Wimberley, Darryl (Amos Darryl Wimberley)
Wimberley, Darryl (Amos Darryl Wimberley)
Born in St. Augustine, FL; married Doris Constantine (a university financial aid director); children: two. Education: U.S. Air Force Academy, B.S., 1971; St. Mary's University, M.A., 1976; University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., 1979.
Home—Austin, TX. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Communications Properties, Inc., assistant regional manager, 1979-80; University of Texas at Austin, instructor, 1981-93.
Writers Guild of America West.
Grand Prize, Fade In magazine, 1998, for Kaleidoscope; Best Literary Work, ForeWord, 2000.
"BARRETT RAINES" SERIES
A Rock and a Hard Place, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Dead Man's Bay, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Strawman's Hammock, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Pepperfish Keys, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007.
(With Jon Samsel) Writing for Interactive Media, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 1998.
A Tinker's Damn (novel), MacMurray and Beck (Denver, CO), 2000.
The King of Colored Town (novel), Toby Press (New Milford, CT), 2007.
Also author of several screenplays, including Love Thy Father, based on events then-current in Poland, which was purchased by International Visions in 1980, and Kaleidoscope.
In addition to writing screenplays, Darryl Wimberley has created the well-received "Barrett Raines" mystery series. Wimberley introduces Raines, the sole African-American detective on the Deacon Beach, Florida, police force, in A Rock and a Hard Place, which revolves around the murder of a popular female restaurant owner. Raines's work is cut out for him, as the main suspect is his brother. The work garnered mixed reviews. A Kirkus Reviews critic thought it "long on Gulf Coast atmosphere, short on twists and tension." "Wimberley's prose is spare and his dialogue catchy," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly, but the writer also remarked on "excess exposition" and confusing changes in point of view. Writing in Library Journal, Rex E. Klett praised A Rock and a Hard Place for "glittering nuggets of detail, energized prose, and an admirable detective."
Wimberley continued Detective Raines's story in Dead Man's Bay and Strawman's Hammock. In the former, Raines's wife leaves him, taking their children with her. Because of a drinking problem, Raines is almost fired. Yet when he and his partner are given a seven-year-old case to solve, Raines has the chance to prove that he can not only capture a villain but recapture success. A Publishers Weekly reviewer, praising the characterization of Detective Raines, wrote that "Wimberley develops his hero into a notable character."
Wimberley hit his stride with Strawman's Hammock, an investigation of a murder in the Florida pine forest. After remarking favorably on the evocation of setting and the characterizations, a Publishers Weekly reviewer also praised the style, writing that Wimberley's "clear and flowing prose carries you right along with nary an extraneous word." Likewise, Booklist contributor Gary Niebuhr commented favorably on the book's pacing, suspense, "vividly realized setting," and "thought-provoking treatment of racial and social issues."
In Raines's fourth appearance, Pepperfish Keys, the detective must find out who killed the daughter of Florida Senator Baxter Stanton, who is found with her throat cut shortly after her father had evaded drug-laundering charges for lack of evidence. Raines suspects Eddy DeLeon, the local drug czar who is the senator's alleged partner, but proving the case is a difficult matter. In a starred review for Booklist, Wes Lukowsky praised the novel's "melodious prose" and exciting narrative, concluding that Wimberley deserved to join the top rank of crime writers. A Publishers Weekly reviewer, noting that Wimberley keeps the killer's identity a real surprise, praised him as a "top-notch writer with command of both his pot and … Florida coastal setting."
For Wimberley, the stand-alone novel A Tinker's Damn marks an "auspicious foray into more literary territory," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Set in the Depression-era Florida panhandle, it is the coming-of-age story of Carter Buchanan, whose family has long lived off the land there. It involves a land battle between Carter's father, Tink, and another family in the community, with whose daughter Carter falls in love. A number of reviewers praised the work for Wimberley's portrayal of the varied characters and the historic locale. Booklist contributor Michele Leber commented on the "vivid descriptions" of lumbering and tobacco farming, noting as well that the plot "moves at a good pace." Moreover, in his New York Times Book Review assess- ment of A Tinker's Damn, David Galef observed that the now-nonexistent north Florida forests are "magnificently evoked" and that "most impressively," the author "has caught the essence of people's lives." A Kirkus Reviews contributor pointed out the characters, with whom readers can empathize, and the "no-nonsense storytelling" and described the novel as a "moving, deeply felt story about fathers and sons, sin and redemption."
Wimberley's second stand-alone novel, The King of Colored Town, met with similar praise. Its protagonists, Cilla and Joe Billy, are black teenagers caught up in the drama of the Civil Rights movement in their segregated town of Laureate, Florida, in 1963. Efforts to integrate the town's high school draw the ire of the Ku Klux Klan; in the ensuing violence the teens are assaulted. Despite noticing some Southern Gothic elements in the narrative, Ann H. Radford, reviewing the novel in Library Journal, hailed it as an "authentic glimpse of a moment in history." A Publishers Weekly contributor praised the novel's "gripping story line, authentic voice and dead-on dialogue," while a writer for Texas Monthly called The King of Colored Town one of the year's "literary highlights."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2000, Michelle Leber, review of A Tinker's Damn, p. 220; October 1, 2001, Gary Niebuhr, review of Strawman's Hammock; May 15, 2007, Wes Lukowsky, review of Pepperfish Keys, p. 24.
Entertainment Weekly, April 6, 2007, Karen Leigh, review of The King of Colored Town, p. 81.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1999, review of A Rock and a Hard Place, p. 926; June 1, 2000, review of Dead Man's Bay, p. 757; September 1, 2000, review of A Tinker's Damn, p. 1229; September 1, 2001, review of Strawman's Hammock.
Library Journal, July, 1999, Rex E. Klett, review of A Rock and a Hard Place, p. 140; February 15, 2007, Ann H. Radford, review of The King of Colored Town, p. 118.
New York Times Book Review, December 17, 2000, David Galef, review of A Tinker's Damn, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 1999, review of A Rock and a Hard Place, p. 53; June 26, 2000, review of Dead Man's Bay, pp. 53-54; September 11, 2000, review of A Tinker's Damn, p. 65; October 22, 2001, review of Strawman's Hammock; January 1, 2007, review of The King of Colored Town, p. 31; April 2, 2007, review of Pepperfish Keys, p. 40.
Texas Monthly, July, 2007, Mike Shea, review of Pepperfish Keys, p. 56.
Washington Post Book World, December 3, 2000, review of A Tinker's Damn, p. 15.
Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (September 20, 2007), Patricia E. Reid, review of Pepperfish Keys.
Darryl Wimberley Home Page,http://www.darrylwimberley.com (September 20, 2007).
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (September 20, 2007), Thea Davis, review of Dead Man's Bay.