Dishing on Disher

Disher and Lee2 I'm sure glad I recuperated in time to meet author Garry Disher today.  I arranged to pick him up at his hotel and take him on a quick visit to Santa Monica before his 6 p.m. signing at the Mystery Bookstore. 

When I met him at the hotel, he handed me a copy of his new book BLOOD MOON and said "I dedicated this to you." I smiled and opened the book, assuming that he meant that he'd signed it for me. And he had, right there on the title page:  


This one is for you, with thanks and admiration. 

Garry Disher

I thought that was a very nice thing to say.  And then I turned the page and was stunned to see this:

For Lee Goldberg

Holy Crap! He actually did dedicate the book to me. I hadn't done anything to deserve such an honor. I honestly didn't know what to say, so I mumbled a thank you and then rambled on about something stupid for the next five minutes as we drove towards the beach. And then I thanked him again, properly this time, by letting him know how surprised and honored I was. 

I'm still not sure why he did such a wonderful thing for me, but I am very, very flattered.  It's the second time a book has been dedicated to me –Max Allan Collins floored me a couple of years ago by dedicating a CSI novel to me. That's two more dedications than I deserved.

We had a very nice conversation over the next two hours. I learned about his writing life and methods, his family, and some of his signing mis-adventures. I also learned something about the Australian book business  – did you know authors get additional payments from book sales to libraries to take into account the books that aren't sold as a result of loaning? And there's good news for Disher fans: there's finally a new "Wyatt" novel coming in 2010. I enjoy his Inspector Hal Challis books very much, but I love Wyatt, sort of the Aussie equivalent of Donald Westlake's Parker. There's even a western version of Wyatt in one of Disher's short story collections (which gave me the inspiration to do a western version of Monk, which you will see in December). 

His signing at the Mystery Bookstore went well. He was followed by Laura Lippman, who came along with her husband David Simon, creator of THE WIRE. So I finally got to meet David, who I've admired for years. It turns out that he's a fan of SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING, the screenwriting book that Bill Rabkin & I wrote. I told David how much I love the "f-word" scene from season one and use it often when I teach and he shared some anecdotes about how the scene came about.

Garry will be speaking & signing with Laura at M is For Mystery in San Mateo on May 16.  

If you're in the Bay Area, you should go see them. He's also speaking at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley that same day.

After his Westwood signing, I took him to dinner at Jerry's Deli next door and did the fanboy thing of having him sign all the books of his that I've collected over the years.  

It was a great day and I hope I can make it down to Australia some time to see Garry on his home turf.

By the way, Garry will also be speaking & signing at the Velma Teague Library in Glendale AZ on May 19, the Poisoned Pen in Scotsdale on May 20, at Murder By The Book on Houston on May 21, and at the B&N in Reston VA on May 22. He'll also be signing with Cara Black at Mystery Lovers Bookshop on May 23 and at the Scituate Massachusetts Town Library on Tuesday, May 26. Those are just a few of the events on his national book tour…I can't seem to find the rest in one spot on the web, so check out your local independent, mystery bookstore to see if he will be coming to your area this month.

3 thoughts on “Dishing on Disher”

  1. “……There’s even a western version of Wyatt in one of Disher’s short story collections (which gave me the inspiration to do a western version of Monk, which you will see in December).”
    Bring him here to ‘Old Tucson’, the western town/set could use the business. Hasn’t been a western filmed here in quite a long time. OK – I know its your book and not TV but still 🙂

  2. Not to seize on a single detail in a post that’s basically about having a great day and having a book dedicated to you, but I gotta ask: how did the “f-word” scene come about? My theory has always been that they had written it with the typical CSI-type dialogue, it was dead on the page (“What if the bullet came from over here? Or over HERE!”), no one could come up with a way to make it better, and then someone just replaced every line of dialogue. I’ve always thought one of the best things about the show is the way they get around most of the obligatory crime-show scenes.
    And congratulations on having a book dedicated to you!

  3. The way David Simon explained it, the notion was to show how adept these guys are at reading a crime scene and how smoothly and professionally these guys work together…so well, that they don’t even have to speak to one another to come to a shared understanding. The idea was always just to use the f-word, but then the actors really got into it on set, adding more f-words than there were in the script…and then the producers really got into in in post, adding even more of’em. The result was a classic scene that lays out a ton of exposition without an exposition at all…and also brilliantly reveals character at the same time.


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