Posted on September 11, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 16 Comments
Nuts. Gregory McDonald, the author of the many and various “Fletch” novels, has died.
Not at all ashamed to say McDonald was a very large influence on me as an author, particularly in how he handled dialogue — he made his dialogue funny and punchy and an integral part of how his stories told themselves. You can definitely hear echoes of him in my stuff, particularly The Android’s Dream. I’ll miss him.
Yeah, I passed the word on to some folks when I saw it. I was quite sad.
Like a lot of other people, I read a couple of his books after I saw Fletch; a few years ago, I bought a half dozen of his books and read them. There was much giggling and enjoyment that month.
Nuts. I loved the Fletch books; as you noted, McDonald wrote fantastic dialogue. It’s always a pleasure to pick one up and just dip in for an afternoon. His other, non-Fletch books were quite good, too.
I came across _Confess, Fletch_ shortly after it came out and then went looking for every one of his books I could find thereafter. I reread the _Flynn_ novels earlier this year. Darn.
That’s a shame. Having read all of the Fletch and Flynn novels, I have to say that Mcdonald was nearly without equal when it came to dialogue and characterization. Anybody who has seen the Fletch movies owes it to themselves to track down the novels because, though the films were shallowly enjoyable, they had very little to do with the actual novels, which are quite simply superb. As it happens, Fletch is queued up in my pile of books to reread–it just now made its way to the top of the stack.
In 1980, Gregory McDonald was GOH at Bouchercon at the National Press Club in Washington. He and James Grady (author of Six Days of the Condor and former investigative reporter under Jack Anderson) had spent the weekend in a nonstop bull session about the wild stuff that happens if you’re a journalist. Then they did a panel on it and we got the distilled essence of the bull session.
One of the most amazing panels I’ve ever been to.
His books were cool too.
I adored the Fletch books and still hope to see them made into movies one day. Yes, I know about the Chevy Chase atrocities, but I want to see Fletch be cool, dammit. Who’s the modern-day equivalent of a young Redford?
The two “Timothy” books are similarly wonderful, worn and dog-eared.
Oh man. I love the Fletch books. I read Fletch’s Fortune first, then scoured used and new bookstores for anything else McDonald had written. Now *I* really liked Chevy as Fletch. I thought he brought the right amount of sarcasam and flippancy to the character.
I also loved the Flynn books. I loved the introduction of Flynn in Confess, Fletch. He was a great character, too.
I know what I’m re-reading this weekend….
I loved the movies, especially the first one, but haven’t read the books. Based on the comments above, I suspect I’ll be investing in some soon.
Confess, Fletch has some of the best dialogue ever. I have waited patiently, hoping for a new Flynn book, or perhaps a new dive into the world of Fletch’s son, but I guess it’s not to be.
One of my favorite authors, and one I return to often. I’ll take the first three Fletch books for long trips still.
Rest In Peace.
Torgeaux: There was a new Flynn book, um, I guess around four years ago now, _Flynn’s World_. Good stuff. (Of course.)
“Fletch” is an almost-perfect mystery and boasts one of the best first pages in pop lit. I would quote it, but Edward Champion would then call me an asshole.
His Fletch and Flynn novels are classics, but “Who Took Toby Rinaldi?” is also a hoot. He was a great writer who just plain had style. Time to start re-reading…..
I consumed all of his books, and I miss him already. The problem with him is the same with Scalzi. To wit, why can’t you guys write ’em as fast as we read ’em?
Holy hell, I didn’t know he was sick!
And he was 71… odd, even though I’ve been reading and loving his books since the mid-70s, I somehow thought of him as eternally youthful.
He wrote another excellent one-shot book besides “Who Took Toby Rinaldi.” It’s called “Love Among the Mashed Potatoes,” and is about a “Dear Abby” columnist who’s a guy. This one is hard to find, probably out of print.
Damn. Damn. I adored his writing style, the amazing milieus he came up with and the stories he set there. His writing isn’t, wasn’t, like anyone else’s.
I’m really bummed.
CaseyL@14: I *loved* “Mashed Potatoes” – I’d love to get my hands on a copy of it again for 2 reasons: 1. he had a phrase he used about his son(?) the cadet(? It’s been a loooong time) that I just can’t remem… Whoo! it just came to me! Military Marky, the curious cadet – that always jumped into my mind when I’d hear about military weirdness :) – and 2. The description on how to make shrunken heads – I *need* that.
I liked both the Fletch and Flynn books, too, though I never quite forgave McDonald for having Fletch take the clip out of a revolver to check the load. :(