If you read crime fiction, you’ll be noticing a lot of books coming out that are dedicated to David Thompson. Having read Duane Swierczynski’s touching and heartfelt Acknowledgements in FUN &GAMES the other day, I’m inspired to share my own testimonial about David, the best friend I ever had whom I never met.

Some might think it terribly forward for me to call someone a friend when he had no idea who I was, save a goofy avatar. But I don’t think David would mind. You see, David was a community leader in the truest sense of the term. He shared his gifts freely and with great joy, even through the infinite distance of cyberspace.

For those who aren’t familiar with his story, David was a bookseller, publisher, crime fiction advocate and the ultimate crime fiction aficionado. His untimely death last September was a deep and traumatic loss to the crime fiction community that will be felt forever. His life, however, will continue to be celebrated.

David’s joy in great books was infectious. He supported and encouraged authors and readers every day via Twitter, Facebook and email. He hand sold books to those lucky enough to meet him at Murder by the Book in Houston, as well as to people like me online.

David gave a great many gifts to more people than will ever be counted, and after his death, I learned some of the magical stories about him from those who knew him well and were kind enough to share. He gave me a gift too, probably without even knowing he was doing so.

His unabashed enthusiasm for books and the people who make them and his humor and Texas charm–evident even in 140 characters–showed me that my nerdy fangirl self was not alone. That being deeply and truly excited about great stories didn’t make me an outcast, but rather quite the opposite. That I could do things to support the authors, books, and even publishers I love, and those things are worthwhile and can make a difference.

If you’d like to read some of the many amazing tributes to David from authors and readers, you can find a great list here. You’ll find that each celebrates an incredible person. And you’ll find inspiration in his life and his memory.

I’ll never know exactly how many of those books I love exist in part because of David, but I am forever grateful to him for them. His was a life lived fully and cut short far too soon, and I hope you’ll pay special attention to the books dedicated to him. When you see his name, give him a wink and a wave and say a word of thanks.