Sarrantonio, Al 1952-
SARRANTONIO, Al 1952-
PERSONAL: Born May 25, 1952, in Queens, NY; married; children: two sons. Education: Manhattan College, B.A., 1974.
ADDRESSES: Home—Putnam Valley, NY. Agent—Sharon Jarvis and Co., 260 Willard Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314.
CAREER: Doubleday and Co., Inc., New York City, editorial assistant, 1975-82; writer, 1982—.
MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, Horror Writers of America.
The Worms, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1985.
Totentanz, Tor Books (New York City), 1985.
Campbell Wood, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1986.
The Boy with Penny Eyes, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Cold Night, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Moonbane, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
October, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.
House Haunted, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
Skeletons, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
Summer Cool, Walker (New York, NY), 1993.
Kitt Peak, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1993.
Exile, New American Library (New York, NY), 1996.
Journey, New American Library (New York, NY), 1997.
Personal Agendas, Dell (New York, NY), 1997.
Return, New American Library (New York, NY), 1998.
Orangefield, Cemetery Dance (Forest Hill, MD), 2002.
The Fireside Treasury of Great Humor, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.
The Fireside Treasury of New Humor, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1989.
The National Lampoon Treasury of Humor, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.
(With Martin H. Greenberg) 100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1993.
999: New Stories of Horror and Suspense, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Redshift: Extreme Visions of Speculative Fiction, Roc (New York, NY), 2001.
Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy, Roc (New York, NY), 2004.
Toybox (short stories), Cemetery Dance (Forest Hill, MD), 2000.
Also author of West Texas, M. Evans (New York, NY). Work represented in anthologies, including The Year's Best Horror Stories, Volumes XI and XII; Great GhostStories;Laughing Space; Ghosts; and Shadows, Volumes 4, 5, 6, and 8. Contributor of short stories to magazines, including Heavy Metal, Twilight Zone, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction, Night Cry, and Mystery Scene.
SIDELIGHTS: Al Sarrantonio wrote two novels featuring private investigator Jack Blaine, a retired cop who operates in the community of Yonkers, New York. In Cold Night and Summer Cool, Blaine investigates police chicanery. Blaine is eased from the police force in Cold Night, due to the machinations of corrupt officers. In Summer Cool, he is asked to find an officer who has abandoned his family, left town, and seems to be murdering his drug-dealing colleagues. A critic for Publishers Weekly wrote: "Drugs, betrayal and corruption at the highest levels figure in a story that stretches the bounds of credibility but provides a satisfying, even shocking, climax."
Sarrantonio has also written a number of horror thrillers, science fiction novels, and short stories for magazines. Writing in the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, Don D'Ammassa cited Sarrantonio's novel Totentanz as "a powerful, controlled work, unusually so for a first novel. . . . The Boy with Penny Eyes is Sarrantonio's most restrained and successful horror novel. The boy of the title appears to be autistic, never shows joy or sorrow, never speaks, and the adults who shuffle him from one home to another despair of ever reaching him. But he isn't entirely unaware. His eyes are always moving, watching, searching for another child, the other half of his personality from whom he has been supernaturally severed. . . . The most interesting and in some ways the best-written of Sarrantonio's horror novels is Skeletons, which also contains a great deal of dark humour. Through some unexplained device, all of the skeletons on Earth have been restored to life, and each of them is determined to pursue his or her former career. . . . Despite the obvious satire, the mood of the novel is distinctly that of horror, because the armies of the undead intend to supplant the living and wrest from them control of the Earth. . . . This one's a bizarre twist on the Night of the Living Dead films."
D'Ammassa concluded: "In general Sarrantonio's short fiction seems more controlled and thoughtful than his novels, which often rely so much on physical action that the characters never achieve any depth. At the same time The Boy with Penny Eyes and Skeletons in particular indicate that Sarrantonio possesses the skills to be a successful novelist when he sets his mind to it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Booklist, September 1, 1999, Ray Olson, review of 999: New Stories of Horror and Suspense, p. 67; November 1, 2001, Regina Schroeder, review of Redshift: Extreme Visions of Speculative Fiction, p. 463.
Bookwatch, January, 2002, review of Redshift, p. 10.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1999, review of 999, p. 1077.
Library Journal, September 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of 999, p. 115; December, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Redshift, p. 181.
Locus, October, 1999, review of 999, pp. 21, 25.
Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1993, review of Summer Cool, p. 72; August 9, 1999, review of 999, p. 348; January 17, 2000, review of Toybox, p. 48; November 5, 2001, review of Redshift, p. 45; November 4, 2002, review of Orangefield, p. 68.
Science Fiction Chronicle, March, 2002, review of Redshift, p. 34.
DarkEcho Horror Online,http://www.darkecho.com/ (August, 1999), Paula Guran, review of 999.*