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Martin J. Smith
For more than thirty years, journalist and author Martin J. Smith has traveled the American West, chasing offbeat stories that often are bizarre, always compelling, and at times profound. His journey through that oft-idealized and misunderstood landscape has made him a witness to some of the West’s most interesting places, people, and events, from his Valentine’s Day at Nevada’s Mustang Ranch brothel to the deathbed of a man who spent three decades building two 150-ton concrete dinosaurs in the desert; from the eviction of a fading rock star from his mansion to the guitar king’s improbable resurrection more than a decade later; from the final rampage of an unlikely Colorado martyr to his marathon stint watching the driver’s ed snuff films of the California Highway Patrol. He spent a lot of time in the only pet cemetery in idyllic Orange County, Calif.This collection of essays, often told with the wisdom and perspective of a writer looking back, chronicles in vivid detail the heroes, heels, and cultural spasms of an endlessly fascinating frontier. Smith hits the road with marginalized astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, and dives into the middle of a corporate and existential crisis at Sea World, where friendly mascot Shamu had just drowned its trainer. He tests open water swimming with a Southern California woman who eventually swam to Antarctica. He exposes the huckster behind the worldwide Whaling Wall fraud, tours L.A. with a tireless band of Japanese honeymooners, visits the factory where the world’s finest fake rocks are made, and retrieves balls for the seventysomething podiatrist who holds the world record for basketball freethrow shooting.
Acerca de Martin J. Smith
Martin J. Smith is a veteran journalist and magazine editor who has won more than fifty newspaper and magazine writing awards. His Anthony Award-nominated first novel, Time Release,” features memory expert Jim Christensen and examines the volatile issue of repressed memories against the backdrop of a sensational product-tampering case. In Shadow Image,” a sequel inspired both by the plight of former President Ronald Reagan and the JonBenet Ramsey murder case in Colorado, Christensen is drawn into the labyrinth of Alzheimer’s disease and a complex web of lies created by one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest and most powerful political families. Straw Men,” the third book in Smith’s Memory Series” and a finalist for both the 2002 Edgar Award and the 2002 Barry Award, begins when DNA evidence frees an unpredictable and disfigured young man known as the Scarecrow eight years after he was convicted of a vicious sexual attack. The new evidence forces the woman whose testimony put him behind bars to confront memories that are violent, vivid—and apparently wrong. Smith also is the co-author, with Patrick J. Kiger, of Oops: 20 Life Lessons From the Fiascoes That Shaped America,” which Publishers Weekly called as informative as it is entertaining,” and Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore That Shaped Modern America,” about which PW concluded: All history should be this much fun.” A former senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Smith currently is editor-in-chief of Orange Coast, the market-leading monthly magazine of Orange County, Calif. Bloomsbury released his latest book, The Wild Duck Chase,” about the Federal Duck Stamp Contest and the strange and wonderful world of competitive duck painting, in September 2012.
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