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

Brief description, role
Luis Rivera1Mexican 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 Rivera1The wife Luis thinks about while at sea.
Tara Johnson5Post-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 Welker6Kindly 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.
Anne8Tara's best friend in high school, who she recalls was kille din an automobile accident when they were seniors.
Devin8Tara's boyfriend in college, who she recalls was killed by armed robbers at a convenience store hold-up.
Joey Johnson10Tara's ten-year-old brother.
Lonnie Johnson10Tara's father. A lawyer who works in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ryan McKay21One of world's top young particle physicists, and an active Latter-day Saint. One of two main characters in novel.
Rusty Philips21A computer programmer who works at ModTech, collaborating with Ryan Philips. Killed by an assassin who mistakes him for Ryan.
Jocelyn23An young, single Latter-day Saint woman Ryan met while hiking north of Blackfoot. (Recollection only)
Mr. Sweet, the killer24Unnamed 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 Murphy28Denver police detective who investigated the murder of Rusty Philps and the attempted murder of Ryan McKay.
Detective Mullins28Denver police detective, partner of Detective Murphy.
Evans and Hopkins29Police officers who gave chase to the killer in Colorado. Mentioned but not seen in novel.
Marv Graf34Ryan McKay's mysterious boss, who lives in Washington, D.C. A gifted scientist.
Margerette Sweet ("Mamma")37The 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 Johnson43Tara's mom.
Stacy43A 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 Anderson43A 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 Smithson52Scientist from California who hits on Tara at the Dallas symposium.
Robert Kilpack53Secretary of the Navy. One of the chief conspirators.
Cindy Holcum54Scientist from Maryland. About to be called to speak at the Dallas symposium, before Ryan interrupts the meeting. Mentioned, not seen.
taxi driver69Driver 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 Dowding99Private investigator, head of his own firm in Phoenix. 48 years old. Long time friend of Tara's father. One of main supporting characters.
Steve116One of the employees at Dowding Investigations
Ryan's father130Ryan'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 Merchant134The 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 McKay140The 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.
Josh169One of the employees at Dowding Investigations. Murdered by the killer. (Perhaps mentioned by name on an earlier page.)
Jim Simons169Wil's senior investigator at Dowding Investigations
Art Bonny169Jim Simons' protégé (protege) and assistant at Dowding Investigations. Very interested in working with the FBI.
Ty Richards170Employee of Dowding Investigations. Acted as a decoy double of Ryan.
Jacqueline Hanks170Employee of Dowding Investigations. Acted as a decoy double of Tara.
Lieutenant Eddie Sitton172An officer with Naval Intelligence. Friend of Wil, who had saved his daughter's life once. Helps in the investigation.
Bishop Merrill175Tara's bishop when she's living in Pasadena, Texas at Norma's place.
Borrego Vialobos180An old man in Aqua Sublima, Mexico who helps Wil, Ryan and Tara.
Mr. Kilpack's personal secretary195Unnamed, described as a "pleasant Hispanic woman in her mid-thirties"
Señora Rivera208Owner of the barn where Wil and Borrego stashed the SADD machine.
Jim Harris215Congressman from Delaware. At a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. which Tara, Wil and Ryan attend.
Alice222personal secretary to the Vice President
Vice President Richard ___222Vice President of the United States. Last name never revealed. Plays a significant role.
Doctor Ellis249Brandon's pediatrician. A "family man in his fifties, kind and loving to all his patients." Mentioned only.
Sheriff Cope249Sheriff in the small Canadian town where Tara hides out. Mentioned only.
Joe Kashwatim249The Canadian town's previous dentist. Retired. Mentioned only.
Rick Silvey249Dentist 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).
Shauna251Dental assistant at Dr. Rick Silvey's practice.

Settings in Disoriented

1A fishing boat off the coast of Agua Sublima, Mexico
5An airplane en route from Phoenix to Dallas
11Desert area in the Superstition Wilderness area near Mesa, Arizona.
21Golden, 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.
41Dallas, Texas. Specifically, the Dallas Convention Center and the Harrelson Inn.
68Phoenix, 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.
100Tennessee: The killer's childhood home, at which he visits his hated mother's gravesite.
170Pasadena, Texas: Norma Welker's home, where Tara lives for a time when she has her baby.
184Aqua Sublima, Mexico: Small Mexican town where Wil finds a damaged sub-atomic disorientation device (SADD).
191Bethesda, Maryland: Office of Graf, leader of the conspiracy
195Washington, D.C.: The Pentagon; an expensive fundraising dinner.
243British 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.