Married Ralph Rudolph.
Home—Albuquerque, NM. E-mail—[email protected]ph.com.
Has worked variously as a science writer, medical writer, corporate writer and editor, bartender, truck driver, musician, bookkeeper, chili picker, secretary, and instructor in high-school creative writing and college journalism.
International Golden Quill Award; EPPIE Award, 2003; recipient of numerous national writing and editing awards.
Thicker Than Blood (mystery novel), Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2005.
Life Blood (mystery novel), Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2007.
Listen to the Mockingbird (mystery novel), Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2007.
Penny Rudolph is a novelist and public speaker whose rich and varied career has spanned numerous types of writing, as well as office work, education, and physical labor. On her Web site, Rudolph states that she has been a bartender, bookkeeper, truck driver ("I had to stand up to shift!"), secretary, and "anything I could convince people I should be paid for." She has taught writing at the high-school and college level, and has been a feature writer, a science/medical writer, and an award-winning corporate writer and editor.
In her debut novel, Thicker Than Blood, Rudolph introduces protagonist Rachel Chavez, a young woman who inherits, operates, and lives in a parking garage in downtown Los Angeles. From her small apartment at the top of the garage, Rachel tends to her business and her world, struggling against the alcoholism that has plagued her and working hard to make a living. As she makes the rounds through the garage one day, she finds a car with dents and what looks like blood on the fender. Her curiosity turns to alarm when she later learns that one of her regular customers, Jason Karl, an executive at the nearby InterUrban Water District office, has been killed in a hit-and-run. The damaged car, one of InterUrban's company vehicles, may well be the murder weapon. Rachel soon finds herself deeply involved in trying to find out who was driving the car and what happened the night Karl was killed. Rachel is joined in her investigation by a diverse cast of misfits, social outcasts, and eclectics, including Irene, a homeless fortune-teller; Goldie, the curmudgeonly but good-hearted owner of a janitorial service who works the night shift at InterUrban; and Hank, a quiet and earnest InterUrban employee who sparks some interest in Rachel. With Goldie's inside access to the water company offices, useful clues begin to mount up until a second death ratchets up the stakes even higher. "Rudolph provides a well-crafted plot and satisfying levels of suspense," and in Rachel Chavez presents "one of the most refreshing new series heroines" in current crime fiction, commented reviewer Jenny McLarin in Booklist.
In the sequel, Life Blood, Rachel still tends her self-contained parking empire, fights to stay sober, and deals with her gambling-addicted father. Some elements of her life are looking up, however, as she considers her engagement to Hank and sees an increase in business when the local hospital contracts for a large number of parking spaces. Things turn gloomy, however, when Rachel discovers a pair of children locked in a van parked in her garage. The two kids are near death, and she rushes them to the emergency room at Jefferson Hospital. One of them is dead on arrival, but the other one is alive and will be admitted, she is told. When she returns the next day to check on the child, she is told there is no record that either child was ever at the hospital, and that no one there has any recollection of Rachel bringing the children in or of either of them being treated or admitted. Upset and deeply suspicious, Rachel realizes she is being deceived and sets out to discover what happened to the children and why the hospital staff is lying to her. As she investigates, she encounters a doctor with dubious motives and an individual determined to throw her off the investigation by any means, including framing her for drug theft. Rachel is joined in her efforts by familiar characters, including the rough-and-tumble Goldie and the fortune-telling Irene. Soon, she makes a horrifying discovery of a secret children's ward in the hospital where kids are illegally exploited rather than treated for their illnesses. Attempts on her and Hank's lives convince her that she has become involved in a dangerous situation, and that someone is willing to kill her to prevent her from finding out anything else. A Kirkus Reviews critic described the novel as a "quality follow-up to Rachel's first adventure" in Thicker Than Blood. Booklist reviewer Allison Block called Rachel a "refreshingly original addition to the ever-growing list of female sleuths."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Jenny McLarin, review of Thicker Than Blood, p. 1537; May 1, 2007, Allison Block, review of Life Blood, p. 39.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2007, review of Life Blood.
MBR Bookwatch, May, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Thicker Than Blood.
Publishers Weekly, May 16, 2005, review of Thicker Than Blood, p. 43; June 18, 2007, review of Life Blood, p. 37.
Roundup Magazine, April, 2003, review of Listen to the Mockingbird, p. 27.
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (February 26, 2008), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Life Blood.
Penny Rudolph Home Page,http://www.pennyrudolph.com (February 26, 2008).