PERSONAL: Born in Herentals, Belgium. Education: Graduated from Lancaster University (Lancaster, England).
ADDRESSES: Office—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Agent—c/o Johnny Geller, Curtis Brown, Haymarket House, 28/29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, England. E-mail—kevi[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Former English teacher.
People Die, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Among the Dead, Flame (London, England), 2002.
For the Dogs, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: In the early 2000s, Kevin Wignall published several thrillers, beginning with People Die, about a freelance assassin named JJ, who suddenly finds himself the target of a hit. The work garnered praise from critics. Calling the novel an "impressive debut," Booklist contributor Joanne Wilkinson noted Wignall's "crisp writing," as well as the "likable" hit-man protagonist and suspenseful plot. While a Kirkus Reviews contributor faulted instances of "overboiled dialogue," he found the pace quick and conclusion "surprising." Marilyn Stasio, writing in the New York Times Book Review, went so far as to dub People Die "subversively appealing," and a Publishers Weekly critic found the plot "worthy of the best British spymasters."
Wignall explores a similar subject matter in For the Dogs, a "deliciously nasty little thriller," to quote Frank Sennett in his review for Booklist. This time a hit man named Stephen Lucas is hired to watch over Ella Hatto, an English college student whose family is assassinated while she is vacationing in Italy. In what becomes a tale of revenge, Ella enlists Lucas's help to track down the killers and bring them to her version of justice. Even with all this action, the novel had other qualities to offer, such as the "complicated relationship between Ella and Lucas," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Opinions about the novel varied dramatically. For instance, while Patrick Anderson praised Wignall's writing in the Washington Post, calling it "smooth, taut, understated, [and] unsentimental," he found the plot unconvincing. On the other hand, a Kirkus Reviews critic described the work as "sharp, bleak, and compelling." Likening For the Dogs to works by mystery writers as John Le Carré, Georges Simenon, and Mark Billingham, a Publishers Weekly reviewer described For the Dogs as "compelling."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Joanne Wilkinson, review of People Die, p. 997; June 1, 2004, Frank Sennett, review of For the Dogs, p. 1709.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of People Die, p. 219; May 15, 2004, review of For the Dogs, p. 469.
New York Times Book Review, May 5, 2002, Marilyn Stasio, review of People Die, p. 24.
Publishers Weekly, March 18, 2002, review of People Die, p. 249; July 5, 2004, review of For the Dogs, p. 39.
Washington Post, July 12, 2004, Patrick Anderson, "Taken out by Prose," review of For the Dogs, p. C2.
Kevin Wignall Home Page, http://www.kevinwignall.com (March 3, 2005).