Powers, Martha (Jean Paxton, Martha Jean Powers)

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Powers, Martha (Jean Paxton, Martha Jean Powers)

PERSONAL:

Born in Cleveland, OH; married; husband's name Bill; children: Matt, Jean. Education: Case Western Reserve University, B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Vero Beach, FL. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Has worked for various advertising agencies, wrote musical comedy for local theater groups, and produced a newspaper humor column.

MEMBER:

International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, Florida Mystery Writers.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Golden Heart Award, Romance Writers of America, for The Proxy Bride.

WRITINGS:

(As Martha Jean Powers) The Proxy Bride, Fawcett Books (New York, NY), 1987.

(As Martha Jean Powers) Gazebo Rendezvous, Fawcett Books (New York, NY), 1988.

(As Jean Paxton) Divided Loyalty, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1988.

(As Martha Jean Powers) The Gray Fox Wagers, Fawcett Books (New York, NY), 1988.

(As Martha Jean Powers) The Perfect Fiancee, Fawcett Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Double Masquerade, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1989.

Runaway Heart, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1990.

False Pretenses, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1991.

(With others) The Kissing Bough, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1991.

Sunflower, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

Bleeding Heart, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Death Angel, Oceanview Publishing (Ipswich, MA), 2006.

Author of online humor column for Senior Women Web.

SIDELIGHTS:

Martha Powers is an award-winning author of romance novels and suspense thrillers. In an interview with Susan McBride for the Charlotte Austin Review, Powers commented: "Although I'd always wanted to write mysteries, my first books were Regency romances." After penning nine Regency romances under her own name and the pseudonym Jean Paxton, she decided to focus on writing a mystery. It took her two years to write the book and another two years before she finally landed a contract. The contract led to the writing and publication of Sunflower in 1998. She then published a second mystery, Bleeding Heart.

In her interview with Powers, McBride asked: "Both Bleeding Heart and Sunflower feature a story line with children as victims. Why did you decide to go this route?" To which Powers responded: "The only thing parents want for their children is health, safety and happiness…. Once [my kids] went out into the world, I felt helpless to protect them." She later noted: "I started writing suspense novels as a way to combat my own fears. In my stories I could control the danger to the children in my book and I could hand out justice and punishment in a way I never could in real life." Powers also commented: "I write about ordinary women who are forced by circumstances to be stronger than they've ever been. They are the kind of women I would like to be, and I think it makes me a better person in the process."

Of Sunflower, Powers's first mystery, Harriet Klausner noted in the BookBrowser that "Martha Powers is a force in the Regency romance sub-genre. However, she effortlessly switches direction and scribes a top rate thriller that will leave readers wondering about her previous works." Booklist reviewer John Rowen remarked: "Offering a sensitive exploration of how murder and the suspicion it breeds can change a local landscape, Powers combines fast pacing, agonizing suspense, and a cast of satisfying, fully developed characters." A Publishers Weekly critic noted: "Sheila Brady is a quick-witted heroine whose courage and moral values make her an appealing protagonist." A School Library Journal contributor stated: "This gripping drama grabs readers from the very first page and keeps the suspense building…. YA's will identify with this caring and sensitive, yet tough and insightful heroine as she risks her life to save her daughter."

Bleeding Heart concerns a child abduction. A reviewer for Publisher Weekly observed: "Every family's worst nightmare haunts Powers's latest thriller … in which Tyler McKenzie is snatched from a Cleveland department store." In Romantic Times, Toby Bromberg wrote: "Pulse pounding suspense and a harrowing storyline make Bleeding Heart a delectable romantic suspense novel. Ms. Powers has created a tense storyline that will grip every mother's heart." Harriet Klausner, writing for Books ‘n’ Bytes, commented: "Bleeding Heart is a realistic, grim tale that could happen to any small child in any state when an organized, intelligent, but amoral warrior seeks its prey." McBride, reviewing the book for the Charlotte Austin Review, stated: "There's an interesting mix of small town cozy and edginess in Bleeding Heart that make for an absorbing book. Fans of Mary Higgins Clark will find much to enjoy in this modern day whodunit."

Death Angel centers on Kate Warner, a suburban mother whose young daughter disappears after school one day and is later found murdered. When Kate's husband, Richard, who is considered the chief suspect, also goes missing and is presumed dead, Kate realizes that the culprit is someone close to her. She enlists the aid of a local police officer to help her track down the killer. Though Nicole A. Cook, writing in the Library Journal, felt that Death Angel reached an abrupt conclusion, she remarked: "Powers writes well and does a good job of fleshing out the primary characters." A Publishers Weekly reviewer offered similar praise for the work, stating that "its credible characters will keep readers turning the pages."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1998, John Rowen, review of Sunflower, p. 1977; July, 2000, Danise Hoover, review of Bleeding Heart, p. 2014.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1998, review of Sunflower, p. 1002; July 1, 2000, review of Bleeding Heart, p. 924.

Library Journal, October 1, 2006, Nicole A. Cooke, review of Death Angel, p. 59.

Publishers Weekly, July 27, 1998, review of Sunflower, p. 52; July 17, 2000, review of Bleeding Heart, p. 176; August 28, 2006, review of Death Angel, p. 30.

School Library Journal, January, 1999, review of Sunflower, p. 160.

ONLINE

BookBrowser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (February 18, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Sunflower.

BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (September 1, 2007), Bruce Tierney, "Living in a Nightmare," review of Death Angel.

Books 'n' Bytes,http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (February 18, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Bleeding Heart.

Charlotte Austin Review,http://www.charlotteaustinreview.com/ (February 18, 2001), Susan McBride, interview with Powers and review of Bleeding Heart.

Martha Powers Home Page,http://www.marthapowers.com (September 1, 2007).

New Mystery Reader,http://www.newmysteryreader.com/ (October, 2006), Stephanie Padilla, review of Death Angel.

Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (February 18, 2001), Toby Bromberg, review of Bleeding Heart.

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