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After Alice, a desperate young mother in a gritty Wyoming boomtown, kills her husband in 1974 and dumps his body where it will never be found, she slips away and starts a new life with a new love. But when her new love's ex-wife and two kids start demanding more of him, Alice delivers an ultimatum: Fix the problem or lose her forever. With Alice's help, he "fixes" the problem in an extraordinarily ghastly way ... and they live happily ever after. That is, until 2013, almost forty years later, when somebody finds a dead man's skeleton in a place where Alice thought he'd never be found.
Featuring a femme fatale whose manipulative, cold-blooded character rivals Lady Macbeth, this page-turner by bestselling true-crime author Ron Franscell revisits a shocking cold case that was finally solved just when the murderers thought they'd never be caught.
From the New York Times bestselling series, Notorious USA…
Everything is bigger in Texas—especially crime.
Two of America's best crime writers, Ron Franscell and Gregg Olsen, team up to tell the stories of a serial killer who slaughtered more people than any other psychopath of his day ... without ever being noticed; two of America's most shocking mass murders and how their grim echoes still linger today; and the chilling tale of a mother so desperate for attention that she killed one of her children and repeatedly tried to suffocate the other.
The Queen of True Crime says:
Ann Rule on Ron Franscell’s The Darkest Night
"... An almost-hypnotic read, hard to look away from. ... This is a very, very, good book, written by a very, very, good writer. "
Ann Rule on Gregg Olsen’s If Loving You is Wrong
Olsen's [writing] is both gossipy and sympathetic, searing and brilliant. . . . A must read for true crime aficionados and students of abnormal psychology! I read until 3 a.m.!
Key words: Ann Rule, M. William Phelps, Munchausen by Proxy, true crime novels, Luby’s massacre
In this clear-eyed, gritty, and enthralling narrative, Dr. Vincent DiMaio and veteran crime writer Ron Franscell guide us behind the morgue doors to tell a fascinating life story through the cases that have made DiMaio famous-from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Beginning with his street-smart Italian origins in Brooklyn, the book spans 40 years of work and more than 9,000 autopsies, and DiMaio's eventual rise into the pantheon of forensic scientists. One of the country's most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologists will dissect himself, maintaining a nearly continuous flow of suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.
Evil lurks from the scorched earth of West Texas to the suffocating bayous of Mississippi … where darkness is deadly and screams go unheard. “Southern Fried Crime” comprises harrowing crime tales from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, all from the files of the New York Times-bestselling Notorious USA series. Meet homicidal lovers, murderous moms, enchanting black widows, hidden serial killers, and insane mass murderers as four of America’s most beloved crime writers—Ron Franscell, Gregg Olsen, Rebecca Morris, and Stephanie Cook—lead you on a bizarre jaunt across the sweltering crimescape of the deadly South.
A dying convict’s last request thrusts small-town newspaperman Jefferson Morgan into a deadly maelstrom as he explores a fifty-year-old case of child murder—a wound his town still isn’t ready to scrape open.
Under the heaviest deadline of his life, and amid threats from unexpected foes, Morgan must struggle with his own conscience to tell a story no matter the consequences, dig deep into the town’s past, and unveil a killer who’s managed to remain hidden in plain sight for almost fifty years.
Now a bestselling true crime author, Ron Franscell began his crime-writing career with fiction. This was his first mystery featuring newspaperman Jefferson Morgan, followed by its sequel, The Obituary.
“As a bonus, [Franscell] packs the novel with plenty of fascinating details about the newspaper business. A nice little sleeper of a mystery that deserves a wide audience.”—Booklist
A 12-year-old boy cowers in his closet while a lunatic killer slaughters his family . . . a nursing student unwittingly opens her home to the serial killer on her front porch . . . an 11-year-old girl drifts alone at sea on a flimsy cork raft for almost four days after a mass murderer kills her vacationing family aboard a chartered yacht . . . a brave firefighter suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of a racist sniper almost nine stories above the ground . . .
And, astonishingly, they all survived.
From Howard Unruh’s 1949 shooting rampage through a quiet New Jersey neighborhood to Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee’s reign of terror in 2002, the corpses piled up and few lived to tell the horror. Now, award-winning journalist Ron Franscell explores the wounded hearts and minds of the ordinary people these monsters couldn’t kill. His mesmerizing accounts crackle with gritty details that put the reader in the midst of the carnage—and offer a front-row seat on the complex, painful process of surviving the rest of their haunted lives. In intimate, gripping prose, Franscell takes the reader on a pulse-pounding dash through the murky intersection of pure evil and the potency of the human spirit. This journey into the darkest corners of the American crime-scape is a penetrating work of literary journalism by a writer hailed as one of the most powerful new voices in true crime.
ANGEL FIRE is a haunting tale of two brothers' separate odysseys of self-discovery. Twenty-four years after war correspondent Daniel McLeod is killed in a Viet Cong ambush, his only brother Cassidy is drawn by a mysterious caller to their Wyoming hometown, where he must confront a lifetime of his own ghosts. Their entangled stories are about equilibrium, the delicate balance between memory and the unknown, dislocation and homecoming ... loss and restoration.
Set against the deceptive simplicity of a small town on the high plains, ANGEL FIRE is a story of timeless rhythms. It resonates with the familiarity of tales told for millennia, but they appear anew here, as fresh as a Wyoming summer breeze.
"[Franscell's] themes involve a fresh approach to our rural roots as a font for the elusive American spirit."
"A beautiful novel of family love and loyalty set in Wyoming, Angel Fire focuses on Cassidy McLeod, writer and journalist from a long line of newspapermen, whose troubled life is finally reconciled through tragedy and loss. Cassidy's brother Daniel, reported killed in Vietnam while on assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle, is rescued and returned to home and family in 1995, haunted by ghosts of his life in Vietnam during the past 20 years. Guilt and love compel Cassidy to suspend his own life in San Francisco to care for his brother. The horror of war and its impact on those who have experienced it are vividly presented, tempered by Cassidy's memories of childhood and his adulation for an older brother and by Franscell's evocation of small-town life during the 1950s. Reminiscent of Robert Olin Butler, Franscell has a wonderful command of the English language and a writing style that cannot fail to capture the reader's imagination. Recommended."
Tender prose ... a heart-wrenching story of love and loss and familial connections ... Using richly descriptive, flowing prose and artful plotting, Franscell has woven together the quite impact of childhood in a small town and the complexities of adulthood. In the challenges of Daniel and Cassidy McLeod, we see our our problems and looming self-doubt. In their triumphs, we envision hopes all our own."
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"Angel Fire documents [Franscell] as an author with an immense ability for language and for storytelling. Highly recommended."
PUSHCART PRIZE-WINNER MELISSA PRITCHARD
"Dramatic, impressively crafted...an important novel of haunting and mythic proportions."
SAN BERNARDINO (CALIF.) SUN
"Angel Fire is a coming-of-age story without easy answers or pat solutions to life's explained — and more often unexplained — circumstances. ... It may be simply in its approach, but it is also complex — as all stories about the human condition should be. While Franscell easily and wonderfully paints the idyllic small-town picture, he also delves into the human psyche, a darker and more intimidating proposition."
BOULDER (COLO.) DAILY CAMERA
"Like Ray Bradbury's 'Dandelion Wine,' though in a much harder and less sentimental vein, 'Angel Fire' has a dreamy, intoxicating quality, full of wistful nostalgia and melancholy ... Franscell's Wyoming is as close to the real Wyoming as I've ever read. There's nothing like a native's-eye view to get an accurate picture of that enigmatic place."
AUTHOR WARREN ADLER ("WAR OF THE ROSES," "RANDOM HEARTS")
"Ron Franscell's achievement is to provide us with deep insights and understanding of the human condition rarely seen in contemporary novels.
Los Angeles is where America’s dreams and nightmares got all tangled up. In this otherworldly place of seemingly everlasting life, death could have an otherworldly quality, too. In a city where anything was possible, even the ghastly could happen. Where else does a list of a city’s top five most recognized citizens include a mass murderer? Stand in the footsteps of Manson, the Hillside Strangler, the Night Stalker, the Black Dahlia’s killer, and the Onion Field slayers. Visit crime scenes where Hollywood’s weird history took fatal turns for O.J. Simpson, John Belushi, Ramon Novarro, Phil Hartman, Dorothy Stratten, Sal Mineo, and so many others.
This book provides a sunset cruise through a place where ordinary inhumanities are entertainment—with GPS coordinates, photos and more. It continues the series that critics, true-crime fans, historians, and travelers have hailed as “thorough and unflinching” and “the best damn crime travel series ever published!” Dozens of fascinating stories are told in the same fast-paced, enthralling voice that’s made Ron Franscell one of America’s most beloved crime writers—and the Crime Buff’s Guides a three-time winner of TrueCrimeZine.com’s Book of the Year.
The line between history and mythology is razor thin—and the American Southwest often erases the line altogether. We might never disentangle crime-fact from fiction, but this book will transport you to Billy the Kid’s real-life stomping grounds, legendary Tombstone, the childhood home of one of the worst al Qaeda terrorists, and the scenes of dozens of crimes throughout Arizona and New Mexico’s history.
Dozens of fascinating stories in Outlaw Southwest are told in the same fast-paced, enthralling voice that’s made Ron Franscell one of America’s most beloved crime writers…and the Crime Buff’s Guides a three-time winner of the TrueCrimeZine.com Book of the Year!
Includes GPS COORDINATES, PHOTOS AND MORE!
“Well researched … Armchair detectives will enjoy the tales, but the book’s purpose is to take the reader to the scene of the crime.”—Albuquerque Journal
“The ultimate guilty pleasure book.”—San Antonio (TX)Express-News
“Perfect for summer vacations because you can put it down and pick it up without losing your place (but you won’t want to put it down). For those of who week true-crime stories, it’s a fascinating look at the dark side.”—Tucson (AZ) Sentinel
A corpse sends a simple scientist into a dark world of conspiracy and murder in this crime thriller by the USA Today–bestselling author The Deadline.
When a world-renowned forensic anthropologist journeys to Winchester, Wyoming, to examine the long-dead remains of a woman who claimed to be Etta Place—the Old West’s most mysterious and legendary female outlaw—he’s not expecting to find a man’s headless corpse in her crypt. The grisly discovery plunges him and Jefferson Morgan—the editor of the weekly Winchester Bullet—into a shadowy and deadly world of satellite-savvy highway pirates, rural meth labs, computer hackers and old-fashioned corruption. And they might not survive the fall….
“Gorgeously written, complex and satisfying—a damn near perfect mystery.”—John Lescroart, New York Times–bestselling author“A great job with a fresh, original idea. The Obituary weaves elements of the best forensics writers at work today, as well as the best detective writers—a great mix.”—Michael Palmer, New York Times–bestselling author