David Morrell is the award-winning author of First Blood, the novel in which Rambo was created. He was born in 1943 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. In 1960, at the age of seventeen, he became a fan of the classic television series, Route 66, about two young men in a Corvette traveling the United States in search of America and themselves. The scripts by Stirling Silliphant so impressed Morrell that he decided to become a writer. In 1966, the work of another writer (Hemingway scholar Philip Young) prompted Morrell to move to the United States, where he studied with Young at Penn State and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American literature. There, he also met the distinguished fiction writer William Tenn (real name Philip Klass), who taught Morrell the basics of fiction writing. The result was First Blood, a novel about a returned Vietnam veteran suffering from post-trauma stress disorder who comes into conflict with a small-town police chief and fights his own version of the Vietnam War.
That “father” of all modern action novels was published in 1972 while Morrell was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa. He taught there from 1970 to 1986, simultaneously writing other novels, many of them national bestsellers, such as The Brotherhood of the Rose (the basis for a highly rated NBC miniseries starring Robert Mitchum). Eventually wearying of two professions, he gave up his tenure in order to write full time.
Shortly afterward, his fifteen-year-old son Matthew was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and died in 1987, a loss that haunts not only Morrell’s life but his work, as in his memoir about Matthew, Fireflies, and his novel Desperate (more…)
(The Sacramento Bee, Dec. 1, Allen Pierleoni)
Is it the start of December already? We’d best get on with rounding up some holiday- oriented books, which include mystery, humor, feel-good and romance:
“Dashing Through the Snow” by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, 240 pages): The mother-daughter (respectively) mystery writers set their fifth yuletide suspense novel in a small New Hampshire town. Two visiting sleuths must solve a puzzle involving a multimillion-dollar lottery ticket and a missing person.
“The Spy Who Came for Christmas” by David Morrell (Vanguard, 220 pages): The award- winning thriller novelist tells a Christmas Eve story about a wounded American spy in Santa Fe, N.M. who is trying to keep a very special baby safe from kidnapping by the Russian mob. He finds help from a distraught single mother and her 12-year-old son, who are themselves in a different kind of danger.
“Six Geese a-Slaying” by Donna Andrews (St. Martin’s, $22.95, 288 pages): The 10th title in the series involves amateur sleuth Meg Langslow’s search for a Santa killer (she’s hoping he won’t spoil the Christmas pageant).
“A Christmas Grace” by Anne Perry (Ballantine, 224 pages): The veteran novelist’s sixth Christmas-themed book is serious, but fast-moving. At a priest’s request, a niece travels to the remote Irish coast to comfort an ailing (more…)