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Michael Ritchey's
Additional Resources

These lists pertain to Michael Ritchey's science fiction/thriller novel
Disoriented (Cornerstone, 1999), and are provided as a resource for students and researchers.

Dramatis Personae

Name Page
Brief description, role
Luis Rivera 1 Mexican fisherman from the town of Agua Sublima featured in chapter 1, in which he has a fatal encounter with an ocean-going SADD machine.
Rosa Rivera 1 The wife Luis thinks about while at sea.
Tara Johnson 5 Post-graduate student in ecology at Arizona State University. One of two main characters. Studying ants. Lives in Tempe at the beginning of the novel.
Norma Welker 6 Kindly woman Tara meets on an airplane from Arizona to Dallas. Norma has a crafts shop in Scottsdale, Arizona and a home in Pasadena, Texas. She is one of the main secondary characters in the novel.
Anne 8 Tara's best friend in high school, who she recalls was kille din an automobile accident when they were seniors.
Devin 8 Tara's boyfriend in college, who she recalls was killed by armed robbers at a convenience store hold-up.
Joey Johnson 10 Tara's ten-year-old brother.
Lonnie Johnson 10 Tara's father. A lawyer who works in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ryan McKay 21 One of world's top young particle physicists, and an active Latter-day Saint. One of two main characters in novel.
Rusty Philips 21 A computer programmer who works at ModTech, collaborating with Ryan Philips. Killed by an assassin who mistakes him for Ryan.
Jocelyn 23 An young, single Latter-day Saint woman Ryan met while hiking north of Blackfoot. (Recollection only)
Mr. Sweet, the killer 24 Unnamed assassin, always referred to as "the killer", who is one of the main characters of the novel. Raised by a twisted drunk mother in Tennessee, he became a soldier in Vietnam, drifted into "special operations" for the U.S. government, and became a professional assassin after the war. First name unknown. Mother's last name was "Sweet".
Detective Murphy 28 Denver police detective who investigated the murder of Rusty Philps and the attempted murder of Ryan McKay.
Detective Mullins 28 Denver police detective, partner of Detective Murphy.
Evans and Hopkins 29 Police officers who gave chase to the killer in Colorado. Mentioned but not seen in novel.
Marv Graf 34 Ryan McKay's mysterious boss, who lives in Washington, D.C. A gifted scientist.
Margerette Sweet ("Mamma") 37 The killer's mother. Dead, but alive for a time in his psyche. He recalls her drunken cruelty and abuse while he grew up in Tennessee, which helped shape him into the murderer that he became as an adult.
Carol Johnson 43 Tara's mom.
Stacy 43 A biologist, Tara's colleague at ASU. Goes into labor before the big Dallas symposium she was scheduled to attend, so Tara plans to deliver her paper for her. Mentioned, never seen.
Gene Anderson 43 A biologist, Tara's colleague at ASU. Gets arrested for outstanding traffic tickets right before the big Dallas symposium she was scheduled to attend, so Tara plans to deliver his paper for him. Mentioned, never seen.
Hank Smithson 52 Scientist from California who hits on Tara at the Dallas symposium.
Robert Kilpack 53 Secretary of the Navy. One of the chief conspirators.
Cindy Holcum 54 Scientist from Maryland. About to be called to speak at the Dallas symposium, before Ryan interrupts the meeting. Mentioned, not seen.
taxi driver 69 Driver who takes Tara and Ryan from Phoenix airport to Tara's home. "covered in tattoos, must have weight close to three hundred pounds and looked like he ate physicists for breakfast"
Wil Dowding 99 Private investigator, head of his own firm in Phoenix. 48 years old. Long time friend of Tara's father. One of main supporting characters.
Steve 116 One of the employees at Dowding Investigations
Ryan's father 130 Ryan's father, who died in a car crash when Ryan was a boy (mentioned page 28), and appears as a character throughout chapter 8, in when Ryan meets him in Paradise.
The Merchant 134 The chief bad guy of the novel. Described as "Satan's Manager of Sales and Marketing" and called "a very evil and powerful individual."
Brandon Ryan McKay 140 The son of Tara and Ryan. First appears in the novel as an adult pre-mortal spirit. Later is born to Tara and has a significant role as a four-year-old at the end of the book.
Josh 169 One of the employees at Dowding Investigations. Murdered by the killer. (Perhaps mentioned by name on an earlier page.)
Jim Simons 169 Wil's senior investigator at Dowding Investigations
Art Bonny 169 Jim Simons' protégé (protege) and assistant at Dowding Investigations. Very interested in working with the FBI.
Ty Richards 170 Employee of Dowding Investigations. Acted as a decoy double of Ryan.
Jacqueline Hanks 170 Employee of Dowding Investigations. Acted as a decoy double of Tara.
Lieutenant Eddie Sitton 172 An officer with Naval Intelligence. Friend of Wil, who had saved his daughter's life once. Helps in the investigation.
Bishop Merrill 175 Tara's bishop when she's living in Pasadena, Texas at Norma's place.
Borrego Vialobos 180 An old man in Aqua Sublima, Mexico who helps Wil, Ryan and Tara.
Mr. Kilpack's personal secretary 195 Unnamed, described as a "pleasant Hispanic woman in her mid-thirties"
Señora Rivera 208 Owner of the barn where Wil and Borrego stashed the SADD machine.
Jim Harris 215 Congressman from Delaware. At a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. which Tara, Wil and Ryan attend.
Alice 222 personal secretary to the Vice President
Vice President Richard ___ 222 Vice President of the United States. Last name never revealed. Plays a significant role.
Doctor Ellis 249 Brandon's pediatrician. A "family man in his fifties, kind and loving to all his patients." Mentioned only.
Sheriff Cope 249 Sheriff in the small Canadian town where Tara hides out. Mentioned only.
Joe Kashwatim 249 The Canadian town's previous dentist. Retired. Mentioned only.
Rick Silvey 249 Dentist in the small town where Tara hides out. A young man of thirty, without a family. Generally amiable, but has a weakness for nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
Shauna 251 Dental assistant at Dr. Rick Silvey's practice.

Settings in Disoriented

1 A fishing boat off the coast of Agua Sublima, Mexico
5 An airplane en route from Phoenix to Dallas
11 Desert area in the Superstition Wilderness area near Mesa, Arizona.
21 Golden, Colorado (suburb of Denver), where Ryan McKay lives and works. Specific settings include Ryan's place of employement at Molecular Dynamics; the ModTech computer software company across the street; Ryan's apartment; a grocery store.
41 Dallas, Texas. Specifically, the Dallas Convention Center and the Harrelson Inn.
68 Phoenix, Arizona, and nearby places such as Tempe. Much of the novel takes place in Arizona, especially in Tara's home (at 1621 S. Cedar Street), in her family's cabin, in the offices of Wil, and in the aforementioned Superstition Wilderness area.
100 Tennessee: The killer's childhood home, at which he visits his hated mother's gravesite.
170 Pasadena, Texas: Norma Welker's home, where Tara lives for a time when she has her baby.
184 Aqua Sublima, Mexico: Small Mexican town where Wil finds a damaged sub-atomic disorientation device (SADD).
191 Bethesda, Maryland: Office of Graf, leader of the conspiracy
195 Washington, D.C.: The Pentagon; an expensive fundraising dinner.
243 British Columbia: Cabin and nearby small town in the Canadian Rockies where Tara and company hide out.

Historical Figures Mentioned in Disoriented

  • Jacob Waltzer: The "Lost Dutchman" who died mysteriously in the 1800s. Center of the legends surrounding Arizona's Superstition Mountain; pg. 73
  • Albert Einstein, pg. 137
  • Brigham Young, pg. 138
  • Jacques Cousteau, pg. 188
  • Adam and Eve, pg. 224

Web page created May 2000. Last modified 1 June 2000.