Patrick, William 1948-

views updated

PATRICK, William 1948-


Born December 28, 1948, in Houston, TX; son of Theodore Douglas (a bomber pilot for U.S. Air Force) and Bernice (Cooper) Patrick; married Kathleen Donohue (an actress), December 30, 1969; children: Ian Thomas. Education: University of Texas, B.A., 1969; attended Columbia University, 1970; University of Iowa, M.A., 1972.


Office—Henry Holt, 115 W. 18th. St., New York, NY 10011.


Little, Brown & Co., Boston, MA, medical editor, 1973-78; Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, science and medicine editor, 1978-86; Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, editor, 1986-94, vice president and editorial director, 1994-97; Henry Holt, New York, NY, senior executive editor, 1997—.




Sprials, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1983.

Blood Winter, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1990.

Spirals has been translated into Spanish and Dutch.


William Patrick has led a distinguished career in the field of publishing. He is also the author of two thrillers, Spirals and Blood Winter.

Spirals is a medical thriller that takes place in the laboratories of Harvard University and the jungles of South America. Patrick McKusick is a scientist in the bioengineering department of Harvard; he has a three-year-old daughter, Kathleen, who is a product of science experimentation. After Kathleen falls ill, the two fly to South America where McKusick believes his daughter can be cured. William A. Nolen from Book World called the plot of Sprials "sheer silliness." Not all critics agreed with Nolen, however. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "Patrick is sharp and good at his characterizations … and he keeps us guessing right up to the final page."

Patrick talked to Barbara A. Bannon of Publishers Weekly about his first novel, noting that "I began to imagine a story in which harm might come to a child, a kind of modern-day Abraham and Isaac story in which a man has to ask himself, 'Will you follow the great God science or … ?' Within three weeks I had outlined a plot involving recombinant DNA and spliced genes, and all the things that were actually going on around me in Cambridge."

Patrick's second book, Blood Winter, is another medical thriller; this time the action is set against the backdrop of World War I. British agents are on a mission to determine whether Germany is developing chemical weapons, specifically a deadly strain of an infectious disease. Christopher Walker from the Observer wrote, "The novel skilfully develops its sense of intrigue and duplicity." A reviewer from Publishers Weekly called Blood Winter a "well-done thriller" that "closes with an unexpected and properly dark surprise."



Book World, October 23, 1983, William A. Nolen, review of Spirals, p. 8.

Observer (London, England), June 9, 1991, Christopher Walker, review of Blood Winter, p. 59.

Publishers Weekly, August 19, 1983, Barbara A. Bannon, "A Trio of Medical Thrillers Will Chill the Fall Season," pp. 40-41; October 12, 1984, review of Spirals, p. 50; March 16, 1990, review of Blood Winter, p. 61.*

About this article

Patrick, William 1948-

Updated About content Print Article