It's been a truly horrible week so far. Yesterday a friend miscarried, then my parents called to let me know that one of their old friends had passed. And this morning, I woke to even more tragic news: David Thompson from the wonderful Houston bookstore Murder by the Book and publisher of the recently acquired Busted Flush Press, passed away suddenly yesterday.
The emotions we go through when we hear about senseless death are overwhelming. Pain, sadness, fear. Unworthiness, relief. Voyeurism. But mostly, just an overwhelming feeling of loss, of dislocation. I know that right now, my heart hurts.
As a wife, I can't help but feel such pain for McKenna Jordan, the love of David's life and the owner of Murder by the Book. I had the great honor of signing at the store back in January of 2009. It's a great place, so homey, exactly what you want from a bookstore. After, we hit the bar next door for beers, sat outside in the cool evening air and shot the breeze. It was a great night.
Now that David is gone, there will always be a mark in time for all crime fiction writers - when we signed before, and when we signed after. I know I've spent the day reminiscing - chatting with David at the Crimespree booth in Indianapolis, catching up at BEA, how kind he was when the hurricane came through Houston and we needed to reschedule my signing.
We've all lost a great friend, a lover of books with an insatiable sense of humor. My first reaction this morning was of shock, of course, but then, tears, then that creepy weirdness that always surrounds a friend's passing - last night I was deleting Direct Messages in my Twitter acount. I came across a series of messages that David and I shared a few months back. I reread them, laughed again, and for some odd reason which I will never be able to explain, didn't delete them. Maybe it was the sense of inclusion that I got from having a DM from David Thompson. Maybe it was that they made me laugh, and I wanted to keep them around so I could revisit them and enjoy the conversation over and over. Or maybe, the universe was letting me know that we'd lost him.
McKenna asked that no tributes be sent to the store. But as Sarah Weinman suggested, the best tribute is purchasing a book from them today.
Here's their website. Help us honor David's memory.
Alafair Burke has set up a memorial fund for donations: Make checks for deposit to "In Memory of David Thompson," 7 E 14th St #1206, NY NY 10003-3121. Or buy as many Busted Flush Press books as you can, from your bookstore, or order from Murder by the Books, the store David managed and which his wife, McKenna Jordan, owns.
(Thanks, Sara in Vermont for letting me steal your PS)