Rickards, John 1977-
RICKARDS, John 1977-
PERSONAL: Born 1977. Education: Studied environmental engineering at university level.
CAREER: Novelist and journalist.
Winter's End (novel), Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The Touch of Ghosts (novel), Penguin (London, England), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A sequel to The Touch of Ghosts.
SIDELIGHTS: British journalist-turned-novelist John Rickards was twenty-four years old when his debut novel, Winter's End, was published. The novel is a thriller featuring Alex Rourke, a former FBI agent whose career ended in personal tragedy. Set in the fictional Maine town of Winter's End, the story begins with the joint discovery of a mangled nude corpse and a likely killer. The half-naked man found near the body is holding two knives, but an absence of other connecting evidence confounds the local sheriff. When he calls in his friend Rourke, the uncooperative suspect says he was waiting for the detective to arrive and surprises him by knowing a great deal about Rourke's past. Before the man escapes to kill again, he gives Rourke the idea that the town is hiding dark secrets. The second Rourke novel, The Touch of Ghosts, was published in 2004.
While most reviewers enjoyed Rickards's debut, a Publishers Weekly critic wrote that while the book "succeeds as an atmospheric page-turner" the resemblance of the psychotic character to Thomas Harris's famed villain Hannibal Lecter is troublesome. Conversely, a Kirkus Reviews writer hailed the novel as a "remarkably accomplished debut" with an intriguing hero in Alex Rourke; the reviewer called the novel "a lacerating tale, chilly as a Maine winter." Booklist's Emily Melton described Winter's End as "suspenseful from beginning to end, fast-paced and packed with unusual twists," while Library Journal's Rex Klett said its strengths included "riveting prose, calculated suspense, and tense, human-interest subplotting." And according to Dick Adler in the Chicago Tribune, the book provides "that most pleasant glow that comes from knowing no matter how weirdly the story seems to be spinning, we're in expert hands."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2003, Emily Melton, review of Winter's End, p. 305.
Bookseller, March 15, 2002, Nicolette Jones, "How Ten Years Pass in Four," p. 36.
Chicago Tribune, December 21, 2003, Dick Adler, review of Winter's End, p. 3.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2003, review of Winter'sEnd, p. 1255.
Library Journal, October 1, 2003, Rex Klett, review of Winter's End, p. 120.
Publishers Weekly, November 17, 2003, review of Winter's End, p. 48.
John Rickards Home Page,http://www.johnrickards.com (August 26, 2004).*