Monday, October 22, 2018

Kakonis Ends His Roll

Staring the work week off with an obituary is never pleasant, but it’s necessary today. As author-publisher Lee Goldberg reports:
I’ve just learned the sad news that author Tom Kakonis has passed away. I first met Tom at the 1994 Bouchercon in Seattle. I was a big fan of his work and was delighted when he invited me to sit and chat with him … and I was thrilled when he later blurbed my book My Gun Has Bullets. It meant a lot to me that a writer I admired as much as Tom would endorse my work.

Two decades later, when author Joel Goldman and I launched Brash Books, I called Tom about publishing his out-of-print backlist. Not only did he say yes, but he surprised me by offering us an unpublished manuscript that had been sitting in his drawer for years. His dark-comic thriller
Treasure Coast was the first original novel that we released, so as long as Brash Books is in business, he will be an integral part of who we are as publishers, what we stand for, and what we aspire to achieve.

Tom was a great writer who didn’t get the recognition or wide readership that he deserved. I wish I’d been able to change that. Do yourself a favor and read
Michigan Roll, his first and most acclaimed novel. I guarantee you’ll be hooked by this man’s talent and humor. He was a hell of a storyteller.
There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of biographical information on the Web about Thomas E. Kakonis (who also published as “Adam Barrow”), but this is his Amazon background blurb:
Tom Kakonis was born in California, squarely at the onset of the Depression, the offspring of a nomadic Greek immigrant and a South Dakota farm girl of Anglo-Saxon descent gone west on the single great adventure of her life. He has worked variously as a railroad section laborer, lifeguard, pool hall and beach idler, army officer, technical writer, and professor at several colleges in the Midwest. He published six crime novels before retiring for over a decade, then resumed fiction writing with the novel Treasure Coast. Currently he makes his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
An interview with Kakonis, published at the time Treasure Coast originally saw print, can be found here. And a “Behind the Story” piece on that novel is available here.

FOLLOW-UP: The Gumshoe Site notes that Kakonis, a retired college professor, died in Michigan on August 31.

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