Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Professor Passes Test as Author; UNF's Michael Wiley Gets Good Reviews for First Novel, the Last Striptease, a Mystery

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Professor Passes Test as Author; UNF's Michael Wiley Gets Good Reviews for First Novel, the Last Striptease, a Mystery

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHEL DAVIS

A new novel by Jacksonville resident and professor Michael Wiley has attracted early attention and praise from critics for his "fast-paced debut."

"Booze, blow, and bodies - three highly volatile ingredients that add up to one heck of a mystery! Wiley's first installment in the Private Eye Joe Kozmarski series is a definite winner and ushers in a potent new talent," according to Barnes & Noble online editors who featured the book under Mystery and Crime.

The Last Striptease won the Best First Private-Eye Novel Contest sponsored by the Private Eye Writers of America and St. Martin's Press.

Set in the author's hometown of Chicago, the novel centers on Kozmarski and his attempt to help clear a childhood friend of murdering his young Vietnamese-American girlfriend - a beauty who had an appetite for various vices, including stripping for the camera.

Wiley, a professor of British literature at the University of North Florida, went to Northwestern University for his undergraduate degree, then received his doctorate from New York University. He taught at DePaul University before arriving at UNF in 1998.

We spoke with Wiley, 45, over a Starbucks sparkling juice about his new novel, mystery and finding his muse on the First Coast.

Q: Have you always been a writer?

I've always considered myself a writer. I thought that it would be enjoyable as much as anything to just pick up the pen and try writing again. I hadn't done any fiction writing in a good number of years. I was enjoying reading a lot of mystery for escape. I thought I'd give this a try and The Last Striptease is what emerged.

Q: So where did you get the idea for The Last Striptease?

In Chicago, we lived on the eighth floor of a big high rise, and we had big windows facing east and big windows facing south. Outside the east window we faced across the parking lot of another building with an enormous window. . . . [with] a woman who day after day painted in her underwear. I was intrigued, I had no idea why she was doing this. …

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