission, p. 81.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of The Commission, p. 1104.
Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of The Commission, p. 99.
Publishers Weekly, December 4, 2006, review of The Commission, p. 37.
Weber State University Web Site,http://www.weber.edu/ (February 21, 2007), "Emeritus Professor Publishes Murder Mystery Novel."