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In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere.
Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death—in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man’s already broken life, and let a true killer go free.
Available in Paperback, Hardback, Mass Market Paperback, Audible audiobook, and on Amazon Kindle.
On April 28, 1984, Denice Haraway disappeared from her job at a convenience store on the outskirts of Ada, Oklahoma, and the sleepy town erupted. Tales spread of rape, mutilation, and murder, and the police set out on a relentless mission to bring someone to justice. Six months later, two local men—Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot—were arrested and brought to trial, even though they repudiated their “confessions,” no body had been found, no weapon had been produced, and no eyewitnesses had come forward. The Dreams of Ada is a story of politics and morality, of fear and obsession. It is also a moving, compelling portrait of one small town living through a nightmare.
Available in Paperback, Hardback, Mass Market Paperback, and on Amazon Kindle.
Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore had a lot in common: They sang together in the Methodist church choir, their daughters were best friends, and their husbands had good jobs working for technology companies in the north Dallas suburbs known as Silicon Prairie. But beneath the placid surface of their seemingly perfect lives, both women simmered with unspoken frustrations and unanswered desires.
On a hot summer day in 1980, the secret passions and jealousies that linked Candy and Betty exploded into murderous rage. What happened next is usually the stuff of fiction. But the bizarre and terrible act of violence that occurred in Betty’s utility room that morning was all too real.
Based on exclusive interviews with the Gore and Montgomery families, Edgar Award finalist Evidence of Love is the “superbly written” account of a gruesome tragedy and the trial that made national headlines when the defendant entered the most unexpected of pleas: not guilty by reason of self-defense (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
Adapted into the Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning television movie A Killing in a Small Town—as well as the new limited series Candy on Hulu and Love and Death on HBO Max—this chilling tale of sin and savagery will “fascinate true crime aficionados” (Kirkus Reviews).
Talked about on Raven's Reviews: Candy
**THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
"It’s a mark of the highest honor when I say it’s even more riveting than an episode of 'Dateline'."
―The New York Times
From Paul Holes, the detective who found the Golden State Killer, Unmasked is a memoir that "grabs its reader in a stranglehold and proves more fascinating than fiction and darker than any noir narrative." (LA Magazine)
I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something is happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.
Crime solving for me is more complex than the challenge of the hunt, or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession. People always ask how I am able to detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I have always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recently that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.
When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.
But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy―even fatherhood―because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”
It is a promise I know I can keep.
Available in Hardback, Paperback, ebook, and Audible audiobook.
It was one push.
One of the most controversial murder cases of the 21st century began the moment Amber Hilberling, a pregnant teenager raised in affluence, pushed her husband Josh inside their 25th-floor apartment living room. Amber watched in horror as Josh fell into a window, which collapsed on contact, then plummeted through the Tulsa sky to his death.
Amber's claim of self-defense against a longtime abuser was quickly drowned out by the aggressive public campaign Josh's family and friends launched. The media adopted their storyline without question - portraying Amber as a mentally-ill killer, Josh a "gentle giant" and victim. Hate websites launched, calling for Amber's execution. Strangers harassed her family. The Tulsa World newspaper mocked her "fitted jackets, full makeup and a mane of blown-out blonde tresses.” The State of Oklahoma charged Amber with murder and prosecuted her with troubling tactics the state supreme court later blasted as "dubious." The pressure drove Amber, soon a new mother to a baby boy, to the edge.
In Pushed, J.R. Elias, an award-winning journalist turned attorney who worked on the case, pulls back the curtains and shares the gripping full story: prosecutorial misconduct, the explosive behind-the-scenes dramas, lies, adultery, greed, the devastating effect of irresponsible media, the disturbing twists of the murder trial, and the toll the grueling case took on many lives. Just after he finished the book, the already-tragic story reached a shocking and heartbreaking conclusion, captured in a newly-added Epilogue.
Neither the public nor the jury has ever heard the full story. Until now.
Available in Paperback & Kindle.
In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic reached a fever pitch.
Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.
With vivid historical detail and novelistic flair, Texas Monthly journalist Skip Hollandsworth brings this terrifying saga to life.
Available in Hardback, Paperback, ebook, and Audible audiobooks.
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.
As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
Available in Hardback, Paperback, ebook, and Audible audiobooks.