Books by Stephen Amidon

THE REAL JUSTINE by Stephen Amidon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"While there are a few genuine surprises along the way, most of Amidon's (Security, 2009, etc.) twists are telegraphed so far in advance that it's a wonder the characters don't see them coming."
A few nights of passion ignite a man's obsession for a mysterious woman in this tale of uncertain identities. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 5, 2012

"A cultural history of sports that says as much about all of us as it does about athletes."
A brief but enlightening history of the athlete as a cultural icon. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 18, 2011

"An enjoyable celebration of the collaboration of visionaries."
Novelist Stephen Amidon (Security, 2009, etc.) and his brother, cardiologist Thomas Amidon, examine the "different ways that we have thought about the heart ever since it first took root in the Western imagination." Read full book review >
SECURITY by Stephen Amidon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

"Amidon's strength, a gritty realism, is sacrificed to a never-believable morality tale about the power of money to corrupt."
In Amidon's sixth novel (Human Capital, 2004, etc.), various story lines converge to yield a small-town melodrama. Read full book review >
HUMAN CAPITAL by Stephen Amidon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Richly complex and genuinely tragic, painfully cognizant of the lethal interaction among human weakness, skewed societal values, and the random blows of fate. "
Working in the towering tradition of Dreiser, Amidon (The New City, 2000, etc.) insightfully examines financial maneuvers that lead to personal catastrophe for three families in a Connecticut suburb. Read full book review >
THE NEW CITY by Stephen Amidon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 18, 2000

This ambitious, tightly plotted urban melodrama—a bold entry into Richard Price territory—is a real surprise, coming from the former American expatriate and author of such terse, claustrophobic novels as Thirst (1993) and The Primitive (1995). Amidon's engrossing story is set in 1973 in Newton, Maryland, a "planned city" designed as a safe alternative to crime-infested and racially tense major eastern metropoli. Two longtime friends are major figures in the forging of Newton's hopeful future: white attorney and "problem solver" Austin Swope; and black construction-company owner Earl Wooten. Ominous cracks begin appearing in the city's placid facade: A brawl at the local Teen Center has caused extensive damage to property and Newton's superego; fish are found floating dead in a man-made lake; quaint streetside gaslights are inexplicably exploding. Other crises quickly develop. When Wooten is called to Chicago by the city builders' parent organization, Swope concludes that his old friend is being offered the post of city manager he had assumed would be his. Thus is Swope motivated to hire wounded Vietnam vet John Truax as a "confidential security consultant" assigned to monitor Earl's movements and to profit from the conflict precipitated by the relationship between Wooten's handsome son Joel and Truax's beautiful (and white) daughter Susan. Truax, also, will be manipulated by the novel's most interesting character, Swope's brilliant, headstrong son Teddy, who is, in spite of himself, both Joel's most devoted friend and his worst enemy. The ironies multiply as this solidly researched and deftly handled story plunges toward its dark conclusion: a "resolution" that echoes—convincingly—both Shakespeare's Othello and Jim Thompson's cruelly twisted tales of harsh retribution. Perhaps, like Newton itself, a tad too carefully planned to be real. But Amidon's thriller will hold readers in its grip straight through to the powerful final page—and ought to make a crackerjack movie or miniseries too. Read full book review >
THRIST by Stephen Amidon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 1993

A second novel (though first to be published in the US) from expatriot American writer Amidon combines a story of alcoholism and the family with a suspenser involving business chicanery and Native Americans. Daniel North is a young American actor living in London, preparing to see his father for the first time in 13 years. But Cal dies of a heart attack on the flight to London, leaving Daniel curious about the mysterious business deal his father wanted to tell him about. He accompanies the body back to Phoenix, where he meets two strangers—his stepmother Lindy and his half-brother James. Cal, an alcoholic, had left Daniel and his mother (since dead) out of shame, and (so Daniel now learns) moved in with Lindy, another alcoholic; only when they were about to lose little James to a foster-home did both parents come to their senses, climb on the wagon, and head West, where Cal found work selling water rights. Daniel and Lindy reach a wary accommodation; he will stay in Phoenix for a time, though their desert subdivision is uninviting and neither Lindy nor Cal's boss, Richard Sweetman, can solve the mystery of Cal's latest deal. As Lindy, scared at suddenly being a single parent, goes on a terrifying, life- threatening bender, Daniel's sleuthing leads him to a nearby Indian reservation, where he learns that Cal had planned to divert water illegally from a government irrigation project in return for a large kickback from the Indians; left unexplained is why Cal would have flown off in the midst of such tricky negotiations. Soon after Daniel's discovery, the plot collapses in melodramatic confusion. The best writing here is about alcoholism; once Amidon's plotting becomes as effective as his taut style, he may write a novel of real power. Read full book review >