Friday, January 30, 2009

John D. MacDonald

John D. MacDonald Biography

Schaffner Press: Upcoming Releases Archives: "BLOODSHOT RAINBOW: The Life and Work of John D. MacDonald
James Walling
Fall '09
Trade Paperback

The Bunyburst and Bill Crider ran a piece on this forthcoming biography. I'm extremely happy with the news.

By coincidence I took the John D. MacDonald Reader with me to chemo this afternoon. The Reader was the only paperback we published during my tenure as the editor of Mystery Scene. The occasion was the sudden and shocking death of John D.following heart surgery. Shocking because the the word from the hospital was that everything was fine. But then he got an infection and died.

The Reader consists of writers such as Don Westlake, Larry Block, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Harlan Ellison, Charles Willeford, Max Collins, Jon Breen and many others writing about how much John D. had influenced them. Dorothy MacDonald, John D.'s wife, wrote me a long letter about how much the Reader had meant to her. Dorothy was gravely ill as well and died soon after. (John was a supporter of the magazine--he always subscribed and twice he included one hundred dollar checks in addition to his subscription. And he insisted on subscribing even after the donations.)

Yesterday I was cleaning out a shelf I rarely look at and came across two copies of the Reader. I didn't get a chance to read it in any depth so I took it along with me this afternoon. I was moved reading what everybody said about him. The affection and respect they had for him was honest and emotional. A friend had died. A good friend.

I've been reading John D . most of the week. I always go back to him because every time I read him I learn something about my craft. I mean that literally. Even in the least of his novels you'll find a set-up or a fresh way of doing something familiar that makes you better. Just about everybody who praised him in the Reader made the same point.

I hope this biography is formidable and I hope it brings John the new readers and respect he deserves.

6 comments:

David Jack Bell said...

JDM deserves a real, comprehensive bio. RED HOT TYPEWRITER really disappointed me. I'd like to see someone really examine the man and his work.

Frank Loose said...

I'd like to see something on the order of what Tom Nolan did for Ross MacDonald. Reading that bio was like reading a thriller, each chapter ending on a note that made you want to start the next. And in the end, it gave an insightful look at the man and author.
--- Frank

Brendan DuBois said...

Ah, John D. MacDonald... I do hope this biography is a great piece of work, it's upsetting at how forgotten JDM is....

When I was starting out, I sort of stole my career idea from JDM: a detective series combined with thrillers... and my detective series, instead of having colors in the title, all have a reference to the seacoast.

And one of my prized possessions is a Bahia Mar marine baseball cap, picked up in Ft. Lauderdale nearly 20 years ago, and which I wear in my bookjacket photos for my first two novels...

David Cranmer said...

I'm Looking forward to the biography and I want to learn more about the rumor that there was a final McGee novel.

Frank Loose said...

While i would love to read a new McGee, i think what JDM did with Lonely Silver Rain is a fitting capper to the series. I remember reading an interview years ago with JDM's son who said there was no "lost" or newly discovered manuscript. --- Frank

cbranche said...

Lest we think JDM is sort of forgotten please click on this link to my JDM web site:

http://jdmhomepage.org/jdmhomepage.org/index.html.html

I, too, am looking forward to
the new bio...