“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

David Thompson, RIP

I never met the man, and he refused (very sensibly) to publish my books on a number of occasions - so why has the death of David Thompson (right) come as such a shock? Possibly because he was a relatively young man, with so much enthusiasm for crime writing of all stripes; possibly because he had so much going on (Murder by the Book, the recent Busted Flush merger with Tyrus Books) right now; possibly because he had an unerring instinct for the underdog; and maybe it’s just that it’s possible to feel a real affinity with someone even when all of your communication is done via email.
  A couple of years ago, when I was even less well known than I am now, and was announcing to very little fanfare that I was travelling to the US to promote a new book I had coming out, David Thompson was the first to contact me and insist that I come to Houston, and Murder by the Book, to read and sign. In the end, I couldn’t make it to Houston; I only had a week to play with, and the ‘tour’ took in the East Coast instead; but the gesture was absolutely typical of David Thompson’s generosity and unflagging support for the new, the unchampioned and those most in need of a break.
  Really, it’s desperately sad. My thoughts are with David’s wife, family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

11 comments:

colin bateman said...

A big shock. I was only talking to him on facebook a couple of nights ago. He was singlehandedly trying to break my books in the US and had sold 150 of Mystery Man on import alone; we were talking about Busted Flush publishing it. But just such a nice guy, very enthusiastic and hugely supportive.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Dec,

You have given him a fine tribute and have also done many kind things yourself for the Little Guys. Would have like to have caught your East Coast tour. Did it get close to Boston?

Paul D. Brazill said...

Sad news. Seems like a very decent bloke.

Declan Burke said...

All very sad, chaps, very sad indeed ...

Sean - Didn't get to Boston that time, no. Did a road-trip with John McFetridge that went Toronto-New York-Philly-Baltimore ... An excellent, excellent time.

Cheers, Dec

Alan Griffiths said...

Sad news indeed and a lovely tribute by you Dec and there are many more around the blogosphere.

Stuart Neville said...

I met David at Bouchercon last year, then again a few days later at Murder by the Book when I did a reading with James Benn and Peter Lovesey. It was one of the biggest highlights of the tour. He, McKenna, and all the crew at MBTB gave us a lovely welcome and put on a great event. I'll back there in a few weeks, but the visit will be tinged with more than a little sadness this time.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Now that is a trip I would have liked to be a part of, as John McFetridge seems like a cool guy to hang with.

David said...

Declan:

Your tribute was lovely. I knew David pretty well, and what you said was spot-on. His enthusiasm, generosity, encouragement & support, intelligence, taste, good humor -- I just feel this gaping hole in my gut. We'd agreed to re-issue my first two books through BUSTED FLUSH and were fgoing to move forward next month. I'm not sure where that stands now, but I was just looking forward to working with him so much. He really championed the writers the big publishers so easily shove aside, and did so with such an engaging and happy spirit. (And visits to the store were always grand, because he knew all the most fabulous places to eat.) men like David don't come around very often, when they do it's a gift, and their loss, especially when so young, always feels like a cosmic betrayal. It's times like this I think the Greeks had it right: the gods exist, and they're indifferent at best, more likely meddlesome and, at times like this, vindictive.

David Corbett said...

Dec:

That last comment from "David" was from me. I didn't realize my Google account was so parsimonious with information. Thanks again for posting your comment.

David Corbett

Peter Rozovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Rozovsky said...

I just posted over at McKinty's place that when it came to hospitality and to enthusiasm for crime writing, David Thompson was a Dave Torrans but with hair. And he was a publisher, too, and an organizer of conventions. The man had many hats on his plate.