Nebraska Authors

James McKimmey

AKA: James Earl McKimmey, Jr.

Born 1923-09-25 Holdrege, NE (USA)

Died 2011-01-19

McKimmey grew up mostly in Red Cloud, Nebraska and then graduated from Omaha Central High School. He attended the University of Nebraska briefly before being drafted in the Army in World War II. After the war ended, he studied at the American University at Biarritz, France, at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and the University of San Francisco. He settled in California. After selling his first short story in 1948, he related, "I cared to do nothing as an occupation except write fiction."

McKimmey wrote 17 novels and hundreds of short stories in what critics now consider the golden age of crime fiction in the 1950s and 1960s. He was much admired by fellow writers, and interest in his work has blossomed as critics have re-examined pulp fiction and crime novels of the period. Some of his work was optioned by Hollywood, but never filmed, so he remains a lesser known author of the period. Of special literary note is his correspondence, 1953-1964 with Philip K. Dick, now recognized as among the greatest of science fiction writers. The two writers were mutual admirers, and Dick shared with McKimmey his observations on writing, publishing, politics, and his own alienation and sanity. (See the article by Jason Starr, listed below)

Jason Starr, "Writing Is a Lonely Business: James McKimmey, Philip K. Dick, and the Lost Art of Author Correspondence," in Los Angeles Review of Books, November 3, 2014. (Accessed on-line)


Places Lived

Omaha, NE

Author Of

  • Fiction


Mysteries; Crime; Pulp Fiction; Noir; Novels; Short Stories


Blue Mascara Tears. 1965.
A Circle in the Water. 1965.
The Man with the Gloved Hand. 1972.
Hot Fire. 1968.
The Long Ride. 1961.

Many short stories and novellas

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James McKimmey

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)