Patrick, Jennifer 1965–
Patrick, Jennifer 1965–
PERSONAL: Born 1965, in Durham, NC; father a computer science professor, mother a teacher. Education: Swarthmore College, B.A. (English, psychology), 1988; University of Georgia, Athens, M.A. (English), 1992, M.Ed., (counseling and human development), 1997.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Soho Press, Inc., 853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.
CAREER: Writer and editor. University of Georgia, Athens, financial aid counselor and program specialist, 1992–, academic adviser, 2003–. Creative writing teacher. Also worked as a therapist at University of Georgia Center for Counseling and Testing, and as a ravioli maker.
The Night She Died (novel), Soho Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Athens Banner-Herald and Athens (magazine), and to Georgia Public Radio.
SIDELIGHTS: Jennifer Patrick's debut novel, The Night She Died, is a mystery set in Georgia. Thirty-year-old Lara Walton flees Washington, DC, after her boyfriend is killed in an automobile accident and drives south until her car breaks down in the small town of Winston, Georgia, in Barton County. Lara begins spending time with Sterling, a seventeen-year-old punk with multiple piercings and bleached hair whom she first meets at the local Dairy Queen. Sterling is immediately infatuated with Lara, and after she hires him to help her work on the Victorian house she has bought and is restoring, she begins to return his interest, which stirs up gossip about their relationship.
When Lara is found dead in her bedroom, shot six times, Sterling is a suspect, as is Eric, who also had feelings for her, and who has been like a big brother to Sterling since Sterling's father abandoned the family. The officer on the case is Jimmy Edgars, a former Atlanta detective who came to the small town to escape big-city crime, and who has not worked a murder case in nearly a decade.
Booklist critic Barbara Bibel felt that the author "effectively captures the oppressiveness of the hot Georgia summer (shades of Tennessee Williams) and the insular southern community," while Jeff Zaleski wrote in Publishers Weekly that readers "will revel in the sensuality and foreboding of Patrick's gracefully rendered scenes." Judith Kreiner commented in a review for the Washington Times Online that "there is a lot of talent on display here. It will be interesting to see Miss Patrick's next offering."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2004, Barbara Bibel, review of The Night She Died, p. 1143.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2004, review of The Night She Died, p. 151.
Publishers Weekly, May 3, 2004, Jeff Zaleski, review of The Night She Died, p. 172.
University of Georgia College of Education Online News Web site, http://www.coe.uga.edu/ (May 20, 2004), Phil Williams, "Jennifer Patrick's Novel The Night She Died Part of Writer's Long, Satisfying Journey."
Washington Times Online, http://washingtontimes.com/ (June 6, 2004), Judith Kreiner, review of The Night She Died.