Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Lynn Hightower

Photohttp://www.lynnhightower.com

Biography
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee,
Lynn S. Hightower lived in Georgia and Virginia as a child before moving to Lexington, Kentucky where she now lives. She was a big reader in school, especially of mysteries and later science fiction. In 1977 she graduated in journalism from the University of Kentucky where she enrolled in creative writing classes. Her tutor there told her to just sit down and do her own writing, advice which she has followed. She wrote television commercials and then went back to college to study for a master's degree in business administration. Realizing, though, that the jobs she was interviewing for were not at all what she wanted to do, with family encouragement she started writing. She now works full-time writing fiction. Other “likes” are canoeing, horse-riding, tennis, and dancing. Her writing is pacy, sympathetic, and genuine. To make her work realistic and up-to-date she did a lot of research with the police, in particular with homicide investigators and crime scene specialists in Cincinnati, and with police and private investigators in Kentucky.

"My goal is always to write a riveting, compelling, fast-moving read that entertains. I try to write realistically — I do a lot of research and I try to make my story fit the facts, rather than the other way around. I don't feel that I have the right to expect people to indulge me by reading something that they don't enjoy. I'm happy if someone gives me three sentences to pique their interest; if I haven't got you in three, then toss my book aside with my blessings… I write to tell myself stories I would like to be told.”

What she writes: Her career began in the early 1990’s with a futuristic police procedural series about a homicide cop, David Silver, and his alien partner, String, a seven-foot stingray-like being who smells like fresh limes! The setting is about fifty years in the future, where the problems of prejudice and violence are not fixed, but have just changed and mutated. In the midst of the science fiction books, she started two different contemporary mystery series: the first features Lena Padget, a private investigator in Lexington, Kentucky and the second is about Sonora Blair, a homicide detective in Cincinnati, Ohio who is a gutsy, intelligent, and sensitive widow with two kids, a three-legged dog and an ulcer, fighting to balance the brutality of the police job with family demands.

 

List of works
 
Lena Padget Series
  Satan's Lambs (1992)
  High Water (2002)
  Fortunes of the Dead (2003)
  When Secrets Die (2005)
   
David Silver Series
  Alien Blues (1991)
  Alien Eyes (1993)
  Alien Heat (1994)
  Alien Rites (1995)
   
Sonora Blair Series
  Flashpoint (1995)
  Eyeshot (1996)
  No Good Deed (1998)
  The Debt Collector (2000)
   
Short stories in these anthologies
  Women of Darkness II (1990)
  Final Shadows (1991)
   

Awards

Her first “Lena Padget” title, Satan’s Lambs, won the Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel in 1994. Considered a kind of underground “classic,” this and the rest of the series are often more about the characters – Lena and her lover Joel Menendez and their developing relationship – but often include various contemporary and ethical issues.

 
What the critics say
“Both Lena Padgett [sic] and Sonora Blair are well-drawn characters: intelligent, passionate, and all too human. Hightower creates high-octane suspense, and readers can feel the impact long after the book has been put away.” — By a Woman’s Hand, Jean Swanson & Dean James, N.Y., Berkley Prime Crime, 1996
“The police procedures seem authentic. The talk is smart and has the ring of reality. Like her heroine, Hightower is a pro who knows how to get the job done.” — Los Angeles Times (October 22, 2000)
“Hightower bolsters the chilling realism of The Debt Collector with style and substance, loading tremendous punch into her trademark short chapters. With an economy of words, the author illustrates with depth a complex character living in a world of urban terror. Thriller writers should take lessons from Hightower.” — South Florida Sun Sentinel (December 31, 2000)
“Speaking of talented unknowns, there's Tennessee's Lynn Hightower, the author of four good novels and one excellent one, The Debt Collector... A couple of nut-cases have slaughtered several members of a family during a home invasion. Det. Sonora Blair, stymied, gets a tip from a retired cop that points her in the direction of two very likely suspects. But it turns out they weren't acting alone. If Hightower hadn't tacked on a last-minute plot twist that most readers will see coming a few chapters away, The Debt Collector would be great. As it stands, it is still very good: tight, moody, edgy, a real page-turner. A couple more like this one, and the author will be a household name.” — Winnipeg Free Press (December 2, 2001)
“Just as Lena proves she's a terrific detective by getting new information on her very first interview, so Hightower shows us what a fine storyteller she is on every page.” — Publishers Weekly (August 11, 2003)

 

Learn about other Mystery Authors You May Have Missed.