Smiley, Patricia

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Smiley, Patricia

PERSONAL:

Born in Yakima, WA. Education: University of Washington, B.A. (sociology); Pepperdine University, M.B.A. (with honors).

ADDRESSES:

Home and office—P.O. Box 642504, Los Angeles, CA 90064. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist. Has worked as a group supervisor for King County Juvenile Court, Seattle, WA; at Washington State legislature, Olympia, WA; for a cruise line in Los Angeles, CA; and as a general manager for a temporary personnel service in Los Angeles.

WRITINGS:

False Profits (crime novel), Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Cover Your Assets (sequel to False Profits), Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Short Change (mystery novel), New American Library (New York, NY), 2007.

Cool Cache: A Tucker Sinclair Mystery (novel), Obsidian (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

While in college, Patricia Smiley majored in drama but ultimately received her bachelor's degree in sociology. On her home page, she explained that she did this because she "learned that acting is fun, but sociology is practical." Despite this philosophy, Smiley moved to Los Angeles after she graduated to try and find work as an actress. While there, she took the time to earn an M.B.A. at Pepperdine University. Smiley fell in love with Los Angeles, which became the setting for her first crime novel, False Profits. The author combines her creativity and business knowledge to create her debut thriller. As Oline H. Cogdill noted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Smiley "succeeds in the near impossible … making financial plans and securities interesting and rife with tension and suspense."

Protagonist Tucker Sinclair is a thirty-year-old, recently divorced financial consultant who lives with her actress mother, Pookie. Pookie drives a Porsche Boxter and lives in the Malibu beach house she acquired through an inheritance, although that bequest is now being contested by an aunt. Pookie goes on a retreat, leaving Tucker to enjoy relative peace and quiet and to care for Pookie's Westie, Muldoon, but the quiet is soon broken when Tucker's work is sabotaged. Dr. Milton Polk had come to her firm, which is owned by Gordon Aames, and asked them to write a business plan to solicit twenty-five million dollars in venture capital to cover the cost of a new laboratory. Tucker suggests that the figure is unrealistic and that three million dollars is more appropriate, and she creates a plan, based on her projections. Unknown to Tucker, however, another plan based on the higher figure and including inflated estimates of profits, has been submitted to investors. They now demand their investments back and are threatening to sue. Missing files, incompetent employees, a suspicious office manager, false insurance claims, and a dead body move the plot along as Tucker tries to save her job and unravel the mystery while her former husband, Eric Bergstrom, and sexy detective Joe Deegan provide romantic interest. Jenny McLarin wrote in Booklist that "it's hard to believe that this clever and engaging adventure is Smiley's first novel. It reads like the latest in a well-established series."

Tucker returns in Cover Your Assets. In the novel, her former lover, Evan Brice, is stabbed to death. The prime suspect is Cissy, who had tempted him away from Tucker and married him. Despite their history, Tucker extends her sympathies to Cissy and agrees to help her prove she did not kill Evan. Other suspects appear, including a young actress and the woman who cleaned Evan's apartment; meanwhile a subplot involves Pookie and her boyfriend, Bruce. Deegan reappears as the man Tucker hopes will escort her to Eric's wedding. McLarin wrote that, although this story is "darker" than False Profits, it "succeeds on the same merits: snappy prose, a compelling heroine, and a healthy dose of suspense." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that this second installment is a "balance between whodunit and why-on-earth-does-she-keep-doing-it, with smart, sassy Tucker caught squarely in the middle."

In Short Change, Tucker has started her own consulting business and has even attracted her first client: PI Charley Tate of Tate Investigations. "He needs Tucker's help to find a way to pick his business up out of the hole it's in," explained Rachael Dimond in a Fresh Fiction Web site review. "When a woman named Eve Lawson enters Tate Investigations wanting to hire Charley, things start to be looking better for the small business." Then several things happen in quick succession: Eve goes missing, her boyfriend Rocky is discovered murdered in a hotel room, and someone hurts Charley in an auto accident that may not have been accidental. Add to this the fact that Rocky was apparently murdered in Tucker's love-interest Joe Deegan's jurisdiction—thus posing a potential conflict of interest—and that Tucker's aunt is suing her for ownership of the house she inherited from her grandmother, and "suddenly," declared a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "it looks as if Tucker's about to be shortchanged both professionally and romantically." "Satisfied fans," concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "will enjoy the forays and foibles of this charming heroine."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2004, Jenny McLarin, review of False Profits, p. 71; September 15, 2005, Jenny McLarin, review of Cover Your Assets, p. 37; June 1, 2007, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Short Change, p. 46.

Entertainment Weekly, November 26, 2004, David Koeppel, review of False Profits, p. 125.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004, review of False Profits, p. 841; August 15, 2005, review of Cover Your Assets, p. 887; June 15, 2007, review of Short Change.

Publishers Weekly, October 4, 2004, review of False Profits, p. 73; August 22, 2005, review of Cover Your Assets, p. 39; May 21, 2007, review of Short Change, p. 38.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 29, 2004, Oline H. Cogdill, review of False Profits.

ONLINE

AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (April 12, 2008), Harriet Klausner, review of False Profits.

Best Reviews, http://thebestreviews.com/ (April 12, 2008), Harriet Klausner, review of Short Change.

Book Haven, http://thebookhaven.homestead.com/ (April 12, 2008), Amy Coffin, review of False Profits.

BookLoons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (April 12, 2008), Mary Ann Smyth, review of False Profits.

Curled Up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (April 12, 2008), Rashmi Srinivas, review of False Profits.

Fresh Fiction, http://freshfiction.com/ (April 12, 2008), Rachael Dimond, review of Short Change.

Patricia Smiley Home Page, http://www.patriciasmiley.com (April 12, 2008), Jane Dentinger, author interview, and author profile.

Romantic Times Online, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (April 12, 2008), Sheri Melnick, review of Short Change.

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