Sumner, Mark (C.)
SUMNER, Mark (C.)
(Kenyon Morr, a joint pseudonym)
PERSONAL: Married; children: one son. Hobbies and other interests: Camping, hiking, diving, aviation, searching for dinosaur fossils.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—P.O. Box 515286, St. Louis, MO 63151. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Ace Books, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
AWARDS, HONORS: World Fantasy Best Novel nomination, 1997, for Devil's Tower.
"THREE BOOKS OF BLOOD" SERIES
The Principal, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1994.
The Substitute, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1994, published as The Hunger, Lions, 1994.
The Coach, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1994.
Three Books of Blood (omnibus), Lions, 1994.
"NEWS FROM THE EDGE" SERIES
The Monster of Minnesota, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Insanity, Illinois, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1998. The Vampires of Vermont, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1999.
"EXTREME ZONE" SERIES
Night Terrors, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Dark Lies, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Unseen Powers, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Deadly Secrets, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Common Enemy, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Inhuman Fury, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Lost Soul, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1997.
Dead End, Pocket Archway (New York, NY), 1998.
The Dark (young adult horror novel), HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1994.
Magic—The Gathering: The Prodigal Sorcerer (fantasy novel), HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1995.
(Under joint pseudonym Kenyon Morr) Kingdom ofSorrow (part of "King's Quest" series), Boulevard, 1995.
(Under joint pseudonym Kenyon Morr) See No Weevil (part of "King's Quest" series), Boulevard, 1996.
Devil's Tower (novel), Ballantine Del Rey (New York, NY), 1996.
Devil's Engine (novel; sequel to Devil's Tower), Ballantine Del Rey (New York, NY), 1997.
Also author of A Handful of Hatchlings (short stories), 1993; Rent-to-Own (short stories), 1994; and Magic—The Gathering: The Cursed Land (fantasy novel), 1996. Contributor to anthologies, including Dragons!, 1993, and Deals with the Devil, 1994. Also contributor of short stories to genre magazines, including Dragon and Asimov's.
ADAPTATIONS: The television series The Chronicle, Sci-Fi Channel, is based on Sumner's "News from the Edge" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Mark Sumner is best known as an author of horror and fantasy paperback novels, including books in the "Extreme Zone" and "News from the Edge" series, the latter of which was adapted into the popular television series The Chronicle. The former series features young Harley Davisidaro and her friend Noah Templar. Beginning with Night Terrors, the two teens become involved in creepy happenings in their home town, which is situated near a mysterious research center known as Unit 17. Apparently, some frightening experiments are being conducted there, and Noah, who suffers from terrible nightmares, may have been a victim of whatever is going on in the labs. When Harley's father disappears, she enlists Noah's help, as well as that of Ian Cain, a man who claims to be an FBI agent and who offers to help the teens. While Kliatt reviewer Barbara A. Zynda believed that "middle school students will find these books diverting," she added that she did not "see kids getting hooked on them." Molly S. Kinney, writing about Night Terrors in School Library Journal, complained that characterization is somewhat sacrificed by "plentiful plot twists," but she complimented "the action [which] flows smoothly," making for "a good read."
With his "News from the Edge" series, Sumner created a premise that centers around a group of tabloid reporters working on real stories of vampires, monsters, and other strange phenomena. The featured character is Savvy McKinnon, a journalist who has accepted a job at the tabloid but who still hopes to be hired by a more respectable newspaper. In the first installment, The Monster of Minnesota, Savvy is assigned to investigate whether people are really being killed by a lake monster known as "Big Jelly," or if it is all a hoax aimed at covering up a more mundane crime. In Insanity, Illinois, Skye searches for the cause of people's apparent hallucinations on an isolated Mississippi island, and in The Vampires of Vermont Savvy fears she might become a monster herself when she is bitten by a vampire during an interview gone wrong. Reviewers of the series have often found it an enjoyable mix of spookiness and silliness somewhere between The X-Files and the cartoon Scooby-Doo. SF Site reviewer Steven H. Silver called The Monster of Minnesota "an entertaining, if diverting read," while Insanity, Illinois was similarly described as "entertaining, if light, reading."
In addition to his horror tales, Sumner has written fantasy as a contributor to the "Magic—The Gathering" series, has co-written two books with Marella Sands under the joint pseudonym Kenyon Morr based on the "King's Quest" fantasy computer games, and has written about an alternative history of the American West in Devil's Tower and Devil's Engine.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kliatt, May, 1997, Barbara A. Zynda, review of DarkLies and Night Terrors, p. 16; May, 1997, Susan Cromby, review of Devil's Engine, p. 16.
School Library Journal, Molly S. Kinney, review of Night Terrors, p. 160.
SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (November 9, 2004), Steven H. Silver, reviews of Insanity, Illinois and The Monster of Minnesota.*