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Podrug, Junius 1947-

PODRUG, Junius 1947-

PERSONAL:

Born June 1, 1947, in Nevada City, CA; son of Mate (a miner) and Angela (a hotel maid) Podrug; married; wife's name Hildegard (a researcher). Education: California State University, Sacramento, B.A. (political science); McGeorge School of Law, J.D.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—Carol McCleary, Wilshire Literary Agency, 20 Barristers Walk, Dennis, MA 02638.

CAREER:

Author and lawyer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Rocky award for best first novel, Rocky Mountain News Unreal Worlds fantasy, science fiction, and horror awards.

WRITINGS:

Frost of Heaven, Dark Harvest Books (Arlington Heights, IL), 1992.

Presumed Guilty, Forge Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Stop Being a Victim, Tom Doherty Associates (New York, NY), 1998.

Dark Passage, Forge Books (New York, NY), 2002.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Sequel to Dark Passage.

SIDELIGHTS:

Junius Podrug, a former Los Angeles attorney, is the author of several mystery and suspense novels. Each book is set in an exotic location, and, as Podrug told CA, "My books deal with ordinary people confronted with mystery and danger. The characters are unable to turn to the police for help, so must confront and solve the problem by their own wits." His books have been published in nine languages.

In Podrug's first novel, Frost of Heaven, Peter Nowak, an American reporter, travels to England, Tibet, and Calcutta in search of his father, a cold war spy pilot who mysteriously vanished while flying over the Himalayas. Peter is aided in his search by the mysterious and beautiful Tashi, who is pursuing her own quest. She protects the secret of Shambala that manifests in the golden rays of the sun piercing through a silvery mist of fog. This natural phenomenon, which is called "the frost of Heaven," is thought to be caused by the "bones of God." Before the end of the novel, Peter must confront some Chinese communists who are also pursuing the mysterious power source of these metaphysical bones.

"Podrug is a talented writer" whose book is filled with "captivating …descriptions," said a critic for Kirkus Reviews. Rex Klett in Library Journal felt that Podrug's novel is "uneven," yet found that it contains humorous moments. "The novel's a perfectly competent tale," commented Edward Bryant in a Locus article, although he added that "Podrug is still a writer learning his craft." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called Frost in Heaven an "absorbing debut thriller" and mentioned that it "offers penetrating character studies along with colorful, nonstop action." The novel was awarded a Rocky award for best first novel by the fourth annual Rocky Mountain News Unreal Worlds fantasy, science fiction, and horror awards.

Lara Patrick, the heroine of Presumed Guilty, is a successful Russian-born lawyer who came to live in the United States at the age of seven following the death of her mother. She returns to her homeland, however, when she receives a photograph that confirms her long-held suspicion that her mother's death was not accidental. As Lara's investigation of her mother's death proceeds, more murders are committed. Lara herself becomes a suspect in the murder of a wealthy playboy's mistress and must prove her innocence under the severe conditions of a Moscow courtroom where a defendant is automatically presumed to be guilty of a crime.

A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Presumed Guilty "An interesting examination of alien jurisprudence." Nancy Pearl in Library Journal noted that the characters seem "one-dimensional," but added that "Podrug offers insights into the 'new' Russia." In a Publishers Weekly article, the reviewer considered the outcome of Podrug's novel to be "melodramatically predictable," although the author's description of the differences between the U.S. and Russian legal systems is "an interesting rumination."

Dark Passage, published in 2002, moves backward in time from present-day New Mexico to Galilee prior to the Crucifixion of Jesus. Some Islamic fundamentalists have used a time machine in a New Mexican laboratory to travel to the Israel of 30 B.C. in an attempt to change world history: they wish to assassinate the Son of God. In response to this, special government agents assemble an unusual party of four people who will follow the Zayvad brothers and insure that their murder attempt fails.

In Library Journal, Jackie Cassada called Dark Passage "a fast-paced, action-filled tale." She found the novel's characters to be "appealing." "Adventure, alternate-history, and historical fiction fans should find this an enjoyable read," wrote Michael Gannon in a Booklist review. A Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that Dark Passage is "another over-the-top but oddly effective adventure from Podrug."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2002, Michael Gannon, review of Dark Passage, p. 569.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1992, review of Frost of Heaven, p. 633; July 15, 1997, review of Presumed Guilty, p. 1057; October 15, 2002, review of Dark Passage, p. 1500.

Library Journal, June 1, 1992, Rex Klett, review of Frost of Heaven, p. 186; August, 1997, Nancy Pearl, review of Presumed Guilty, p. 134; October 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Dark Passage, p. 98.

Locus, July, 1992, Edward Bryant, review of Frost of Heaven, pp. 19-21, 56.

Publishers Weekly, June 8, 1992, review of Frost of Heaven, p. 53; August 18, 1997, review of Presumed Guilty, pp. 69-70; October 12, 1998, review of Stop Being a Victim, p. 72.

ONLINE

Junius Podrug Home Page,http://www.juniuspodrug.com (January 28, 2003).

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