Nonfiction and Fiction by John DeMers

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This is the official cookbook of the Delicious Mischief radio show, telling the quirky story and sharing the best recipes from a quarter-century of broadcasts beginning in New Orleans and now heard weekly in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, complete with colorful anecdotes about John DeMers’ adventures traveling the world and cooking alongside celebrity chefs.


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In his fifth published novel, John DeMers takes on a geography quite different from the Far West Texas of his Chef Brett and Danny Morales mysteries. The starkly beautiful Greek island of Delfinos is ancestral home to the Laros restaurant dynasty of Houston. Yet when middle-aged Steve Laros travels to Delfinos for the first time, to help settle his father’s estate, he stumbles upon more danger, more confusion, more meaning and more love than he ever knew existed. Steve only wonders if he has the courage to reach for new life among the long-abandoned vineyards.

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Beginning in the West and Central Texas in the hardscrabble 1920s, a guy named M.L. Leddy started a story, created a process and launched a company for cowboys that ended up making fashion statements for heads of state, sports figures and entertainment celebrities around the world. Even more amazingly, the boots and saddles still made by M.L. Leddy are not produced by computers, robots or overseas sweat shops but by the hands of artisans right here in Texas. M.L. would have been proud. Written with company owners Wilson and Martha Franklin, with photography by Michael H. Marvins.

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Written with two co-authors who had relatives who flew aboard the B-24 bomber Miss Fortune during World War II, this nonfiction work tells the story of the doomed plane, which crashed into a snowy hillside in then-Czechoslovakia in February 1944. It also tells the story of the horrific sorrows borne by family members back home who lived on, along with the respect and loyalty afforded the crew by people living around Dubec Hill. They kept the memory of ultimate sacrifice alive through four decades of a communist government ordering them to forget.



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What is it about Houston and Dallas, and why can’t we all just get along? Well, as this book points out by interviewing upwards of sixty leaders of the two Texas cities, we actually do get along. Each city, however, is not only wildly proud of being in Texas but even more so of its own particular (and quite unique) personality traits. If you love Dallas, Houston or both, you need to read this book to truly understand why.

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If you ever feel like you lead a busy life, all you need to do to feel like a total slacker is read the story of C. Jackson Grayson, known as “Jack” to all who know him and love him around the American Productivity and Quality Center in Houston. In nine decades, he’s been a farmer, a World War II naval officer in the South Pacific, an accountant, a newspaper reporter, an FBI agent, a business visionary, a pilot, a racehorse owner, a university dean (more than once) and an education rerformer. He even managed to serve in the Nixon administration without going to jail.

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Working in the kitchen alongside this legendary Texas-based father-son team of chefs, John DeMers has not only gathered the definitive Cordua recipes for their greatest hits like Nicaraguan churrasco and tres leches but a hundred other Latin-accented delights. In the process, he tells the unique story of one family’s life in America and that family’s tireless pursuit of culinary excellence, wherever it happens to carry them forward.

John DeMers drove 14,783 miles along the highways and byways of Texas, ate in 119 barbeque joints from plain to fancy, interviewed the owners and pitmasters, and put on 25 pounds in pursuit of the Lone Star State’s iconic food. The result is a great read with recipes, a love poem to all people, places and things with a twang. Paperback, $19.95.

With text and recipes carefully researched by John DeMers and luminous photographs by Julie Soefer, this is the one Texas chefs’ cookbook for you. From Robert del Grade and Bryan Caswell in the big city of Houston to Tom Rapp and Toshi Sakihara in the tiny town of Marfa, each page is a celebration of oversized Texas flavors. Hardcover $29.95.

Remember the face that launched a thousand ships? Well, here’s the yarn that launched a thousand culinary mysteries. Chef Brett Baldwin of Marfa is asked by his high-school flame (who happens to be a movie star) to help locate her missing brother. With the shadow of Mexican drug cartels (and of Brett’s own past) hanging over everything, this turns out to be no simple thing to ask. Hardcover $23.95.

While Marfa-born love interest Meridyth Morgan is away in her adopted home of Hollywood, Chef Brett gets talked into helping his high-school football coach and his wife locate their college-age daughter. The trail leads south to a mysterious archaeological dig in Mexico, where one sexy professor has designs that even a savvy guy like Brett can’t begin to figure out. Hardcover $23.95.

When Chef Brett and his hulking native American sidekick Jud Garcia are called to a brutal murder, that’s one thing. But when the victim turns out to be ponytailed, craggy-faced Texas music icon T.J. “Rattlesnake” Ramirez, that’s another thing entirely. Dragging Brett and Jud down to chili-crazed Terlingua – and into the earliest days of rock and roll, not to mention the McCarthy Era – makes for a lot more heat than just another steaming “bowl of red.” Debuting as an ebook.

Danny Morales is a new kind of hero – a former Texas newspaper photographer on the run from a very dangerous portion of the Mob, the same people who had a lot to do with JFK’s assassination in Dallas in 1963 and the HemisFair that gave the world modern San Antonio in 1968. When these forces of the past find Danny in the Big Bend region, they prove none too ready to forgive or forget. Paperback, $14.95

More than a decade ago, when John DeMers moved to Texas, two of the first people he met (as guests on his radio show) were Case Fischer and Mark Wieser of Fredericksburg. He’s loved their flavor-crazed Fischer & Wieser specialty food products ever since. All these years later, those great tastes are the inspiration of this cookbook.  Hardcover, $24.95

After driving 14,783 miles in search of great Texas barbecue, John DeMers took off through the rolling peach orchards of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida to meet the men and women who give us “America’s Sweetest Season.” Colorful yarns, lovely photos and some terrific recipes join forces to make this, well, a peach of a book.

This book tells the story of a Texas couple, Elmer and Agnes Calvin – he being an A&M engineer who built Depression-era roads and bridges with WPA funding and later, in the 1950s, helped usher in the Age of the Interstate. In between, he worked on the Manhattan Project, giving terrifying reality to theories behind the atomic bomb. For their final three-plus decades, beginning in Egypt just in time for the Suez Crisis, the couple traveled the globe from hotspot to hotspot, using roads that bring people together to fight the Cold War.

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