"I grew up on a small farm near Winchester, Illinois, population 1700 and no longer counting. It’s the kind of place where you find yourself listening to night wind in the big old trees, then slipping outside onto the roof to look at the stars and imagine that every place worth being is someplace else.

Two dismal years at a small college near home ended with the beginning a long, happy marriage to my wife Gayle. Four years in the air force took us first to Texas, then Montana, Guam and North Dakota. Montana stuck. Our daughter Andrea was born in Kalispell, and we eventually landed for keeps in Missoula, where I finished an MFA at the University of Montana.

After managing a small movie theatre and trying, with awful results, to sell life insurance, I became an officer with the Missoula Police Department in 1980. I managed to keep my writing life safely underground until the morning another officer and I were taking prisoners from the jail to their court appearances. One of them saw my nametag and asked if I was “Bob Reid the writer.” The guy—I didn’t know him—had been arrested the night before for running down the street naked. So much for maintaining a secret life in a world where secrets are burned up and tossed away like cigarette ends. Life on the PD lasted for twenty-five years.

I’ve published poems, short fiction and non-fiction. My first novel, MAX HOLLY, came out in 1982. It was followed by a number of crime novels, including BIG SKY BLUES, CUPID, BENEDICTION, THE RED CORVETTE and WILD ANIMALS. These, plus another, THE DREAM BABY, were published by Editions Gallimard in France. My particular French connection developed out of the demolished attempt of a French journalist to interview James Crumley in Missoula. It was a delightful and bizarre experience, as were many, perhaps most things in those days involving Crumley, Missoula in general, and all the crowd of usual suspects."

— Robert Sims Reid, 2013

© 2013 Robert Sims Reid
All rights reserved.

Background photo: 90-0264, Stan Healy, Archives & Special
Collections,Mansfield Library, The University of Montana

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