Coggins, Mark 1957-

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COGGINS, Mark 1957-


Born August 13, 1957, in Farmington, NM; son of John D., Jr. and Zoe Ann Coggins; married Linda Zhou. Education: Stanford University, B.A., 1979, M.S., 1988.


Office—P.O. Box 460714, San Francisco, CA 94146. E-mail—[email protected].




International Association of Crime Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (copresident).


The Immortal Game (suspense novel; part of "August Riordan" series), Poltroon Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.

Vulture Capital (suspense novel; part of "August Riordan" series), Poltroon Press (Berkeley, CA), 2002.

Work represented in anthologies, including The New Black Mask, Volume 4, edited by Richard Layman, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich (New York, NY), 1985. Contributor of short stories and articles to periodicals, including Ellery Queen Mystery, Distributed Object Computing, and View Camera.


Candy from Strangers (tentative title), his third novel in the "August Riordan" series.


Mark Coggins told CA: "I came to writing mysteries because of my admiration for the work of Raymond Chandler. I was introduced to Chandler in my first creative writing class at Stanford—a class that was taught by Tobias Wolff.

"Wolff was making the point that certain writers have a very unique style, and he was reading from various works to back up his assertion. One of the things he read was the first chapter from The Big Sleep. I didn't know anything about Chandler before that reading, but I very much liked what I heard.

"Later that week I went to the college bookstore and bought a copy of The High Window. I can't tell you now why I picked that instead of The Big Sleep, but I did. I devoured the book and quickly ran through the rest of Chandler and all of Dashiell Hammett, too.

"The next creative writing class I took was from Ron Hansen. In it, I wrote a short story in the hard-boiled tradition titled 'There's No Such Thing As Private Eyes.' I shopped the story around and a number of years later it was published in The New Black Mask, a revival of the famous pulp detective magazine that gave Chandler and Hammett their start. It was edited by Richard Layman (one of Hammett's biographers) and published in trade paperback format. As you might expect, I was very pleased that my first published story appeared in the same magazine that first published Chandler and Hammett.

"The private eye in my short story—August Riordan—is the same character in my first novel, The Immortal Game. In fact, The Immortal Game started out as a follow-on story for The New Black Mask, but the magazine folded before the story was published. Obviously I expanded and revised the story considerably in the process of converting it to the novel form, but the link with the short story is still there. In the first chapter of The Immortal Game, Riordan and his client discuss an event that happened in the original story."