My selected works

But I’ve got miles to go and conclusions to leap.

MAC'S BOOKS

DYLAN The Biography

The ultimate biography of the music icon. Bob Dylan is a music hero to generations. He’s also an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and an Oscar winner for “Things Have Changed.” His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago?

THE CANDLESTICKMAKER

The Tonkin Gulf circa 1968 where paranoia struck deep...

Aboard the spy ship U.S.S. Argosy in the war-tossed waters off the coast of Vietnam, three young American sailors form an unlikely bond. Each has fled an America they were raised to love but somehow no longer understand. When forced to choose whether to face combat or stay and fight the war in the streets, they sign up for a war that reflected the conflict that raged inside each of them. The one thing of which they were certain was that the only people in the world that they could depend on were each other.

PRIVILEGED SON: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L. A. Times Dynasty

A riveting best seller that chronicles how a second-rate newspaper rose to greatness over a century, helping to shape a sleepy Southern California pueblo into the second largest metropolis in America, only to become a casualty of greed and civil war within the family that owned the Los Angeles Times.

FIVE EASY DECADES: How Jack Nicholson Became the Biggest Movie Star in Modern Times

Digging up as many roles offstage as on—hardheaded businessman, softhearted friend, master of rude rejoinders, fanatical sports fan and poetic philosopher—McDougal makes Nicholson’s everyday life just as fascinating as his films, which also get considerable, thoughtful attention; in fact, McDougal’s research is so deep and detailed, his extensive chapter notes could make a fine book of their own. -- Publishers Weekly

THE LAST MOGUL: Lew Wasserman, MCA and the Hidden History of Hollywood

"I run all the studios," 38-year-old Lew Wasserman boasted in 1951 when turning down an offer to run MGM. Indeed, he did. As president of MCA, the most powerful talent agency of its time, Wasserman gained unprecedented artistic and financial clout for Hollywood's top stars, hastening the end of the studio system. Not that he did it out of the goodness of his heart. The canny, ruthless Wasserman was famous for inventing new ways to increase MCA's percentage, most notably by bundling clients into packages the agency produced for the burgeoning television market--a glaring conflict of interest that finally prompted a Justice Department investigation. Veteran movie journalist Dennis McDougal (author of Fatal Subtraction: The Inside Story of Buchwald v. Paramount) uses Wasserman's career as a case study in how the entertainment industry has changed over the course of the 20th century. He chronicles MCA's evolution from a band-booking business in wide-open Jazz Age Chicago (where persistent rumors about the company's Mob ties began) to a postwar movie and TV powerhouse to a Japanese-owned subsidiary in the 1990s. Seamlessly blending biography, business reporting, and juicy celebrity anecdotes, this is first-rate showbiz muckraking.
--Wendy Smith, Amazon.Com

HEMINGWAY'S SUITCASE

Dr. Lyle Fields is having a bad day.  A once-renowned Hemingway scholar desperate for recognition, he’s lost his wife, his reputation and teeters on losing his livelihood as a Stanford professor when a former star pupil waltzes through his office door. Clarissa Daugherty is more than a vision of loveliness. She has found the holy grail of his years of research: a long lost, possibly apocryphal suitcase containing the young Hemingway's unpublished first novel. One tiny problem: her sometimes boyfriend passed the suitcase on to a greedy Beverly Hills literary agent who promised to turn the novel into a movie … and now he’s gone missing.

BLOOD COLD: Fame, Sex & Murder in Hollywood (co-authored by Mary Murphy)

Former child actor, acclaimed star of In Cold Blood and iconic ‘70s TV detective in Baretta, Robert Blake met Bonny Lee Bakley at a party and slept with her the same night. A Hollywood parasite and con artist known for elaborate Internet sex scams and a shameless pursuit of money and fame, Bonny wanted to marry a star and by the late ‘90s, Blake was her target: a troubled has-been coasting on the fumes of past success. Six months after their quickie wedding, Bonny was shot to death in a parked car on a dark Hollywood side street, and the No. 1 suspect was Baretta.

ANGEL OF DARKNESS

The cult classic about Southern California serial murderer Randy Kraft, the mild-mannered computer whiz by day and lust killer at night, who holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most prolific murderers (approximately 67 victims) in modern U.S. history. (Warner Books)

YOSEMITE MURDERS

In Yosemite National Park, Cary Stayner commits murder after murder as law enforcement scrambles to decipher anything that will save hapless vacationers.

MOTHER'S DAY

The best-selling saga of a Sacramento mother of six who enticed two of her sons into a monstrous plot to torture and murder her own two daughters. (Ballantine)

FATAL SUBTRACTION: How Hollywood Really Does Business

Co-authored with famed Hollywood trial lawyer Pierce O'Donnell. It's the definitive inside look at Hollywood's landmark Art Buchwald v. Paramount trial the "Coming To America" lawsuit that unveiled Hollywood's sleazy accounting practices and changed forever the way studios conduct business. 

IN THE BEST OF FAMILIES: The Anatomy of a True Tragedy

Edgar-nominated In The Best of Families: The Anatomy of a True Tragedy (Warner Books) recounts the descent into murderous madness of the family of Roy Miller, Ronald Reagan's personal attorney. 

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