Rogers, Chris 1944-

views updated

ROGERS, Chris 1944-

PERSONAL:

Born 1944, in Houston, TX; married, c. 1958 (divorced, 1973); children: four. Education: Attended University of Houston.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Hilltop Lakes, TX. Agent—c/o Random House/Bantam Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Crime novelist and book illustrator. Art design and production business owner; marketing consultant; certified practitioner of neurolinguistic programming; writing instructor at "Unboggle Your Mind" master class and Rice University School of Continuing Studies; speaker at national conferences, associations, schools, and libraries; 2001 delegate to White House Conference on Small Business.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Best Unpublished Mystery Novel, Golden Triangle, 1992, for "Wicked Step Daughter"; Ten by Ten Competition, Scriptwriters Houston, 1995, for stage play The Tip; Empire Screenplay Competition, 1997, for screenplay Mirror's Edge.

WRITINGS:

"DIXIE FLANNIGAN" SERIES

Bitch Factor, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Rage Factor, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Chill Factor, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Also author of "Dixie Flannigan" novel Slice of Life, published in installments on the author's home page.

OTHER

(Illustrator) Vickie Milazzo, Create Your Own Magic for CLNC Success, Vickie Milazzo Institute, 2003.

Also author of unpublished novel, "Wicked Step Daughter." Author of short play, The Tip, produced by Scriptwriters Houston at Stages Repertory Theatre, 1995, as well as screenplays Mirror's Edge and Invite the Devil In, the latter published as a short story in Deep South Writers Conference Chapbook, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1996. Contributor of stories to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

SIDELIGHTS:

Chris Rogers grew up in a working-class family in Houston, Texas, never attended high school, married at the age of fourteen, and raised four children. She taught herself to be a writer by studying how-to books, attending writing conferences, and reading her favorite authors. Apart from winning several awards for her writings, she now teaches and lectures on the subject.

After a divorce, Rogers—who had been a homemaker during her marriage—opened her own art-design and production business. However, she ultimately realized it was not the career she wanted for the rest of her life. After writing several travel brochures and pondering the possibility of opening a bed-and-breakfast inn, she turned her hand to fiction writing. While mysteries were—and are—her favorite reading material, she had little confidence in her ability to write complex, compelling plotlines. So she decided to try romance novels. Her first four attempts were rejected—one publisher commented that her manuscript contained too much mystery for a romance novel. Then she won a regional competition for best unpublished mystery novel. "That kind of showed me I did need to focus on mystery," Rogers told Fritz Lanham during an interview for the Houston Chronicle. After her first mystery novel, Bitch Factor, was published, it received four-and-a-half stars out of a possible five by—ironically—Romantic Times magazine, "and it wasn't intended to be a romance," she commented. Bitch Factor became the first in Rogers's "Dixie Flannigan" series of books.

Rogers discovered the protagonist for her "Dixie Flannigan" series while on a taxi ride in Houston. She asked the driver if tending the taxi was his full-time job and he told her no, he was also a bounty hunter. Rogers was intrigued. During the ensuing discussion, she pondered the idea of a female bounty hunter, and out of this conversation grew the character of Dixie Flannigan, a prosecutor turned bounty hunter. "I decided she would be a mature woman—she's 39," Rogers told Lanham. "She would be single. Why? Because she's still figuring out what she wants to be, which is why she's bounty hunting."

In Bitch Factor, Flannigan is tracking down Parker Dann, a man accused of the drunk-driving, hit-and-run death of eleven-year-old Betsy Keyes. Dann, professing innocence, had fled to South Dakota. Flannigan tracks and eventually captures him, but shortly after she does so, a blizzard strikes and the pair becomes stranded. During their time together, Flannigan comes to believe in the charming Dann's innocence, especially after discovering that Keyes's younger sister had died in an earlier accident. Flannigan sets out to investigate both accidents.

A reviewer for Publishers Weekly pointed out that, while there are "some glaring flaws" in the story, the "snappy dialogue and memorable characters" make for "pleasurable entertainment." In Library Journal, Laurel A. Wilson called Rogers' work "masterful from beginning to end" and Flannigan "the best new heroine to come along in years."

Alicia Graybill commented in Library Journal that while Bitch Factor received critical acclaim, in Rage Factor—her second Flannigan mystery—Rogers "has surpassed herself." After capturing sexual sadist Lawrence Coombs, who stands trial for rape, Flannigan is shocked when the jury acquits him. Shortly thereafter, Coombs is found bound, beaten, and sexually assaulted in a local park. The attack is blamed on the Avenging Angels, an all-woman vigilante group Flannigan suspects one of her friends belongs to. Coombs, however, blames Flannigan for his attack and seeks revenge. There are also several subplots in the novel, one of which includes a famous Hollywood actress who is being stalked and who hires Flannigan as a bodyguard for her daughter. Flannigan also deals with a budding relationship with Parker Dann, who first appeared in Bitch Factor. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that while this novel suffers from "slow-moving subplots …the climactic showdown scene between Dixie and Coombs is a knockout." And Graybill called the book "a page-turner, nearly impossible to put down."

While reviewing the next book in the Flannigan series for the Chicago Tribune, Linda DuVal noted that while Rage Factor "left some of [Rogers'] fans reeling from the graphic violence," she "tone[d] it down" for Chill Factor. In the third book, Flannigan happens to be in a bank when Edna Pine, her friendly, little-old-lady, next-door neighbor walks in and pulls off a robbery, escaping with a significant sum of money. After hiding the haul, Pine is gunned down by the local police. Mass confusion ensues as shortly after Pine's death, the police who shot her are found murdered. Pine's son Marty—also Flannigan's high-school sweetheart—becomes the prime suspect in the policemen's death; he asks Flannigan to find out what possessed his mother to become a bank robber. Broadening the plot is what a Publishers Weekly reviewer called "a manipulative, blackmailing sociopath" called the "Shepherd of the Light."

While the Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the book's "overheated plot leaves readers in the cold," Jenny McLarin wrote in Booklist that "Dixie is one of the most likable female protagonists in mystery fiction" and that Chill Factor "is a definite heart-warmer." DuVal noted that Rogers' "rapid-fire storytelling style relies largely on crisp, decisive language and short, quick chapters." Graybill commented in Library Journal that "A small degree of sex and violence will make this book a bit too hard-boiled for some readers," but concluded that fans of Rogers' previous books will also enjoy this one.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 15, 1999, Emily Melton, review of Rage Factor, p. 840; December 15, 1999, Jenny McLarin, review of Chill Factor, p. 760.

Chicago Tribune, February 28, 2000, Linda DuVal, "Plenty of Thrills without the Chills in Rogers' New Mystery," p. 3.

Houston Chronicle, March 29, 1998, Fritz Lanham, "Mystery Woman" (interview with Rogers), p. 26.

Library Journal, January, 1998, Laurel Wilson, review of Bitch Factor, p. 144; January, 1999, Alicia Graybill, review of Rage Factor, p. 158; January, 2000, Alicia Graybill, review of Chill Factor, p. 162.

Publishers Weekly, January 18, 1999, review of Rage Factor, p. 331; January 24, 2000, review of Chill Factor, p. 295.

ONLINE

Chris Rogers' Home Page,http://www.chrisrogers.com (November 14, 2003).*

About this article

Rogers, Chris 1944-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article