PERSONAL: Born in Chicago, IL; married, wife's name Lisa; children: two. Education: Grinnell College, B.A., 1990; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.A., 1993.
ADDRESSES: Home—IL. Agent—Ann Collette, Helen Rees Literary Agency, 376 North St., Boston, MA 02113. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Has worked as a case manager for the mentally ill.
Skin River (mystery novel), St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2004.
Bone Factory (mystery novel), St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of fiction to online and print publications such as Horrorfind.com, Three-lobed Burning Eye, Gothic.net, Chiaroscuro, and Snake Nation Review.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A crime novel to be published by St. Martin's Minotaur.
SIDELIGHTS: Mystery, horror, and crime author Steven Sidor has written for both print and online media. At the opening of his debut novel, Skin River, a search party desperately combs through the deep northern forests near Gunnar, Wisconsin, for missing college student Melissa Teagles. Unbeknownst to the searchers, however, the serial killer responsible for her disappearance sits calmly among them, while the girl lies bound, helpless, and unnoticed in the back of his truck. The serial killer, known as Goatskinner, deftly eludes capture and continues practicing his diabolical and depraved acts.
Intersecting with Goatskinner is Buddy Bayes, a former Chicago-based thief and criminal who has come to the remote Wisconsin timberlands to escape his past life and complete his rehabilitation. As the owner of a local watering hole, the Black Chimney Tavern, Buddy's life is quiet, moderately successful, and satisfying. When he accidentally finds Melissa's severed hand in the river while on a fishing trip, however, his serene existence implodes. The local sheriff immediately begins to eye Buddy as a prime suspect in Melissa's murder. Buddy himself begins to wonder if the girl's grisly fate is not a sign from an enemy in Chicago named Red Mizel, a rough character who once put a contract out on his life. Complicating matters further is a vicious attack on Margot, a waitress at Buddy's eatery who, as a single mother, lives above the Black Chimney. This attack further convinces him that Red Mizel is out to get him. An arson at the Black Chimney leaves Buddy without an income but even more determined to find out the cause of his increasing misfortune. He meanwhile remains unaware of the existence of Goatskinner, even as the sadistic killer continues to ply his knife and contribute to the uncounted atrocities that have already been committed near Skin River.
"Sidor's mastery of suspense and terror are top-rate, running closer to pure horror than mystery, and his prose has the strength and substance to do justice to his malevolent vision," stated a reviewer on the Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary Web site. The reviewer also noted that "Sidor's language is simple, stylish and lush, and his story is truly harrowing." As a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented, "Hardnosed, soft-hearted Buddy is irresistible, and Sidor supports him with bang-bang storytelling and a sharply drawn cast." Rex E. Klett, writing in Library Journal, remarked favorably on the book's "deft descriptions, slick prose, and growing tension," and Booklist contributor Connie Fletcher called Skin River "exquisitely plotted, with a well-realized main character."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2004, Connie Fletcher, review of Skin River, p. 1907.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2004, review of Skin River, p. 664; July 1, 2005, review of Bone Factory.
Library Journal, August, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of Skin River, p. 60.
Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary, http://www.trashotron.com/agony/ (June 18, 2005), review of Skin River.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (June 18, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Skin River.
Mystery One Web site, http://www.mysteryone.com/ (June 18, 2005), review of Skin River.
Steven Sidor Home Page, http://www.stevensidor.com (June 18, 2005).
[Sketch reviewed by wife, Lisa Sidor.]