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Richtel, Matt (Theron Heir)

Richtel, Matt (Theron Heir)

PERSONAL:

Born in Boulder, CO; married Meredith Jewel. Education: Graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, California Bears, Denver Broncos, barbecue, cooking, songwriting, hot chocolate, and napping.

ADDRESSES:

Home—San Francisco, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

New York Times, New York, NY, 1996-2000, began as a freelance writer, became a technology reporter with the San Francisco, CA, bureau.

WRITINGS:

Hooked: A Thriller about Love and Other Addictions, Warner 12 (New York, NY), 2007.

UNDER PSEUDONYM THERON HEIR; COMIC STRIPS

(With Darrin Bell) Rudy Park: The People Must Be Wired (collection), Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2003.

(With Darrin Bell) Peace, Love, Lattes: A Rudy Park Collection, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2004.

Writer, with Darrin Bell, of United Feature syndicated comic strip Rudy Park, 2001—; writer of monthly humor column "backslash," 2000-02; writer of column "VC Nation" for the New York Times.

SIDELIGHTS:

Matt Richtel is a journalist who writes about technology in his articles, columns, and comic strips. He began covering the field for the New York Times while living in San Francisco, and became a staff writer at that bureau in 2000, just in time for the dot-com bust, which he covered, along with other subjects that included internet gambling, video games, corporate espionage, identity theft, mobile communications, the culture and economy of Silicon Valley, and the potential for internet addiction. His column "VC" focuses on venture capitalism. Richtel occasionally covers another subject, as in 2006 when he covered the Adult Film Awards, the X-rated version of the Oscars.

Richtel's Rudy Park syndicated comic strip is carried by dozens of newspapers in the United States and Canada. Written and illustrated with Darrin Bell, the strip first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the online version of the New York Times. The strip, which skewers our technological culture and consumerism, features Rudy Park, who finds a job as a barista in the House of Java Cybercafé after being laid off from his dot-com job. Countering Rudy's love of technology is customer Sadie Cohen, a wealthy octogenarian luddite. Rudy's boss is twenty-one-year- old entrepreneur Armstrong Maynard, and other regular characters include former athlete Randy "The Rock" Taylor. Rudy's Uncle Mort is an aging liberal who regularly protests with his bullhorn. He marries Mrs. Cohen, but just weeks later the strip's creators have him die of a heart attack during an argument with Donald Rumsfeld, who had began frequenting the café after losing his job as secretary of defense. The two collections of the strip that have been published are Rudy Park: The People Must Be Wired and Peace, Love, Lattes: A Rudy Park Collection.

Richtel's first work of fiction, Hooked: A Thriller about Love and Other Addictions, has sixty short chapters, many of which end with a teaser. San Francisco medical journalist Nat Idle is sitting in an Internet café when a woman drops a piece of paper onto his table. The message, that he should immediately leave, is in the handwriting of Annie Kindle, Nat's investment banker-lover who was lost at sea four years earlier. Annie was the daughter of a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, who was expecting her to follow in his footsteps as a "smiling assassin." Nat walks to the street in time to avoid the explosion inside. He watches as the woman drives off in a red Saab, then he attempts to solve the mystery of the blast with Erin, a waitress with a past who survived it and who may be connected to an arson involving the home of another survivor, writer Simon Anderson. Richtel covers all the aspects of how our lives are increasingly being dictated by technology and the gadgets that we choose, such as cell phones and computers.

Booklist reviewer Thomas Gaughan felt that two-thirds of the book "is a shrewd cinematic thriller," providing insights about Silicon Valley and the wired world, but wrote that Richtel "stumbles a bit as the story unfolds into an uber plot to turn us all into Internet addicts." Gaughan concluded that readers will enjoy the story.

In reviewing the novel for the Mostly Fiction Web site, Guy Savage concluded: "While Hooked is a thriller (and an excellent one at that), there's more here than just a damn good read, and when I turned the final page, I found myself slightly disturbed by Richtel's sinister presentation of the use and misuse of technology in our 21st century lives."

Scott Butki interviewed Richtel for the Blogcritics Web site, asking him what he hoped to accomplish with this story. Richtel replied: "Foremost, I wanted to express and feel emotion, passion, joy, sorrow and exhilaration. I wanted to love writing the book, and I did. And now I hope that readers can experience some of the passion and emotion that I felt while writing. Finally, I wanted an excuse to drink hot chocolates—and sitting at a café writing gave me the cover I was looking for."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2007, Thomas Gaughan, review of Hooked: A Thriller about Love and Other Addictions, p. 38.

Editor & Publisher, May 1, 2007, "Comic Creator/NY Times Reporter Authors Novel"; June 1, 2007, Dave Astor, review of Hooked.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2007, review of Hooked.

Library Journal, June 1, 2007, Jeff Ayers, review of Hooked, p. 112.

Publishers Weekly, April 2, 2007, review of Hooked, p. 35.

ONLINE

Blogcritics,http://blogcritics.org/ (July 13, 2007), Scott Butki, "Interview with Matt Richtel, Author of Hooked: A Thriller about Love and Other Addictions."

Matt Richtel Home Page,http://www.mattrichtel.com (December 30, 2007).

Mostly Fiction,http://www.mostlyfiction.com/ (September 28, 2007), Guy Savage, review of Hooked.

Music Box Online,http://www.musicbox-online.com/ (November 20, 2007), John Metzger, review of Hooked.

Rudy Park Web site,http://www.rudypark.com (December 30, 2007).

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