Prescott, Michael 1960-

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PRESCOTT, Michael 1960-


Born 1960, in NJ. Education: Wesleyan University, B.A., 1981.


Agent—Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, One Union Square W, Suite 904, New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected].


Worked variously as author, screenwriter, freelance writer, archival researcher, editor.


Comes the Dark, Signet (New York, NY), 1999.

Stealing Faces, Signet (New York, NY), 1999.

The Shadow Hunter, New American Library (New York, NY), 2000.

Last Breath, New American Library (New York, NY), 2001.

Next Victim, Signet (New York, NY), 2002.

In Dark Places, Onyx (New York, NY), 2004.


Michael Prescott grew up on the New Jersey shore where he says he fantasized about becoming the creator of special-effects movie monsters such as those created by Ray Harryhausen in his movie The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Toward this goal Prescott studied film at Wesleyan University and upon graduation moved to Hollywood. He wrote several scripts for independent films before he realized that the lifestyle of Los Angeles was not for him. After trying out a few other jobs, including stints as an archival researcher, an editor, and a magazine freelancer, he decided to write novels.

Prescott's first book, Comes the Dark, grew out of his interest in ancient religion and mythology. In this story he focuses on a brother and sister who, when quite young, witnessed the brutal death of their mother. Erica appears to have gotten over the emotional trauma and has become a successful art dealer. Her brother, Robert, unfortunately has not. Most of the townspeople of Barrow, Pennsylvania, believe that Robert is a bit mad and refer to him as the Fool on the Hill. Despite the wealth that he inherited from his mother, Robert lives the life of a destitute man, and when the body of a young woman washes onto the town's riverbank, Robert becomes the prime suspect. Erica, believing in her brother's innocence, tries to prove that the chief of police is on the wrong trail. In her attempts to find the truth, Erica disappears and must combat a killer in order to save her own life. Prescott effectively captures the emotional pain of his characters, according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who commented on the author's ability to articulate why they are lead to commit "terrifying acts of desperation."

Prescott's next novel was Stealing Faces, which tells the story of John Cray, manager of the Hawk Ridge Mental Institution. He is also a serial killer. Cray stalks women and then kills them and steals the skin from their faces, believing that he will discover their true nature underneath. Kaylie MacMillan has good reasons to suspect Cray to be a murderer, and she stalks him in order to prove it. Cray grows increasingly aware of Kaylie's snooping and convinces the police that she is a dangerous woman and should be committed. Kaylie has collected enough proof of Cray's guilt, but she comes under his control when she is admitted to Hawk Ridge Mental Institution. Tension rises as Cray threatens Kaylie's life. Harriet Klausner, writing for Books 'n' Bytes found Stealing Faces to be "one of the most frightening serial-killer books of the past decade."

The Shadow Hunter is Prescott's next venture, a tale that a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised for the author's ability to "weave brilliant elements of psychological horror into the standard hunter-and-hunted story." In this third novel, Abby Sinclair, a freelance private detective, is hired to hunt down a stalker, Raymond Hickle. Hickle has been following Kris Barwood, a beautiful Los Angeles news anchor, and if Abby does not stop him, she fears that the news anchor will turn up dead. In an attempt to disguise her investigation, Abby moves into Raymond's apartment building so she can befriend him and monitor his every move. In the meantime, unbeknownst to Abby, someone is stalking her.

Of Prescott's next book, Last Breath, a Publishers Weekly reviewer stated: "Prescott has managed to delve into the depths of the most twisted minds." The results of this ability, according to the reviewer, are a "chilling, character-driven tale." The novel features Caitlin Jean Osborne (called C. J. by friends) who, at age ten, was terrorized by an intruder. The intruder disappeared when her parents returned home, and after the police found no evidence of his entry, her parents believed that C. J.'s over-active imagination might have been to blame. C. J., however, is unable to forget the incident. She becomes a police officer in Los Angeles, and is targeted by the same man who broke into her childhood home, who is fixated on murdering her.

In 2002, Prescott published his fifth novel, Next Victim. In this book, Prescott introduces F.B.I. agent Tess McCallum, who is assigned to the Denver bureau. Tess is working on the case of a serial killer, who has been nicknamed Mobius. In the middle of her investigation, Mobius breaks into Tess's apartment and kills her lover when he is not able to find her. Two years later, Tess is called to Los Angeles. A series of murders, similar in style to Mobius's have been committed. The most recent case is particularly dangerous, since the last victim possessed a chemical nerve weapon, which if used could kill thousands of people at once. Tess disregards the rules and regulations of her employer and goes all out to stop the killer. "Unrelentingly suspenseful," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "this psychological chiller is only for those with a high terror threshold."

Prescott told CA: "Stephen King's early thrillers were a big influence on me. His book Cujo, in particular, showed me how to combine horrific story elements with believable characters in a realistic setting."

When asked to describe his writing process, Prescott commented: "I fool myself by pretending that I'm going to write only a single page. This helps get me started. Once I've got some momentum, I usually end up writing three, four, or more pages at a time. I realize that this is just a gimmick, but somehow it works."



Publishers Weekly, January 11, 1999, review of Comes the Dark, p. 69; May 29, 2000, review of The Shadow Hunter, p. 58; November 5, 2001, review of Last Breath, p. 47; November 18, 2002, review of Next Victim, p. 47.


Books 'n' Bytes, (May 6, 2003), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Stealing Faces, Last Breath, and Next Victim.

Crescent Blues Book Views, (May 6, 2003), Patricia White, review of The Shadow Hunter.

Michael Prescott Home Page, (October 31, 2003).

Mystery Reader, (December 30, 2001), Thea Davis, review of Last Breath; (May 6, 2003), Jeri Wright, review of Comes the Dark, and Judith Flavell, review of Stealing Faces.

SF Site, (May 6, 2003), Lisa DuMond, review of The Shadow Hunter.

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Prescott, Michael 1960-

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