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Reilly, Matthew 1974-

REILLY, Matthew 1974-

(Matthew J. Reilly)

PERSONAL: Born July 2, 1974, in Sydney, Australia. Education: University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, B.A., 1997; also earned bachelor of laws degree. Hobbies and other interests: Golf, cricket.

ADDRESSES: Agent—(film) Karl R. Austen, Armstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway, Tyerman & Wertheimer, Lawyers, 1888 Century Park E., 18th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer and lawyer. Guest on television programs, including Big Breakfast and Good News Week.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Contest, privately printed, 1996, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, Australia), 2000, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Ice Station, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, Australia), 1998, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Temple, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, Australia), 1999, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Area Seven, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, Australia), 2001, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Scarecrow, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Seven Deadly Wonders, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

Also author of Internet novel Hover Car Racer.

OTHER

Also author of screenplays Welcome to Vengeance, The Last Line of Defence, and Rulers of the World. Contributor to periodicals, including Cleo and Sydney Morning Herald. Reilly's books have been published in Germany, Holland, China, Japan, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, Poland, New Zealand, and South Africa.

ADAPTATIONS: Movie rights to Contest have been sold. Scarecrow was adapted as an audiobook.

SIDELIGHTS: Popular Australian writer Matthew Reilly has published novels as well as several as-yet-unproduced screenplays. In 1999 Cosmopolitan magazine named him one of the "30 Most Successful People under 30." That same year Reilly sold the movie rights to Contest, his first book. Reilly originally wrote the science-fiction action thriller Contest when he was just nineteen. While pursuing a law degree at the University of New South Wales, a determined Reilly continued his writing career. The young novelist considers reading to be an important component of his writing life. Reilly places himself in the reader's shoes when penning his novels. He told New Straits Times about the standards by which he measures his work: "I wrote mine as books I'd like to read. I see myself as a demanding reader who likes to learn a bit while enjoying myself."

Ice Station is Reilly's second novel and his first U.S. publication. The central character, Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield, leads his Marine platoon of twelve on a mission to the South Pole. Schofield is called in to investigate a possibly extraterrestrial metal object buried in the ice and the missing team of American scientists who discovered it. The adventure moves at a breakneck pace as Schofield's team faces greedy foreign governments, secret agents, killer whales, and mythical monsters. Ice Station has been compared to films such as Jaws and the works of Ian Fleming and Clive Cussler. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described Ice Station as "crude but effective prose, a nonstop spray of short, punchy paragraphs and cliffhangers galore, this is grade-A pulp." Reilly creates graphic scenes fulfilling his own belief that the reader's vivid imagination can out-do the movie screen.

A reviewer for Rocky Mountain News wrote of Reilly's third novel that "if you want rollicking adventure, old-fashioned escape a la Indiana Jones or Alan Quartermain, look no further than Temple." Temple's detailed setting reflects Reilly's belief in researching the subjects chosen for his novels. Set in the Peruvian jungle, the story tells how the U.S. Army competes to acquire an Incan jaguar head made of thyrium-261. This material can be used to make "weapons of mass destruction." Linguist William Race accompanies the troops to decode a manuscript, which leads to the relic's whereabouts. The army retrieves the ancient idol, only to watch it fall into the hands of a Nazi group and Texan terrorists. As in Ice Station, there are great leaps of imagination and characters with superhuman abilities. Reilly also keeps his audience interested with a side plot about the tensions inside different branches of the U.S. military. A reviewer for the London Independent acknowledged Reilly as an exciting new writer: "Another much-prized young contender is Matthew Reilly, whose adventure yarns may help revive an ageing genre."

Reilly's Scarecrow relates the further high-tech adventures of Marine captain Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield. In this episode, Schofield finds that he occupies a place of honor on a list of fifteen of the most dangerous, deadly, and skilled military heroes in the world. Unfortunately, this is not a list of appreciation, but is instead a pernicious hit list. Someone has offered a bounty of 18.6 million dollars per head for each of the persons on the list—literally "per head," as the victim's severed head must be presented in exchange for cash. One other catch is that all fifteen targets must be successfully hit within six days. As Schofield and his band of marine elites search out the source behind the unusual hunt, they encounter many extraordinary dangers. "Reilly knows exactly what kind of book he's writing," observed a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "His heroes are brave and self-sacrificing, his villains are bloodthirsty and ruthless." Reilly's approach combines elements of comic-book superheroes, James Bond, and the hard-to-kill heroes of movies and TV. It is a "tale that never lets the hero, or the reader, take a breath," commented Library Journal reviewer Jeff Ayers.

With Hover Car Racer, Reilly tried a publishing experiment intricately tied to the Internet. The book was made available, in its entirety, for free to those who wanted to download it. In the book, fourteen-year-old Jason Chaser flies in the high-speed world of hover car racing, in which the deadly speeds reach more than five hundred miles per hour. Jason's age is against him, since most racers are over eighteen. However, he is determined, and his car, the Argonaut, is sturdy and reliable. Many obstacles stand in his path, including other rival racers and outright villains. Even if he can survive the speed, Jason may not be able to survive the competition. In BookReporter.com Reilly related two reasons behind the innovative distribution plan for the book: "I think the Internet is a hugely powerful resource that hasn't yet been harnessed properly by publishers—I want to harness its potential. The second reason is more simple: I want to get new readers reading my novels." He added, "I spent eight months writing Hover Car Racer, and yes, I could have sold it to a publisher for lots of money and royalties, but honestly, there's more to life than money."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2003, David Pitt, review of Contest, p. 1055; February 1, 2004, Michael Gannon, review of Scarecrow, p. 953.

Bulletin with Newsweek, September 8, 1998, Diana Simmonds, review of Ice Station, p. 69.

Entertainment Weekly, March 19, 2004, Adam V. Vary, review of Scarecrow, p. 71.

Independent (London, England), February 17, 2001, review of Ice Station, p. 11.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1999, review of Ice Station, p. 993; December 1, 2001, review of Area Seven, p. 1641; February 1, 2003, review of Contest, p. 173; January 1, 2004, review of Scarecrow, p. 13.

Kliatt, July, 2004, Miles Klein, review of Scarecrow (audiobook), p. 56; September, 2004, Sue Rosenzweig, audiobook review of Ice Station, p. 61.

Library Journal, July 1999, Patrick Wall, review of Ice Station, p. 135; November 15, 2000, Jeff Ayers, review of Ice Station, p. 124; December, 2001, Robert Conroy, review of Area Seven, p. 175; February 15, 2004, Jeff Ayers, review of Scarecrow, p. 162.

M2 Best Books, October 24, 2003, "Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow released in the UK."

New Straits Times, February 28, 2001, "Already a Top-Selling Writer at 26," profile of Matthew J. Reilly.

Orlando Sentinel, March 29, 2002, Chris Cobbs, review of Area Seven.

Publishers Weekly, July 26, 1999, review of Ice Station, p. 59; December 18, 2000, review of Temple, p. 56; December 10, 2001, review of Area Seven, p. 50; February 24, 2003, review of Contest, p. 54; January 26, 2004, review of Scarecrow, p. 228; April 5, 2004, review of Scarecrow (audiobook), p. 22.

Rocky Mountain News, February 4, 2001, Peter Mergendahl, "Page-Turners a Good Way to Spice up a Dreary February," p. 4E.

ONLINE

BookReporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (April, 2004), "Author Talk," interview with Matthew Reilly; (October 5, 2005), Joe Hartlaub, review of Scarecrow.

Hover Car Racer Web site, http://www.hovercarracer.com/ (October 5, 2005).

Matthew Reilly Home Page, http://www.matthewreilly.com (October 5, 2005).

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