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  BIOGRAPHY

Dick’s first ten years in his home town of New Orleans, Louisiana have been and will remain shrouded in mystery. His first recorded activity occurred during his eleventh year, when, in the course of his sixth grade studies at Holy Name of Jesus grammar school, he entered and won a citywide essay contest sponsored by a local FM classical music radio station. The subject of the essay was Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, a symphonic poem about the wacky adventures of a 14th Century Ashton Kutcher. As a result of the win, a photo of Dick appeared in the New Orleans Times Picayune -- on the comic strip page, but IN the paper -- and he was presented with a Merry Pranks album.
 
It would be nice to suggest that this exposure to classical music, in particular to music about a picaresque rogue who traveled from town to town pranking the pompous and having one hell of a good time, informed Dick’s outlook on life. Perhaps it did, but the real significance of the event was his realization that if he put words on paper in a satisfying way, people gave him things, hopefully things of a longer lasting nature than an album of four 78 RPM records that was so heavy it slipped from his stubby little pre-teen fingers and broke on his way home from the radio station.

Regardless, like a compulsive gambler catching that first ace, or an alcoholic getting his initial whiff of a gin martini, Dick was hooked on writing. The compulsion carried him through grammar school, Jesuit High School (where he received a gold medal for short story) and Tulane University (where he also edited the off-campus humor magazine, The Urchin, and was awarded the Thilo Von Kurnitowski gold medal for excellence in editorial writing).

It got him his first fulltime job, penning little one- or two-line synopses of local television shows in the Louisiana-Mississippi-Florida editions of TV Guide. It got him to Chicago and Playboy, where he happily squandered much of his youth, but also managed to write for the magazine and to moonlight essays for The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Times and the Daily News.

Eventually his penchant for the pen took him to Southern California and a career as an independent journalist, with articles and reviews appearing in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, Playboy, TV Guide and Salon Internet Magazine. He spent several decades as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, most recently as a reviewer of crime fiction for which he received the Ellen Nehr Award for Excellence in Mystery Reviewing. He has served as a contributing editor and theater critic for Los Angeles magazine, receiving an Ovation Award from The Los Angeles Stage Alliance for body of work, the only critic so honored in the award’s twenty-six year history. Presently, he is a columnist for Mystery Scene Magazine and a contributor to both the Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly.

As a screenwriter, he has provided scripts for films starring such actors as David Niven, Roger Moore, Martin Sheen and Jodie Foster.

Shortly after selling his first crime story to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, he began his career as a novelist in 1985 with the publication of the mystery, SLEEPING DOG, which won the Nero Wolfe Award and was short-listed for the Edgar, Shamus and Anthony Awards. It also was a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year” and was selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers of America as one of the 100 Most Popular Mystery Novels of the Century.

He has published thirteen other crime novels, four of them co-authored with attorney Christopher Darden and three with the Today Show’s Al Roker. His current titles are the noir thriller
BLUES IN THE NIGHT and new trade paperback and eBook editions of his New Orleans crime novels, BLUE BAYOU and THE NEON SMILE.

A Los Angeles Times bestselling author, Dick has served as president of the Private Eye Writers of America and of the American Crime Writers League. He is also a member of Mystery Writers of America, P.E.N., National Book Critics Circle, International Association of Crime Writers, and the Writers Guild of America.

Dick lives in Southern California with his wife and son, enjoying the sun, sand, surf and occasional earthquake.

 

 
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