McMahon, Neil 1949(?)–

views updated

McMahon, Neil 1949(?)–

(Daniel Rhodes)


Born c. 1949, in Chicago, IL; married.


Home—Missoula, MT.


Writer and carpenter. Former amateur heavyweight boxer and Peace Corps worker. Stegner fellow at Stanford University, Stanford, CA.


(Illustrator, with Heidi Kirn) Lara Bergen, Presents for Everyone!, Simon Spotlight/Nick Jr. (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Adam Sutton) Say It out Loud: Journey of a Real Cowboy, Random House Australia (North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.

Lone Creek (novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.

Dead Silver (novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.


Next, after Lucifer (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Adversary (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Kiss of Death (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Kathleen Rhodes) Vampires: Emotional Predators Who Want to Suck the Life out of You, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 1998.

(Editor) New Topics in Environmental Research (nonfiction), Nova Science Publishers (New York, NY), 2006.


Twice Dying: A Novel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Blood Double: A Novel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

To the Bone, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Revolution No. 9: A Novel of Suspense, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.


For many years, Neil McMahon worked half the year as a carpenter and spent the other half focusing on writing. "I started working as a carpenter in 1973, thinking it would be a summer job," the author told John Marshall in an interview for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "But it turned out to be a convenient way to support myself while I learned to write. I've done each half time for 30 years and being a carpenter paid the bills until recently."

McMahon's wrote his first book, Next, after Lucifer, under the pseudonym of Daniel Rhodes. The supernatural story, published in 1987, revolves around the ghost of a Templar knight whose evil spirit infects the American residents of a villa in Provence, France, and the local villagers as well. McMahon wrote four more books using the pseudonym Daniel Rhodes. In Adversary, published in 1988, the Templar knight's evil spirit returns to capture four people to sacrifice them in his desire for unholy power. In Kiss of Death, McMahon's third book using his pseudonym, "an ancient sacrifice reenacted in France by an American tourist results in a curse that follows him to California, with tragic consequences," stated Library Journal reviewer A.B.M. Amanita. McMahon wrote Vampires: Emotional Predators Who Want to Suck the Life out of You with Kathleen McMahon. This book studies real-life "emotional vampires" who manipulate others and drain them of emotional energy. McMahon also edited New Topics in Environmental Research under the pseudonym Daniel Rhodes. In this book, he discusses the endangered state of the environment and how people are destroying it. McMahon also reviews the most current developments in the environmental research field.

In 2000, writing under his own name, McMahon began his "Carroll Monks" series, which features a San Francisco, California-based, emergency room (ER) doctor who has a penchant for righting wrongs involving sick or dead patients. The author introduces Carroll in Twice Dying: A Novel. When Carroll's ex-girlfriend Alison Chapley tells him of a doctor who is releasing sociopaths from his institution early in order to show that his treatments are effective, Carroll begins to investigate the situation. He soon discovers that the patients released are being killed by a stalker and ritualistic murderer. Soon both Carroll and Alison are targeted by the stalker. "There are a lot of skeletons in the closets of this taut, spare debut," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Gary Niebuhr, in a review for Booklist, commented that "the action-packed novel … should please readers who enjoy the serial-killer-on-the-loose plot."

Blood Double: A Novel, the second book in McMahon's "Carroll Monks" series, features Carroll investigating the case of a well-dressed gentleman dumped from a limousine into the parking lot of San Francisco's Mercy Hospital. Carroll is suspicious because the man is hovering near death from a heroin overdose but does not appear to be the drug-addict type. After the man, a billionaire computer wunderkind, begins to recover, a group of lawyers and doctors takes him away. Then a suspicious fire destroys all documentation of the man ever being at the hospital. Before long, Carroll is deeply involved in a case involving outlaw technology, corporate greed, and human experimentation. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "the novel is plenty of fun, with swift pacing, some tense scenes and a likably crusty protagonist."

In To the Bone, Carroll is confronted with a gorgeous young woman who is brought into his hospital. The former all-American beauty queen has a mysterious ailment that may be related to her downward spiral into a world of pornographic film. Although he nearly saves the woman's life, she slips into a coma and dies. The woman's grieving parents set out to ruin the Carroll's medical career as he tries to make sense of contraindicating symptoms. Carroll's investigation leads him to some of the seedier sides of San Francisco and to the question of whether or not a world-famous plastic surgeon may be responsible for the woman's death. In a review for Booklist, David Pitt noted that the book is part of "an excellent series propelled by solid plotting and an intelligent protagonist."

In the fourth book in the "Carroll Monks" series, Revolution No. 9: A Novel of Suspense, Carroll is abducted by a paramilitary group that includes his estranged son Glenn. Taken to a remote area in the Northern California wilderness, Carroll discovers that his son and others are under the hypnotic influence of Freeboot, a counterculture sociopath who believes that the revolution has begun. Carroll quickly discovers that he has been abducted so he can take care of Freeboot's deathly ill four-year-old boy. Despite mistrusting Freeboot, Carroll understands his point of view concerning workers' rights, miscast justice, corporate malfeasance, and the escalating differences between the haves and the have-nots. Nevertheless, Carroll tells Freeboot that the boy requires hospitalization, but Freeboot's mistrust of hospitals means that Carroll must attempt a daring escape with the young boy. Discussing the battle between Carroll and Freeboot, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted: "In McMahon's cool, expert hands, it becomes a duel both fascinating and frighteningly real." Pitt, writing in Booklist, commented that "this new novel shows that [Carroll] is a long way away from outstaying his welcome."

McMahon's next novel, Lone Creek, features a different protagonist and takes place in Montana, where the author lives. In this work, readers are introduced to Hugh Davoren, a former journalist who has returned to work on the Pettyjohn Ranch in his hometown of Helena, Montana, after having failed in his career and his marriage. One day Hugh finds two dead stallions and begins to investigate what happened to them. However, Hugh discovers that he is up against some powerful people as he finds himself arrested and put in jail. Later he is framed for another crime and attacked. With his only friend, Madbird, Hugh goes on the run and tries to figure out what is happening. Writing in Booklist, Keir Graff called Lone Creek "a thriller of deeply satisfying complexity." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the author "delivers his finest achievement to date with this beautifully written stand-alone."

Hugh is also featured in Dead Silver, which Genre Go Round Reviews Web site contributor Harriet Klausner called "a superb investigative thriller starring strong characters." This time Hugh receives a distraught telephone call from his old friend Renee Callister, whose father, a famous professor, has just died. She has found a box containing disturbing photographs of her stepmother, Astir, riding naked on a horse, along with one of Astir's earrings. Astir was murdered along with her lover years earlier, and Renee is the only person who truly believes that her father did not commit the crime. As an old friend of Hugh, Renee asks him to use his journalism skills to research her discoveries. Despite his belief that Renee's father did commit the murders, Hugh agrees to look into the matter and enlists the help of his friend and partner, Madbird. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted "the compelling prose, sense of place and sympathetic characters … make the book a joy to read."



Booklist, January 1, 2000, Gary Niebuhr, review of Twice Dying: A Novel, p. 884; May 1, 2002, review of Blood Double: A Novel, p. 1480; August, 2003, David Pitt, review of To the Bone, p. 1961; December 15, 2004, David Pitt, review of Revolution No. 9: A Novel of Suspense, p. 711; March 1, 2007, Keir Graff, review of Lone Creek, p. 68.

Bookpage, July, 2002, review of Blood Double, p. 10.

Drood Review of Mystery, September 1, 2000, review of Twice Dying, p. 18.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2000, review of Twice Dying, p. 141; May 1, 2002, review of Blood Double, p. 620; March 1, 2007, review of Lone Creek, p. 198; May 1, 2008, review of Dead Silver.

Library Journal, December, 1988, Jackie Cassada, review of Adversary, p. 139; May 15, 1990, A.M.B. Amanita, review of Kiss of Death, p. 96; January 1, 2005, Ronnie H. Terpening, review of Revolution No. 9, p. 98; March 1, 2007, Ken St. Andre, review of Lone Creek, p. 75.

Publishers Weekly, October 12, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Adversary, p. 52; June 1, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Kiss of Death, p. 47; February 7, 2000, review of Twice Dying, p. 66; July 1, 2002, review of Blood Double, p. 55; August 11, 2003, review of To the Bone, p. 255, and Alan Warren, "Monks' Dream," interview with author, p. 256; November 29, 2004, review of Revolution No. 9, p. 24; February 5, 2007, review of Lone Creek, p. 38; April 14, 2008, review of Dead Silver, p. 37.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 8, 2007, John Marshall, "Author Finally Crafts a Novel Set in His Adopted State," review of Lone Creek.


Genre Go Round Reviews, (May 17, 2008), Harriet Klausner, review of Dead Silver.

HarperCollins, (June 16, 2008), brief profile of author.

About this article

McMahon, Neil 1949(?)–

Updated About content Print Article