Wakling, Christopher 1970-

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WAKLING, Christopher 1970-

PERSONAL: Born 1970; married a physician. Education: Studied English at Oxford University.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Pan Macmillan-Picador, 20 New Wharf Rd., London N1 9RR, England. E-mail—[email protected] wakling.com.

CAREER: Has worked as a teacher and as an barrister in London, England.

WRITINGS:

The Immortal Part (novel), Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2003, published as On Cape Three Points, Picador (London, England), 2003.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel, set in Kashmir, about a kidnapping.

SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Wakling is a former corporate lawyer who drew on his professional background to write his first novel, a thriller titled The Immortal Part. The author was working for a law firm in London, England, when, as Bookseller writer Benedicte Page reported, he and a colleague "were faced with an opportunity to cover up something that had gone wrong. 'For a lawyer, that's absolutely prohibited, and obviously we didn't,' explains Wakling. 'But there was a sense of "Well, what if . . . ?"'" In The Immortal Part young attorney Lewis Penn accidentally loses an important file belonging to UKI, a Ukrainian company that is a big client for his firm. Retracing his steps, he believes he has located the file and sends it to an office in Washington, D.C. He soon finds out his horrible mistake: not only has he lost the first file, which contained sensitive financial information, but the second file contains information regarding UKI's illegal accounting practices. Penn consequently becomes a target for UKI's security chief. He flees to Washington to retrieve the file in a desperate attempt to save both his skin and his career.

While reviewers appreciated the moral dilemma Wakling creates for his humanly flawed character, several reviewers felt this debut to be notably lacking in suspense. Daily Mirror writer Andrea Henry enjoyed Wakling's main character, "a normal bloke who finds himself in a bit of a spot," but she complained of a plot with too much talk and not enough action: "Wakling even manages to make the car chases and fights boring." A Kirkus Reviews contributor similarly faulted the novel for too many "flashbacks, side trips, maundering, and dire hints whose import is never quite clear." On the other hand, a Publishers Weekly reviewer declared The Immortal Part a "taut debut [that] is a study of human foibles, with a vivid and all too fallible hero."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2003, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Immortal Part, p. 1051.

Bookseller, February 14, 2003, Benedicte Page, "A Moment of Weakness: In Christopher Wakling's Debut Thriller, One Bad Decision Leads His Protagonist into a Nightmare," p. 29.

Daily Mirror (London, England), May 17, 2003, Andrea Henry, "Legally Grinding: Andrea Henry Passes Judgment on a Brit Thriller Lacking in Thrills," p. 56.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of The Immortal Part, p. 178. Publishers Weekly, March 24, 2003, review of The Immortal Part, p. 57.*