A.W. Hill is an American writer of speculative fiction and mystery. He grew up in the Midwest but began writing under the influence of Southern California and has been linked by novelist/essayist Alan Rifkin to the tradition of "California fabulist literature." Hill has published three literary thrillers featuring Los Angeles cult investigator Stephan Raszer (Stee-vun Ray-zer), a tracker of missing persons and an expert in emerging religions in the present age of apocalypse. Raszer's preoccupation, as well as his author's, is in "what draws otherwise rational people to believe in unbelievable things."
Hill currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Valerie, and son, Nathanael, and directs the graduate program in Music Composition for the Screen at Columbia College Chicago. He has two daughters, Olivia and Andrea, from a previous marriage. He is a former studio music executive, film music producer, and won a Grammy Award as producer of the Best Musical Album for Children in 2000. He received his BFA in Film from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he studied screenwriting with Martin Scorsese collaborator Mardik Martin.
In 2003, Hill met Dorris Halsey, then 77, who had been literary agent for, among others, Aldous Huxley, Henry Miller, Upton Sinclair, and Ben Hecht. In Halsey and her younger partner and protégé, Kimberley Cameron, Hill found champions for both his fiction and his screenwriting work. Halsey took on her "first new client in years" and introduced the writer to those in her circle, including Dr. Mani Lal Bhaumik, with whom Hill developed the memoir Code Name God, and Laura Huxley, with whom he briefly collaborated on a film adaptation of her late husband's novel, The Island. Halsey died in 2006, and Cameron now helms the Reece Halsey Agency.
The Stephan Raszer Investigations
Hill's first novel, Enoch's Portal, was loosely based on the exploits of the infamous Order of the Solar Temple, a Franco-Swiss "suicide cult" and spiritual Ponzi scheme that claimed the legacy of the Knights Templar and fifty-three lives. Initially published in hardcover in 2001, Enoch's Portal anticipated the pop cultural tsunami of The Da Vinci Code by finding grist for modern myth in the legend of The Priory of Sion. But where Dan Brown makes his revelations explicit, Hill's hero Raszer walks the mean streets of Los Angeles and Old Prague in a dense fog of deliberate, riddling, and for some critics, maddening obscurity. The book was optioned in manuscript by Paramount Pictures and assigned to cult director Alex Proyas, who developed two scripts before abandoning it to make "I,Robot.".
Five years later, Hill followed with the second installment of the Stephan Raszer series, The Last Days Of Madame Rey, a tarot reading in the form of a mystery novel, or a mystery novel in the form of a tarot reading, with acknowledged literary debts to writers from Jules Verne to H. Rider Haggard to Jorge Borges to Wilhelm Reich. The third and perhaps final installment in the series arrived in June 2009 with Nowhere-Land, a Sufi legend played out as a role-playing game in the imagined reality of a metastasizing Mideast war and the plot to broker a bitter peace through a revival of Hassan-i Sabbah's Cult of the Assassins. Nowhere-Land also introduces the character of the chimerical CIA agent Philby Greenstreet.
- Nowhere-Land (Counterpoint 2009) ISBN 1-58243-498-0
- The Last Days Of Madame Rey (Carroll & Graf 2006) ISBN 0-7867-1881-1
- Enoch's Portal (Champion Press 2002) ISBN 1-891400-59-2
- China Lake (2009)
- The Org (2009)
- Death and the Plumber (2004)
- The Swami and the Savant (2005)
- The Grotto (2004)
- The Conductor (2003)
- Little Red Book
- John R. Hall & Philip D. Schuyler, Apocalypse Observed
- John R. Hall & Philip D. Schuyler, The Mystical Apocalypse of the Solar Temple
- Los Angeles Weekly, May 2005, Exile In Godville: Profile of a Postmodern Heretic
- Daily Variety, June 2, 2001, "Proyas Enters Portal"
- Counterpoint Press (www.counterpointpress.com)
- Reece Halsey Literary Agency (Kimberly Cameron)