Death of a writer | January 29, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - January 29, 2010

Death of a writer

by Don Frances

READERS OF THE Jan. 15 print edition of the Voice might have noticed an unusual obituary.

"Mark Zamen, an author and longtime Mountain View resident, died Jan. 3 after a 19-year battle with cancer. He was 58."

Zamen's passing is unusual in several ways. For one, he died fairly young, and following a very long struggle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

And then there was Zamen himself, a Vietnam veteran, man of letters and 35-year resident of Mountain View. Not long before his death, Zamen had approached us about doing a piece on him, especially in light of the 2009 release of his novel, "Broken Saint," about a Vietnam vet struggling with his demons.

A press release he sent us describes the book as a "penetrating, fictionalized account of a real man torn asunder by forces beyond his control." It also notes that "Mark E. Zamen met the man upon whose life this novel is based on their first day in the Army. Mark was inspired to tell Tom's story after witnessing what he has gone through over the course of their nearly four decades-long friendship."

It was not long after he sent Voice writer Kelsey Mesher an e-mail that Zamen passed away. Here's part of what he wrote:

Dear Ms. Mesher,

Attached is the press release for my recently published biographical novel, "Broken Saint." I noted your article on Ms. Reddington's new novel in the Oct. 30 issue of the Voice and it naturally occurred to me that you may also find my book of interest, as I too am a Mountain View resident and have been since 1975; I also was vice-chair of the Citizens Communication Committee and wrote numerous pieces for The View, including the "Crimestoppers" series.

We regret missing the chance to meet Mark Zamen.

To learn more about "Broken Saint" or obtain a copy, visit, or, or try Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Don Frances can be reached at


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