Stroud, Carsten 1946–
Stroud, Carsten 1946–
PERSONAL: Born July 10, 1946, in Hull, Quebec, Canada; son of Casimir Laurence and Catherine Amanda (Potvin) Stroud; children: Danielle, Jay, Emily. Education: Attended the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto. Hobbies and other interests: Horses, saber fencing.
ADDRESSES: Home—501, 2645 Bloor St., Toronto, Ontario M8X 1A3, Canada. Office—c/o Penguin Books Canada Ltd., Ste. 300, 10 Alcorn Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B2, Canada.
CAREER: Journalist. Mair, Stroud & Associates, Inc. (communications firm), Toronto, Ontario, Canada, partner; also worked as a salvage diver and undercover operative infiltrating biker gangs. Military service: Served in Vietnam.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Magazine Award; Author's Awards; Canadian Science Writers Award; Kansas School of Journalism Award; New York City Magazines Award.
The Blue Wall: Street Cops in Canada, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Canada), 1983.
Close Pursuit: A Week in the Life of a Homicide Cop, Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.
Sniper's Moon (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.
Lizardskin (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
Contempt of Court: The Betrayal of Justice in Canada, Macmillan (Toronto, Canada), 1993.
Iron Bravo: Hearts, Minds, and Sergeants in the U.S. Army, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
Deadly Force: In the Streets with the U.S. Marshals, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Black Water Transit: A Novel, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Cuba Strait: A Novel, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Cobraville: A Novel, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
ADAPTATIONS: Deadly Force is being adapted for film; Sniper's Moon was made into an audiobook.
SIDELIGHTS: Award-winning Canadian journalist Carsten Stroud has long been interested in the work of law enforcement officials and military men. Two of Carsten's nonfiction works deal with law enforcement in Canada. In The Blue Wall: Street Cops in Canada, Stroud recounts what he had learned after a year of going on the job with police officers in Toronto. According to Mark Dailey in Quill & Quire, The Blue Wall "captures the essence of what our policemen are facing and how they handle it. He has carefully avoided the television glamour image of the job." Ian Brown, writing in Maclean's, called the work "brilliantly reported," though he found it "occasionally too melodramatic." Brown continued: "The Blue Wall may offend liberal sensibilities. It is not a doctrinaire book. Stroud is too honest a reporter and writer to issue knee-jerk reactions. He simply reports what he sees and hears in the best tradition of journalism."
In Contempt of Court: The Betrayal of Justice in Canada, Stroud also deals with the Canadian justice system, this time asserting that the courts prevent police officers from doing their work by giving too much protection to criminals. Calling the work "an apologia for police, more rant than reflection," Glenn Wheeler also remarked in Quill & Quire: "Stroud raises some interesting questions about criminality." Writing in Books in Canada, Jack Batten commented: "Stroud puts the reader up close, shoulder to shoulder with the writer and with everybody who lines up on the writer's side. Anybody else is the enemy." Batten went on to note that the author's "writing has style" and added: "It's the style that originates with Hemingway, takes a jog to the right, filters through a certain type of crime novelist, the Ed McBain type. The style is immediate, a little romantic-sentimental but tough, gets its effect from detail, good texture."
For his best-selling Close Pursuit: A Week in the Life of a Homicide Cop, Stroud spent six months with members of the New York City Police Department, following the activities of a homicide detective who was working on three different cases at the same time. Stroud attended an autopsy and witnessed the capture of a murder suspect. A Booklist contributor found Close Pursuit to be "provocative." A critic writing for Publishers Weekly called it "graphic and gripping." Dorothy Uhnak, writing in the New York Times Book Review, praised Stroud's "journalistic approach" as coming "close to providing a definitive examination of the extraordinary physical, emotional, psychological and moral demands made on a homicide detective." She noted, however, that "the politics, racism and sexism that some see operating in the New York City Police Department intrude gratuitously throughout." Uhnak concluded that when the author "follows his journalistic training, he provides a strong, clear and admirable picture of the working life of a homicide detective, and this is what the book is all about."
Reviewers found much to like in Iron Bravo: Hearts, Minds, and Sergeants in the U.S. Army. This book follows the career of Dee Crane, a combat infantryman in the U.S. Army, from Vietnam to peacetime service in Kansas, to the Persian Gulf War, and back, dealing with such topics as volunteers versus draftees, female soldiers, and race relations. Iron Bravo is "consistently interesting and informative" with "pungent, whiplash prose," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. A Kirkus Reviews contributor remarked that Stroud's "oddly elegiac take on close encounters of the enlisted man's kind … rings true throughout." Stroud provides the reader with the "first truly impressive worm's-eye view of the Gulf War," asserted John Mort in Booklist. Yet, according to Mort, the "best thing of all … in this solid, fresh" view of war is the portrayal of Crane.
In addition to his nonfiction works, Stroud has written several genre novels, including the police procedurals Sniper's Moon and Lizardskin. Sniper's Moon deals with a New York City Police Department sniper who finds himself accused of murder. A Library Journal contributor remarked on the novel's effective pacing, "high excitement," and "hard-hitting" prose. Praising the work for its realistic portrayal of New York neighborhoods, "ingenious plot, suspenseful pacing, and strong, gritty dialogue" a Publishers Weekly contributor also praised the "nuanced" characterizations, and declared Sniper's Moon to be a "standout." Lizardskin revolves around a Montana Highway Patrol sergeant's investigation of a truck stop robbery and murder. Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer praised the novel for its "authoritative" depiction of police work and "solid workingman's plot."
In his novel Black Water Transit, the author presents a thriller that focuses on businessman Jack Vermillion. Government authorities have set up Jack to take the fall following the murder of federal officers by a sniper. Jack has tipped them off about an illegal gun shipment. He told them of the shipment as part of his effort to cut a deal for his imprisoned son. As Jack sets out to discover what went wrong and prove his innocence, he meets up with Casey Spandau, a police detective who happens to be after the gunrunner whose operations Jack informed on. "Stroud reaches into his deep well of talent and comes up with this ferociously driven, intricately woven thriller," wrote a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. In a review in the Library Journal, Jeff Ayers called the novel "a meaty crime drama."
Cuba Strait involves ex-cop Rick Broca in a tale of international intrigue. Rick works for a Hollywood mogul as a technical consultant on his crime movies. He rescues pilot Charles Green after Green's plane crashes into the ocean off Florida. Taking the pilot to Miami, Rick is soon intercepted by Cubans who want both the pilot and the plane's cargo. In addition, it appears that the Cubans have also kidnapped Rick's boss. Frank Sennett, writing in Booklist, noted the novel's "gut-grabbing action and hairpin-turn plotting that remains compelling and believable." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the author "an excellent storyteller with an ear for tough-guy, wisecracking dialogue."
Stroud presents a story involving al-Qaeda and terrorism in Cobraville. This time the author intertwines two narratives, one focusing on Senator Drew Langan's knowledge about an upcoming terrorist attack on Iligan City in the Philippines and the other on CIA agent Cole Langren, the senator's son, who is on a mission in the Philippines to repair surveillance equipment. "The prose is sharp, funny, exciting and bloody," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, adding that it "is a solid, top-shelf performance." A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that the author is "terrific with action scenes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 1987, review of Close Pursuit: A Week in the Life of a Homicide Cop, p. 810; July, 1992, Peter Robertson, review of Lizardskin, p. 1994; January 15, 1995, John Mort, review of Iron Bravo: Hearts, Minds, and Sergeants in the U.S. Army, p. 894; December 1, 2002, Frank Sennett, review of Cuba Strait, p. 649.
Books in Canada, April, 1988, review of Close Pursuit, p. 8; January, 1991, review of Sniper's Moon, p. 57; April, 1991, review of Sniper's Moon, pp. 16, 18, 19; April, 1993, Jack Batten, review of Contempt of Court: The Betrayal of Justice in Canada, pp. 41-42.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1992, review of Lizardskin, p. 746; December 15, 1994, review of Iron Bravo, p. 1550; April 1, 2004, review of Cobraville, 297.
Library Journal, October 1, 1990, Rex E. Klett, review of Sniper's Moon, p. 119; August, 1996, Michael Sawyer, review of Deadly Force: In the Streets with the U.S. Marshals, p. 92; August, 2001, Jeff Ayers, review of Black Water Transit, p. 166.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 5, 1987, review of Close Pursuit, p. 2; November 11, 1990, p. 15.
Maclean's, November 7, 1983, Ian Brown, review of The Blue Wall: Street Cops in Canada, p. 70; March 2, 1987, Don Cumming, review of Close Pursuit, p. 49.
New York Times Book Review, April 12, 1987, Dorothy Uhnak, review of Close Pursuit, p. 28.
Publishers Weekly, January 16, 1987, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Close Pursuit, p. 67; August 10, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Sniper's Moon, p. 435; June 8, 1992, review of Lizardskin, p. 56; January 2, 1995, review of Iron Bravo, p. 68; June 10, 1996, review of Deadly Force, p. 78; June 25, 2001, review of Black Water Transit, p. 44; December 16, 2002, review of Cuba Strait, p. 47; March 22, 2004, review of Cobraville, p. 58.
Quill & Quire, September, 1983, Mark Dailey, review of The Blue Wall, p. 74; April, 1993, Glenn Wheeler, review of Contempt of Court, p. 25.