T. R. Pearson

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Thomas Reid Pearson (born 1956) is an American writer. Pearson also writes crime fiction under the pen name Rick Gavin.


Pearson was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was a student at North Carolina State University, where he gained a B.A. and M.A. in English. He went on to teach at Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina. He started work on a Ph.D. in Pennsylvania but soon returned to North Carolina, where he worked as a carpenter and a housepainter while he began writing his first two novels, A Short History of a Small Place and Off for the Sweet Hereafter. Neither was published until 1985, when he moved to New York City, where both books were issued by Linden Press.

His novels are set in the South, in the imaginary small town of Neely, near Winston–Salem, or, in his recent novels, in the Appalachian areas of Virginia, where he now lives. His writing captures a uniquely Southern social order, outlook, and voice and has been compared to the work of Mark Twain and William Faulkner.

A Short History of a Small Place, Off for the Sweet Hereafter, The Last of How It Was, Cry Me a River, Polar and Blue Ridge were New York Times Notable Books.

Pearson also collaborated with John Grisham on early drafts of the screenplays for The Rainmaker (1997) and Runaway Jury (1998), films based on two of Grisham's novels.[1]

His most recent novels, written under the pen name Rick Gavin, are set in the Mississippi Delta.

Pearson lives in North Carolina.



  • A Short History of a Small Place (Linden Press, 1985)
  • Off for the Sweet Hereafter (Linden Press, 1986)
  • The Last of How It Was (Linden Press, 1987)
  • Call and Response (Linden Press, 1989)
  • Gospel Hour (William Morrow, 1991)
  • Cry Me a River (Henry Holt, 1993)
  • Blue Ridge (Viking, 2000)
  • Polar (Viking, 2002)
  • True Cross (Viking, 2003)
  • Glad News of the Natural World (Simon & Schuster, 2005)
  • Red Scare: A Novel of Venomous Intrigue (Barking Mad Press, 2008)
  • Jerusalem Gap (Barking Mad Press, 2010)
  • Warwolf (A Ray Tatum Mystery) (Barking Mad Press, 2011)
  • East Jesus South (Barking Mad Press, 2014)


  • Seaworthy: Adrift with William Willis in the Golden Age of Rafting (Crown, 2006) — Biography of adventurer William Willis.[2]
  • Year of Our Lord: Faith, Hope and Harmony in the Mississippi Delta (Mockingbird Publishing (October 1, 2010) — Text by Pearson, photographs by Langdon Clay
  • Augie's Quest (Bloomsbury USA, 2011) with Augie Nieto
  • Top of the Rock (Random House, 2012) with Warren Littlefield

Rick Gavin Novels[edit]

  • Ranchero (Minotaur Books, 2011)
  • Beluga (Minotaur Books, 2012)
  • Nowhere Nice (Minotaur Books, 2013)[3]

As Editor[edit]

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon (HarperCollins, 2009)


  1. ^ "T.R. Pearson gives up screenwriting and returns to writing novels" The Oak Ridger Online. December 8, 2000. Retrieved December 26, 2006.
  2. ^ Book Information
  3. ^ [1]The New York Times Book Review Online. December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013.