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Home > Author > Chester D. Campbell
Chester D. Campbell

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Member Since: Sep, 2002

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  Chester D. Campbell

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Iíve always had a desire to be creative, but a chance encounter at the end of World War II channeled my talents into writing. While an aviation cadet at Randolph Field, San Antonio, TX, a fellow cadet who had been at Yale told me if he could start over he would take journalism. That somehow resonated with me, and after my discharge I studied journalism at the University of Tennessee.

Background Information

My writing career began at The Knoxville Journal, a morning daily where I landed a job as a reporter while a student at Tennessee. After an interruption for service as an Air Force intelligence officer in the Korean War, I moved back home to Nashville and was hired as a reporter for The Nashville Banner. I preferred feature articles to straight news and followed that flair to write nonfiction for national magazines like Coronet, The American Legion Magazine and The Rotarian.

In 1963 I launched Nashville Magazine, the city’s first slick-paper consumer monthly. I served as its editor until 1969, when I turned to a different form of writing—advertising. At the city’s largest ad agency, I wrote copy for such accounts as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Martha White Flour. I wrote commercials for TV’s Flatt and Scruggs Show.

Then I turned again to public relations, a field I had worked in before Nashville Magazine. Among my PR tasks was handling publicity for Nashville’s mayor. At another time I wrote speeches for the governor.

The last 18 of my "working" years only peripherally involved writing. I was executive vice president of a statewide trade association, where my duties included putting out a bimonthly magazine. But I always kept in the back of my mind that I would write fiction when I retired.

I married after returning from the Korean War and my wife and I raised two sons and two daughters. Like dad, all graduated from the University of Tennessee. My wife died of Parkinson’s Disease and I re-married in 1999. Sarah and I live in Madison, TN where, together, we claim six children, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Until Hurricane Ivan messed things up, each spring and fall we spent some time at Perdido Key, FL, the scene of the second book in the Greg McKenzie Mystery Series titled Designed to Kill. I now have five McKenzie books and two in the Sid Chance mystery series.

I am past Secretary of Mystery Writers of America Southeast Chapter, Past President of Sisters in Crime Middle Tennessee Chapter, and Mid-South Regional Director for Military Writers Society of America. I'm also a member of Tennessee Writers Alliance.. I belong to a critique group called the Quill and Dagger Writers Guild that meets twice a month in Madison.

Birth Place
Nashville, TN USA

During the Cold War, I devoured spy stories by Helen MacInnes, John le Carre, Graham Greene, Len Deighton, Robert Ludlum and others. After the fall of the Soviet Union, I was more influenced by suspense/thrillers from Tom Clancy, Jack Higgins, Nelson DeMille and John Grisham. The past few years I have gravitated more into the mystery field, reading authors like Robert B. Parker, Lawrence Block, James Patterson, Sue Grafton, James Lee Burke and Patricia Cornwell. I have tried to learn all I could from these writers while working to develop my own style and characters.

After retiring in 1989, I began writing novels more or less fulltime. The first several languished in the offices of agents. I took a Holy Land tour in late 1998. The following year I wrote a book based on an idea that came out of the trip. It was titled Secret of the Scroll. After querying some 30 agents, I sold the novel to Durban House Publishing Co. It was published in October 2002 as the first of the Greg McKenzie Mystery Series.

Additional Information

My debut novel, Secret of the Scroll (Oct. 2002), is a thriller immersed in the vagaries of Mideast politics. It features retired Air Force investigator Greg McKenzie. The Palestinian/Israeli madness invades Greg's home in Nashville when he brings back a "souvenir" Dead Sea Scroll that turns out to be a genuine ancient parchment worth millions. The second book in the Greg McKenzie series†is Designed to Kill (March 2004). Greg is called on investigate the reported suicide of a friend's son on Perdido Key, FL. The third in the series is Deadly Illusions (April 2005). In it, Greg and his wife, Jill, have opened a private investigation agency in Nashville. A client asks them to do a background check on her husband, then disappears. Things are complicated by the assassination of the Federal Reserve Board chairman at a Nashville hotel, a case that Greg gets caught up in. They find nothing is what it seemed to be at first. In the fourth book. The Marathon Murders (2008), the McKenzies investigate the ultimate cold case, a 90-year-old murder. Somebody is willing to kill again to keep what happened secret, and their client disappears as they seek missing papers from the old Marathon Motor Works. Book 5 (2010) is A Sporting Murder, which involves a group of Nashville Predators NHL hockey fans who don't think there's room for both pro hockey and basketball. Greg and Jill are hired to look into reports of shady doings in a group attempting to bring an NBA team to town. When an informer is murdered, things get dicey. I started a new series in 2009 featuring Nashville PI Sid Chance. The Surest Poison involves a search for the person responsible for a toxic chemical dump behind a small plant in the next county. Three murders complicate matters as Sid and his associate, Jaz LeMieux, pursue the case. The second book, The Good, The Bad and The Murderous (2011), have Sid and Jaz hired to prove a young man just out of prison for a murder committed at age twelve is not guilty of a new homicide. They encounter Medicare fraud, drug dealing, crooked cops, and a merciless hit man.

Favorite Links

Mystery Writer Chester D. Campbell
Home of the Greg McKenzie and Sid Chance Mystery Series. Read sample chapters, reviews, interviews, appearances and more, including promotion tips for authors.

Night Shadows Press
Night Shadows published the last two Greg McKenzie books and the new Sid Chance mysteries.

Mystery Writers of America Southeast Chapter
Home of MWA's Southeast Chapter, where I served as Secretary.

Sisters in Crime Middle Tennessee Chapter
The organization for SinC members in the Nashville area. I'm the Chapter's Immediate Past President.

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