Tuesday 14 September 2010

R I P David Thompson

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.


  1. Donna - A beautiful post! Thanks for expressing so well how important David was to the mystery community. We will, indeed miss him.

  2. Donna, thank you for saying it so well, and with such heart. I can hardly stand to think of David being gone, and so very many people will miss his passionate love of mystery people and mystery books. He was such an inspiration, in so many ways, to so many. Yes, his smile was so wonderful. Many sad hearts today, with David leaving us. You were friends, I know. A huge light is gone from this world. Again, thanks for your words. The mystery community is united today, in true grief.

  3. My reaction to David’s death is shock, sadness… and anger. I am sick and tired of having the simple heroes that I rely on for inspiration taken so early and so unfairly. I didn’t know David well, unfortunately, but I liked him immediately, and immensely. He had all the qualities I most admire in a professional colleague, and was such a friendly, easy-going guy in the bargain. And he was a true hero to many of us ink-stained wretches trying to maintain a foothold in the merciless publishing environment, making sure that many of the best––if absurdly neglected––writers working today stayed in print. That’s what made him a true David, like the one of legend––a simple guy with an indomitable spirit who fought the good fight against the callous Goliaths and kept us all inspired. My heart goes out to McKenna, and all of David’s family and friends. People always say “He’ll be missed,” but I can’t think of any other time when those words have been more true.

  4. Margot - he was very much loved by the mystery community.

    Patti - very

    Bobbi - I love you.

    Eddie - beautiful words. Thank you. And much love to you and Kathleen.

  5. I was only in Texas for a few short months back in 2001, but he had made a big impression to me when I was there. I didn't realize how much until I learned of his passing.

    Thanks for the tribute Donna.

    Angel L. Soto

  6. Donna, he was one of the best. To work as hard as he did in as many areas as he did, he should have been a hyperactive, chain-smoking, coffee-chugging wreck.

    And yet he was, as you say, the nicest fellow anyone could hope to meet.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  7. Angel and Peter - so very true