PERSONAL: Male. Education: San Francisco State University, M.F.A..
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Carroll & Graf, 245 West 17th St., 11th floor, New York, NY 10011.
CAREER: Novelist and high school English teacher.
Monkey in the Middle, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals such as Georgetown Review, and Zoetrope: All-Story.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A collection of short stories.
SIDELIGHTS: With his debut novel, Monkey in the Middle, author Josh Pryor has created "a woolly tale of sci-fi weirdness and postwar paranoia," remarked Bob Cannon in Entertainment Weekly. Retired Army veteran Dutch Flowers carries the disgrace of a failed mission in the first Gulf War—Operation Slay Dracula dispatched several lookalikes, but did not kill Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. One by one, participants in the operation have been killed off by Iraqi agents, until Flowers is the only one left. Pursuing Flowers with deadly intent is an Iraqi agent known only as Mr. Wonderful, a beautiful transsexual awaiting a sex-change operation that Flowers is being forced to pay for.
While down-on-his-luck Flowers dodges Mr. Wonderful's assassination attempts, he's hired to investigate a suspicious murder at a primate research facility—murder, it appears, committed by a pair of genetically enhanced chimpanzees on a rampage. In the background, Flowers's wife, unaware of his history in Iraq and the shadowy presence of Mr. Wonderful, may or may not be having an affair, and a research assistant at the monkey lab seems to be developing an attraction for both her research subject and for Flowers. A Kirkus Reviews critic commented that the disjointed narrative flow of the book, "freely jumping about in time," creates "confusion." However, Frank Sennett, writing in Booklist, remarked, "Crazy though it may be, the story provides a bunch of bananas for thought about the similarities between us and our animal cousins."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2003, Frank Sennett, review of Monkey in the Middle, p. 1149.
Entertainment Weekly, April 11, 2003, Bob Cannon, review of Monkey in the Middle, p. 82.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2003, review of Monkey in the Middle, p. 263.
Josh Pryor Home Page,http://www.joshpryor.com/ (March 12, 2004).
Publishers Group West Web site,http://www.pgw.com/ (March 12, 2004).
Zoetrope: All-Story Web site,http://www.all-story.com/ (March 12, 2004), biography of Josh Pryor.*