When I arrived home from Berlin tonight, the first thing to greet me was a text telling me that my friend David Thompson of Busted Flush Press had died. I stared at my phone in disbelief and then started to cry.
I first met David and his wife McKenna at a Bouchercon, got to know them at subsequent Bouchercons and Left Coast Crimes, and was honoured to be invited to stay with them in Houston and subsequently to go to their wedding. David was loved by the whole mystery community - not just because he was such a great supporter of crime fiction, not just because he championed authors and books, not just because he always had a brilliant recommendation for something you were sure to love, not just because he had an infectious and boundless enthusiasm and energy for everything he did, but because he was genuinely one of the nicest people you could hope to meet.
As a publisher he cared about his authors and their books. He truly loved what he published and he went above and beyond the call of duty, but bemoaned the fact that he couldn't do more, he got as excited as I did about reviews, he came up with some excellent suggestions for edits for OLD DOGS and we shared a series of giddy and excited e-mails and tweets about the gorgeous cover he commissioned for the book. He was the same with everyone. My last e-mail from him, on the day he died, was about an author we both loved - Daniel Woodrell. He was thrilled to be publishing Woodrell, just as he was thrilled to publish everything Busted Flush came out with. He treated everyone as if they were special. He was passionate. And he cared.
As a person he was so lovely. My over-riding memory of him is with a huge smile on his face. I seldom saw him any other way. I was looking forward to seeing David at Bouchercon and spending time with him and McKenna in Houston afterwards. We had been discussing going out after my signing event and he mentioned a strip joint in Houston that used to have the same name as one in OLD DOGS. I told him we had to go in October. He said of course we would and added "I'm totally not a stripjoint kinda guy...I was like, 'oh my god, she's sweating near my beer.'" He made me laugh, on that and many occasions. He was kind, and caring, and funny.
David was a good friend to the mystery community, and a good friend to me. We will all miss him very much. My thoughts are with McKenna and everyone at MBTB, and all David's family and friends. We have lost a special person. I am so very sad tonight.