Sloan, Susan R.
SLOAN, SUSAN R.
PERSONAL: Born in New York, NY.
CAREER: Attorney and novelist. Operates animal rescue center, Furrytown Farm.
Guilt by Association, Warner Books, (New York, NY), 1995.
An Isolated Incident, Warner Books, (New York, NY), 1998.
Act of God, Warner Books, (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Susan R. Sloan was born and educated in New York and spent most of her early life on the East coast. She eventually moved to California where she lived for fifteen years. She now resides in the state of Washington on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. In addition to her career as a writer, Sloan is also devoted to rescuing and helping abused and abandoned animals. To this end, she has established Furrytown Farm, a place where such animals can receive medical care and rehabilitation.
Before she began writing, Sloan was a practicing attorney. Her novels always address questions surrounding the role and effectiveness of the law in a civil society and the extent to which justice can be done. To date, all of her novels are built around the exploration of a social issue, such as equality before the law, bigotry, and the abortion controversy.
Sloan's first novel, Guilt by Association, revolves around a young woman's rape by a man from a powerful family. The crime was committed in 1962. At that time, a crime such as acquaintance rape was barely acknowledged, much less prosecuted. The book follows the victim through this tumultuous period in America, describing the changes in her life as well as the life of the culture. Thirty years after the event a situation arises that makes it possible for her to bring her experience out into the open. Her decision to speak publicly and the consequences both personally and legally drive the action. The impact of this event on the life of the victim and her instigation of a process of justice change her identity from victim to victor.
In An Isolated Incident, the author again finds herself fascinated by a social issue—bigotry, in this case—and the stew of gossip, secrets, destruction that spring from it. The story is set on an island some distance from Seattle, an area that Sloan knows well. Events are set in motion by the murder of a teenage girl, the daughter of one of the notable men of the community. The crime is committed in a town where violence is virtually unknown, or so it seems. The drive for revenge is strong in the wake of this tragedy. One of the larger issues explored in the book is the ability of the law to dispense justice when it is opposed to the wishes of a mob. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that An Isolated Incident "convincingly portrays the worst consequences of stereotyping."
Terrorism and its wrenching aftermath are explored in Sloan's third novel, Act of God. A bomb goes off at an abortion clinic, killing a large number of people. A likely suspect is found and arrested. Is he really the criminal? The attorney assigned to defend him finds herself in the unenviable position of trying to get a fair trial for a man who seems unquestionably guilty. The radical mind-set is explored along with questions about the legal system's ability to discover the truth. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "provocative" and "explosive."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of An Isolated Incident, p. 611; April 1, 2002, Connie Fletcher, review of Act of God, p. 1310.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 1994, review of Guilt byAssociation, p. 1368; December, 1997, review of An Isolated Incident, p. 1734; March 1, 2002, review of Act of God, p. 287.
Law Institute Journal, October, 1995, Peta Kowalski, review of Guilt by Association, p. 1050.
Library Journal, October 15, 1997, Mary Ellen Elsbernd, review of An Isolated Incident, p. 94; April 1, 2002, Jetta Carol Culpepper, review of Act of God, p. 143.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 12, 1995, Charles Champlin, review of Guilt by Association, p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, November 3, 1997, review of AnIsolated Incident, p. 65; March 25, 2002, review of Act of God, p. 42.
Fortner Books Web site,http://www.fortnerbooks.com/ (June 7, 2002).
Susan R. Sloan Web site,http://www.sloanbooks.com (June 7, 2002).*