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Mel was born in a small town in Nebraska, but grew up in California. After a late-sixties stint in the Army Security Agency, he spent the next two decades in a number of jobs in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, and Oregon. Then six years in Japan. Returning the to U.S. in the mid-nineties, he and his wife, Jana, started a small property inspection business. After a few lucrative but boring years of that, he taught himself computer programming and web design, working in various capacities until 2007, when he decided to quit working and write.

His first novel, “The Shake,” was selected by Kirkus Reviews for their “Best of 2011” list. Here’s what Kirkus had to say: “…intriguing narrative blend of philosophy and crime fiction … contemplative but lean and stylish … succeeds on numerous levels … simultaneously thought-provoking and relentlessly entertaining. An utterly readable fusion of vampire fiction and labyrinthine whodunit powered by a highly intelligent narrative … Anne Rice meets Dashiell Hammett at a Zen Buddhist monastery.”

His next three books, “8 Remote Women,” “The Squiggly Stuff,” and “Hypnotism for Hummingbirds,” are a little harder to classify. Whereas “The Shake” was written in a conventional mystery style, his later books, though still loosely in the mystery genre, broke away from that, adopting a style Mel refers to as Untethered Realism. His novella, “The Case,” (included in the collection “8 Remote Women”) was described by British Sci-Fi author Steve Aylett as “…pattern-recognition On Overload…” And by Pulitzer Prize winning author Douglas Hofstadter as “…extravagant and highly unpredictable.”

 

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