At the height of a successful career in fund raising, Del Staecker resolutely left the not-for-profit world to run an Idaho white water rafting company and write the stories crammed in his head. In a two-room cabin with no phone, no television, and radio reception only a few hours a day, Staecker penned his first novel, The Muted Mermaid, by hand. The day he finished his first book he began the sequel, Shaved Ice.
In 2008 the two suspense novels were published in quick succession by Cable Publishing (Brule, WI), and were critically acclaimed. The Midwest Book Review (MBR) gave both books its highest rating. MBR calls The Muted Mermaid “an amazing novel”; it said Shaved Ice was “a riveting, superbly paced, deftly written mystery adventure from beginning to end.” An eagerly awaited third book, Chocolate Soup, was released in early 20l0.
Breaking from fiction, Staecker next wrote The Lady Gangster: A Sailor’s Memoir, a unique work that has been called intriguing and a perfect little book. This World War II “as told to” memoir relates the never-before-told saga of 327 “Chicago Boys” called to duty in early 1941 to man the USS Fuller, affectionately known as The Lady Gangster. This amazing ship weathered nine invasions, suicide attacks, bombings, torpedoes, and more on its way to becoming the Queen of Attack Transports. This book poignantly shares the personal story of “everyday heroes”; the unknown sailors who routinely performed heroic deeds without praise or recognition. The US Naval Institute’s Proceedings called The Lady Gangster “a spirited tale”; WWII History magazine gave it two thumbs up. Most importantly, the men who know best, World War II naval veterans, declare it an “exceptional book.”
Del Staecker is a master storyteller. Reviewers and critics have declared his writing as equal to the best of Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep), John MacDonald (the Travis McGee series) and Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty). Readers describe his books, fiction and non-fiction alike, as page-turners that demand immediate attention.
Born in Blue Island, Illinois, Del grew up in two very different worlds: the surreal artist’s community of Chicago’s Old Town (where the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan hung out at his Uncle Erling’s exotic bird shop), and the small town normalcy of Boy Scouts, Little League baseball, and working on his relatives’ farms.
At fifteen Del survived leukemia and penned his own bucket list. He has been a soldier, a farmer, a teamster, lived on a boat, traveled much of the world, and completed all but one item on his list. Currently, this Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts lives in his Pennsylvania home, which is shared by his wife, the stories that must be told, and the colorful characters in his head.