John McPartland was born April 13, 1911, in Chicago, Illinois. In 1943, he was inducted into the U.S. Army, and later, as an Army Reservist, he served again in the Korean War, at which point he became a staff writer on the Stars and Stripes newspaper. In between wars, he wrote a book, Sex in Our Changing World, and joined the staff of Life magazine. After Korea, he moved to Monterey, California, and began to publish a series of hardboiled thrillers with Gold Medal Books. And after his early death in Monterey on September 14, 1958, from a heart attack, it was discovered that he had two families—his legal wife and son in Mill Valley, California; and a mistress in Monterey who bore him five children and was named "Mother of the Year" in 1956.