A Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, John Howard Reid founded his own book wholesale distribution service shortly after graduation. He then moved into publishing and finally into book retailing. As a Publisher, he served as his own Chief Editor and also contributed articles and stories to magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he acted as a film critic, reviewing both new movies and TV offerings for two rival weekly newspapers (for one of which, of course, he used a pseudonym).
After selling his book shops, Reid concentrated on his own writing career, although he now also spends a lot of time working as Chief Judge for three of America's largest literary competitions: The Tom Howard Poetry Contest for All Styles and Genres; The Margaret Reid Prize for Traditional Verse; and The Tom Howard Short Story, Essay and Prose Contest. Reid is the author of the bestselling "Write Ways To Win Writing Contests."
As a fiction writer, Reid first achieved fame in England and Australia for a series of detective novels, all featuring a Miami police sergeant named Merryll Manning, who made his debut in "Merryll Manning: Trapped on Mystery Island". The Florida Keys provided an atmospheric setting.
Manning holidayed in Australia for the following novel, "Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders", which was set in the scenic Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. This book was a sensational success. It went through no less than three large hardcover impressions and then sold another 5,000 copies in a Large Print Edition. The U.S.-Canadian rights were sold for a total of $20,000, but the book was never published. Finally, the rights reverted to the author and the book made its first American appearance in 2008.
A beachside suburb of Sydney was the locale for the critically acclaimed third book in the 12-book series, "Merryll Manning: Beachfront Holiday". Sales were helped no end by a dispute between two schools of critics. One group, led by bookseller and broadcaster, Selwa Anthony, held that the Manning novels were every bit as readable and fascinating "as an Agatha Christie thriller." On the the other hand, the USA critic, Richard Deutch (at that time book editor of "The Sunday Telegraph", the nation's highest-circulation newspaper) and his colleagues held that the comparison with Agatha Christie was "unfair to Mr Reid whose novels were more akin to those of Graham Greene."
The fourth book, "Merryll Manning On the Rim of Heaven", took the detective to his old home town in northern New South Wales.
The fifth book, "Merryll Manning Has His Price", found our hero visiting his sister in Adelaide, South Australia.
"Merryll Manning Has a Brush with Death" finally moved the police sergeant hero back to Miami. Florida.
Although these six novels all delighted the critics, it was Reid's next Merryll Manning book, "Merryll Manning Meets the Last Generation", a series of inter-related short stories, that brought him universal praise from all sections of the media. The book was even selected as Best Novel of the Year by Richard Deutch, book editor of the influential "Sunday Telegraph" newspaper.
However, Reid's next books, "All Possible Avenues", and "A Way of Life" divided the critics, receiving ecstatic praise in some quarters, lukewarm reviews in others. (At the moment, author John Howard Reid has no plans to republish these two books in the U.S.-Canada).
To retrieve his reputation in all quarters, Reid wrote "Merryll Manning Is Dead Lucky" for a Rupert Murdoch publishing subsidiary, Angus and Robertson. This book was a huge success with both critics and readers.
As stated above, new editions of "Merryll Manning: Trapped on Mystery Island" and "Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders" were finally released for the first time in the USA in late 2008. "Merryll Manning: Beachfront Holiday" has now followed as scheduled. "Merryll Manning On the Rim of Heaven" will appear later in 2011.
In recent years, Reid has not only written new fiction, but has extensively revised many of his previously published novels and short stories, including his historical novel, "In All His Glory", set in Ancient Egypt, and its sequel, "Prophet, Priest and King", which deals with the last days of King Solomon in Ancient Israel. "In All His Glory" was published in the U.S.A. for the first time in 2007. "Prophet, Priest and King" followed in 2008.
Reid's published short story anthologies include "Mexican Autumn" (a series of inter-related stories set in the real little Mexican village of Bahia de los Angeles in Lower California), "Micaela Morris in Jo's Heaven" (in which some of the stories are narrated by heroine Morris in the first person), "A Packet of Dreams" (which was published in late 2008), and "A Mountain of Many Treasures" (2009).
Reid has also concentrated on books of movie history and criticism. His "Movie Mystery and Suspense" and its sequel, "Great Cinema Detectives", as well as "Hollywood Movie Musicals" and "Movie Westerns: Hollywood Films the Wild, Wild West" were bestsellers in England and Australia, although, with the exception of "Movie Westerns", they have not proved quite as popular in the U.S.A. until their recent appearance in Amazon's Kindle store. A Kindle device certainly proves super-useful when it comes to easily accessing the vast amount of essential information contained in these books -- especially now that just about all movie classics (and many not so highly rated) are now available on DVD,
Reid's most recent projects are "Silent Films & Early Talkies on DVD: A Classic Movie Fan's Guide" which was published in America in early December 2008 and "Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best in Cinema Thrills" which hit American and British bookstores in late 2009 and has since received rapturous reviews from all sections of the media. "WESTERNS: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Western Movies on DVD " was published in both a regular printed edition and as a Kindle e-book in 2011.
Himself a prize-winning poet, Reid has edited five books of poetry, including the top selling, "Sailing in the Mist of Time". He has published two anthologies of his own poetic work: "Anyone for Love?" and "Escape to Paradise and Other Poetic Fancies" (issued under Reid's "Tom Howard" pseudonym, as this was the name under which some of these poems were first published).
Reid's 2010 poetry book was "A Salute to Spanish Poetry: 100 Masterpieces from Spain and Latin America" in which Reid translated over 100 of his favorite Spanish poems into English verse. Just for good measure, Reid also threw in a couple of Portuguese poems as well, including the pertinent "Advice to a Poet" by Olavo Bilac. Reid has started 2011 by publishing "ROSALIA DE CASTRO: Selected Poems rendered into English verse.
Reid has also edited two collections of poems by his late wife, Poet-of-the-Year (1993) Margaret Havill Reid: "Song of the Wayward Wind" and "Love & City Dreaming".
In addition, Reid has edited seven books of prize-winning fiction and short prose, three of which are currently available in the U.S.A., including the best-selling "Watching Time" which has gone through three reprints since it was first published in 2006.
A life-long Bible scholar, Reid commenced translating the New Testament some years ago when new versions such as the Jerusalem Bible and the Living Bible and the Amplified Bible first appeared. Reid has recently declared, "I had high hopes that at least one or two of these new Bibles would correct ALL the problems inherent in the older versions like the King James, the RSV, the Knox and the Confraternity, but with two or three notable exceptions, this has not been the case."
Reid agrees with most Christian ministers that the present Bible is too bulky, but feels the Reformers threw away the wrong books. To correct this imbalance, Reid is translating a series of 124-page selections. The first, "Bible Wisdom for Modern Times: Selections from the Orthodox Old Testament" was published in 2007. For 2008, Reid published "More Bible Wisdom for Modern Times: Selections from the Early New Testament" and "Essential Bible Wisdom: GOOD NEWS by John, the Beloved Disciple, and John, the Elder". This third book marks only the third attempt that Bible translators have made to (1) place the notoriously disorded text of John's Gospel back into some semblance of continuity, and (2) separate the work of John, "the beloved disciple", from the interpolations of his editor, John, the Elder (or Presbyter). And for this translation, for the first time in Biblical history, the authors' original quotations from Scripture are restored to what they actually wrote and not what churchmen feel they should have written!
In late 2009, Reid published "MARK and JOHN: The First and Last Gospels". And in late March 2010, he has released his "Bible Wisdom: PSALMS of Praise and Power newly translated from the Greek Old Testament."
This new translation makes available many (though not all) of the poems included in the Old Testament's Book of Psalms. Although there are already many excellent English translations of these beautiful poems (some of them originally composed by King David), all but one have been based on the somewhat mutilated text of the Hebrew Bible. The one exception was translated from the Ancient Greek Bible -- the so-called "Septuagint" -- used, quoted from, and regarded as authoritative by all the witers of the New Testament. This one translation was published way back in 1860, and is understandably still a top seller today. But in Reid's opinion, it's about time the world had another -- one that is more up-to-date and that deliberately strives to capture the poetic qualities of the original compositions that were so meticulously preserved in the Greek version dating from the third century, B.C. This book was originally planned for 2009, but was then postponed until late March 2010. The book is divided into two sections. In the first, Reid provides a literal translation of each Psalm he has selected. In the second section, the Psalms are rendered into a more poetic paraphrase. A beautifully illustrated, 288-page trade paperback, "Bible Wisdom: PSALMS of Praise & Power" is a book that belongs on every bookshelf in every home!
Reid is now working on a new translation of Matthew's Gospel, entitled "What Matthew Really Wrote!" This will be released in August-September 2011.