Johnny Shaw was born and raised on the Calexico/Mexicali border, the setting for his debut novel, DOVE SEASON. Although he has been writing for over twenty years, it took that same amount of time for him to finally revisit and explore the people and places of the Imperial Valley, California and the Desert Southwest.
He returns to the area in his new novel BIG MARIA, a raucous adventure set in Blythe, California and Arizona's Chocolate Mountains.
Johnny also acts as the editor-in-chief and is a frequent contributor for the online fiction quarterly BLOOD & TACOS, a loving homage to the men's adventure paperbacks of the 1970's & 1980's.
Johnny received his MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA and over the course of his writing career has seen his screenplays optioned, sold and produced. As a playwright, his stage collaborations with actor Jaime Arze, NATURAL ACTS and A GOOD KIND OF CRAZY, have been performed throughout Los Angeles.
For the last ten years, Johnny has taught screenwriting. He has lectured at both Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara.
He is the owner of Johnny's Used Books, formerly a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Los Angeles, now entirely online.
Johnny lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, artist Roxanne Patruznick (the painter of the author's portrait shown).
Jimmy Veeder has finally settled down, completing his dramatic transformation from hell-raiser to family man. With his new wife, Angie, and eight-year-old son, Juan, he lives the quiet life. No trouble, no problems.
Or so he thought. But this is Jimmy Veeder’s Fiasco, after all.
The night after his wedding, Jimmy is lured right back into a world of danger and mayhem when childhood friend Tomás Morales, the current crime lord of Mexicali, turns up on his doorstep offering information about the whereabouts of his son’s grandfather, for whom Jimmy has been searching for years.
Jimmy and Angie head to Mexico—one part honeymoon, one part expedition to find Juan’s grandfather—accompanied by old pals Bobby Maves and Griselda.
The trip immediately careens into chaos when they find themselves shadowed by thugs, shot at by cartel soldiers, and forced into a confrontation with a violent, volatile drug lord. The fight spreads from Sinaloa back to Jimmy’s doorstep, putting everything Jimmy cares about directly in the crosshairs.
Andy Destra is a mostly honest cop in the most notoriously corrupt and crime-ridden city in America: Auction City. After discovering explosive information that reveals corruption within the highest levels of the police department, Andy is kicked off the force, framed, and disgraced, left to wage a lonely one-man crusade against conspiracies he can’t prove.
Andy’s investigation plunges him into a blackly comic maelstrom of one-armed gang members, slick pickpockets, criminal syndicates, hired mercenaries, escaped convicts, sewer dwellers, and one sinister ice cream truck. At the same time, he must contend with a mystery closer to home: the true identity of his parents, his most unshakeable obsession. Understanding their past may be the key to Auction City’s future as it teeters on the brink of chaos.
If Andy can’t solve this case, the Floodgate will fail…and his city will burn.
The raucous second book in the Jimmy Veeder Fiasco series returns to the Calexico/Mexicali border two years after the events of Dove Season, reuniting Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves—not exactly the luckiest guys in the Imperial Valley, but, hey, they win more fights than they lose.
Settled on his own farmland and living like a true family man after years of irresponsible fun, Jimmy’s got a straight life cut out for him. But he’s knocking years off that life thanks to fun-yet-dangerous Bobby’s booze-addled antics—especially now that Bobby is single, volatile as ever, and bored as hell.
When Bobby’s teenage daughter goes missing, he and Jimmy take off on a misadventure that starts out as merely unfortunate and escalates to downright calamitous. Bobby won’t hesitate to kick a hornets’ nest to get the girl to safety, but when the rescue mission goes riotously sideways, the duo’s grit—and loyalty to each other—is put to the test.
There’s gold in them thar hills—or more precisely, in Arizona’s Chocolate Mountains, where one hundred years ago a miner stashed a king’s ransom of the stuff. But times have changed. The world has changed. And now the Chocolate Mountains are the home of the largest military artillery range in the world.
Harry’s living on disability and getting liquored up and beaten down. Frank’s a feisty old-timer battling cancer and a domineering daughter. And Ricky’s a good kid in a bad spot, doing everything for family. Together they’re staking what little they have left on a dangerous quest to the Big Maria Mine—and the gold that can offer them a new beginning.
Unfortunately a meth-dealing biker wants a piece, a trigger-happy AWOL soldier wants to play chicken in a live minefield, two stubborn burros want to go home, a starving mountain lion wants his dinner, and the US Army wants to rain on our heroes’ parade with real bombs.
When you’re all out of crazy ideas, you’ve got to try the stupid ones.
Imagine Chuck Palahniuk and Don Winslow’s love child – and that would be ribald author Johnny Shaw. His novel Big Maria is a unfiltered, wild romp in which three men get one chance to find a lost gold mine; the only problem is the Big Maria Mine is right in the middle of a US Army artillery range. Click here to read an excerpt.
Twelve years have passed since Jimmy Veeder set foot in the Imperial Valley of southern California. The only person that could bring him back is his father, Jack, who is dying of cancer. Jimmy is prepared to spend Jack’s final days joking and reminiscing, but the old man has other plans. He needs Jimmy to cross the border into Mexico and find a prostitute named Yolanda. It’s a strange final request to be sure, but Jimmy’s not one to argue with a dying man. With his childhood buddy Bobby Maves in tow, he heads south, looking for Yolanda among the seedy bars and neighborhoods along the Calexico/Mexicali border. Their search leads them to Tomás Morales, a rising star in the Mexican underworld. While dangerous to most, his childhood friendship with Jimmy brings out his loyalty and spurs him to help. But just when Jimmy thinks his quest has ended, an unexpected murder sucks him further into the violence and danger of Mexicali. In his fight for survival and search for truth, what he uncovers calls into question everything he thought he knew about his father—and will determine just what kind of man he himself truly is.