Whitlow, Robert 1954-
WHITLOW, Robert 1954-
Born 1954; married; wife's name Kathy; children: four. Education: Furman University, graduated; University of Georgia Law School, J.D. (with honors). Religion: Christian. Hobbies and other interests: History, revivals.
Practiced law in Atlanta, GA; Sellers, Hinshaw, Ayers, Dortch & Lyons (law firm), Charlotte, NC, attorney.
Christy Award for excellence in Christian publishing for The Trial.
The List, Word Publishing (Nashville, TN), 2000.
The Trial, Word Publishing (Nashville, TN), 2001.
The Sacrifice, Word Publishing (Nashville, TN), 2002.
Life Support, Word Publishing (Nashville, TN), 2003.
Life Everlasting (sequel to Life Support), WestBow Press (Nashville, TN), 2004.
Jimmy, WestBow Press (Nashville, TN), 2005.
Mountain Top, WestBow Press (Nashville, TN), 2006.
Attorney Robert Whitlow is also the author of a number of legal thrillers that reflect his Christian beliefs. His first novel, The List, was written for his wife. He had no intention of publishing it, and, in fact, had no aspirations at the time to become a fiction writer. Whitlow's debut features Josiah "Renny" Jacobsen, a greedy non-Christian lawyer who falls in love with a Christian woman. Renny's wealthy father leaves him only a membership in the Covenant, a group that was formed at the end of the Civil War by South Carolinians who sheltered their assets by sending them north, and the proceeds from which now rest in a Swiss bank account. The original pact, however, was not only made between the families, but also with the devil. Renny's conversion and confrontation with evil complete the story.
Whitlow's award-winning The Trial finds attorney Mac MacClain defending the drifter accused of killing an Atlanta college student, which distracts him from his own depression and guilt over being the only survivor of an accident in which his wife and sons died. Other characters include a Christian psychologist who provides mental and romantic aid to the lonely Mac. Booklist critic John Mort called this novel a "seamless thriller."
Scott Ellis is the attorney-protagonist of The Sacrifice, in which he takes the case of Lester Garrison, a man accused of a hate crime against a black congregation. A theme in the story is the consequences of absent parents and dysfunctional families. Although Lester detests the bigotry and racism displayed by Lester, he is not certain of his guilt. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "Whitlow's dry humor is appealing, and his character development is excellent."
In Life Support Alexia Lindale, who specializes in family law, leaves her firm after learning that her clients, the wealthy Richardsons, who are seeking the right to determine the care of their comatose son, have been involved in questionable real-estate deals. Alexia instead chooses to represent Rena, the wife of Baxter, and a young woman from a poor and abusive background. Life Everlasting is the sequel to Life Support in which Baxter awakes from his coma to name the person who pushed him over the cliff. In this story, Alexia continues to grow closer to Ted Morgan, a minister who believes in music as a healing tool.
The protagonist of Jimmy is a mildly retarded and sweet boy who sees angels he calls "Watchers." Mort, writing again in Booklist, felt this book would appeal to young adult readers "who enjoy rooting for the underdog."
Charlotte World critic Warren Smith noted that Whitlow's novels have been compared to those of John Grisham. Both are lawyers and come from small Southern towns and cultures. Smith asked Whitlow how he felt "about being labeled a Christian novelist as opposed to a novelist who happens to be Christian." Whitlow replied: "I like what C.S Lewis said about it. He said that the world does not need more Christian writers; it needs more writers who are Christians. So my desire is to create a work that is as excellent as possible, yet at the same time incorporate into the story the spiritual realities that we believe exist because we are Christians."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2000, John Mort, review of The List, p. 1196; March 1, 2001, John Mort, review of The Trial, p. 1228; January 1, 2006, John Mort, review of Jimmy, p. 59.
Library Journal, November 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of Life Everlasting, p. 70.
Publishers Weekly, February 5, 2001, review of The Trial, p. 68; April 8, 2002, review of The Sacrifice, p. 207; August 23, 2004, review of Life Everlasting, p. 16.
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (September 19, 2006), Sally Selvadurai, review of Life Support.
Charlotte World Online,http://www.thecharlotteworld.com/ (September 19, 2006), Warren Smith, "The Center of the Human Heart," interview with Robert Whitlow.
Robert Whitlow Home Page,http://www.robertwhitlow.com (September 19, 2006).*