Craig McDonald is a journalist and the author of the Hector Lassiter series, the Chris Lyon Series, the novel El Gavilan, and two collections of interviews with fiction writers, Art in the Blood (2006) and Rogue Males (2009). He also edited the anthology, Borderland Noir (2015).
Born in Columbus, Ohio, he grew up in Grove City, Ohio, a fictionalized version of which serves as the setting for his 2011 work of fiction, El Gavilan.
McDonald’s debut novel, Head Games (2007), was nominated for the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award and the Gumshoe Award in the U.S. for best first novel, as well as the 2011 Sélection du prix polar Saint-Maur en Poche in France.
Craig Mason McDonald|
Columbus, Ohio, United States
|Occupation||Novelist and Journalist|
|Genre||Crime fiction, historical literary fiction|
In 2006, Craig McDonald published a collection of interviews with crime and thriller writers, Art In the Blood, featuring Q&A-style conversations with genre novelists discussing the craft of writing. A sequel interview collection, Rogue Males, followed in 2009, from Bleak House Books. That collection was a finalist for a Macavity Award for nonfiction.
In 2007, McDonald published his debut novel, Head Games. The novel received American and European awards attention, including Edgar Award and Anthony Award nominations for Best First Novel by an American Author in 2008. Head Games features fictional novelist/screenwriter Hector Lassiter, a character McDonald introduced in a 2005 short story (The Last Interview) that was selected for an online Mississippi Review anthology of “High Pulp.” The novel launched a series of further books featuring the Lassiter character. The Lassiter novels have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Mongolian and Korean, among other languages. A graphic novel adaptation of Head Games scripted by McDonald was announced for release in fall, 2017 by First Second Books.
The voice and style of the Lassiter novels have drawn comparisons to James Crumley and James Ellroy, both of whom McDonald interviewed as a journalist and whom he has confirmed in interviews and essays as significant influences. McDonald's works have also been compared to those of James Carlos Blake and Jack Kerouac, among others.
In 2010, crime fiction critic and scholar Woody Haut described McDonald as "one of the few writers who can move comfortably within a post-Ellroy framework of crime fiction."
In her study, The Noir Thriller (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), in a chapter examining "Literary Noir in the Twenty-First Century," Lee Horsley identified McDonald as one of several "neo-noir" authors who embody "a recurrent motif of men in pursuit of a lost, treacherously illusive notion of masculinity …" 
Picking up a similar theme, Woody Haut, critiquing McDonald's second-published novel, Toros & Torsos, commented, "(McDonald) critiques the effect of masculine values on the culture, and examines the relationship between reality and fiction." Hector Lassiter, known to readers and critics as the man who writes what he lives and lives what he writes, eventually comes to use himself as a character in his own novels as the series unfolds.
|2008||Edgar Award for the best first novel||Head Games||Finalist|
|2008||Anthony Award for the best first novel||Head Games||Finalist|
|2008||Crimespree Award||Head Games||Finalist|
|2008||Gumshoe Award for the best first novel||Head Games||Finalist|
|2010||Macavity Award for best mystery nonfiction||Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations About the Writing Life||Finalist|