Sunday, September 19, 2010

David is Gone

by Leann

This week the mystery world was stunned by the sudden death of David Thompson, the publicity manager for Murder by the Book in Houston. He was only 38 years old. Much of this has been written about by bigger names, and far more eloquently than I could ever achieve, but every day I see his face and hear his voice. For me, he was the heart and soul of Murder by the Book, the place where I first ventured 20 plus years ago to buy what I love best--a stack of mysteries.

I started out as a customer and was like a child visiting Disneyworld for the first time when I walked in to that place. And soon after I made my visits, it was David who greeted me, David who steered me, David who knew about every book that might appeal to me. Our relationship changed in 2004 when my first book was published and he called me to set up my very first signing. I was stunned and thrilled and his grace and kindness on the day I signed will stay in my heart forever. I was shunned at Bouchercon, a place where I thought I would be accepted as finally a bona fide author, but at the place where it mattered most, I was welcomed with open arms--at Murder by the Book. That was David's doing. That was David's work. To make every author know that they were the heart of that bookstore--even though I understood that he was the special one.

He asked me several times to write recommendations to Publisher's Weekly to make the store "Bookstore of the Year." They have been nominated multiple times. I hope that he is watching from above when Murder by the Book is finally rewarded. They deserve it and he, even though he is gone, will have helped made that happen.

To his young wife McKenna, I cannot imagine your pain. But my heart is with you and these tears I am shedding are unlike others. I know you will keep his spirit alive.

18 comments:

misterreereeder said...

Can't say I am familiar with who David is but I know the store. And to know the store must reflect on him as well as the others in the store. I mean who'da thought about a Mystery Book Store? Sounds great in a mystery fiction but in reality these are hard to come by.

Dru said...

I've never met David but I heard a lot of good things he's done for the mystery community. He will be missed.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks for reading. This post was important to me.

Anonymous said...

David was a wonderful man and so knowledgable. He also never met a stranger when a customer entered the store. He was welcoming and friendly and would always recommend winning books. I met so many new authors through his newletters and visits. He will be greatly missed.

Jan Crow

Hannah Dennison said...

Leann - I am still shocked and stunned at the news. As a brand new author, David made me feel as if my books were just as important as "big" author names. I will never ever forget his kindness, his terrific sense of humor - and the enthusiasm and passion he had books. He had an uncanny gift of knowing just what a reader would like - he introduced me to authors I'd never heard of - and he was right every time. Poor McKenna - my heart goes out to her.

Annette said...

I only met David once, my first visit to the store. It was obvious that MBTB was his pride and joy.
Thanks Leann for such a lovely tribute to a wonderful book lover.

CindyD said...

Murder by the Book has been on my list of places I want to go to in Houston for a long time. I'm sorry that if/when I get there (we visit family in Houston once or twice a year) I won't get to meet David.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks all. But David will be there, watching over all his authors and customers. I could never go there without feeling his spirit.

Wendy Lyn Watson said...

Just adding my voice to this chorus of sorrow. He was a really great guy, and I wish I'd had the chance to know him even better.

Misa said...

I also didn't know him well, but worked with him on a book signing at the store. He was a really special person. Thank you for reflecting on your memories of him, Leann.

Lover of Books said...

I am so sorry. I never knew him but I know how important publicity people are to book stores. They have difficult job and it seems like he loved doing it. Prayers to his young wife.

krista

SallieB said...

Leann, what a beautiful tribute. I went to your first book signing at Murder By the Book. David was beaming with Pride for you. I too miss him. If I wasn't hounding him with emails, I was talking to him on the telephone about books.

He thought of MBTB as family and if anyone came through the doors, they became family too.

I hope your health is better.
Hugs, Sallie

Debbie said...

A lovely tribute, Leann. I'm still in a state of shock over the news. David was such a special person and his recommendations were always spot on. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Vickie said...

My prayers are with David's family and friends.

Kay Finch said...

Thanks Leann for putting everything I'm feeling into words. David was the best and I'm going to be one of a zillion people who miss him terribly.

booklover said...

What a lovely tribute...this will mean so much to his wife.

Linda McDonald said...

Thank you for sharing a bit of David with those of us who did not know him. He sounds like he was a wonderful man who will be remembered fondly by many people.

Jenn McKinlay said...

That was just lovely, Leann. I never
had the good fortune to meet David, but I do believe his legend will live on as he so obviously touched every reader and writer who came into his shop. Blessings to his loved ones in this sad time.