Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Winding Down Terror In Ypsilanti

My wife and I at Detroit Bookfest 2017.
Since Terror In Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked was published last August, it has done well in the marketplace for an independently published book. This project took me, with the help of my researcher Ryan M. Place, five years to gather and research public documents, interview people connected with the case, and write the book; almost a year to edit the manuscript and publish it; and a solid year to promote the title and arrange author talks and book signings. It's been a busy year.

Over the last seven years, I have made nineteen round-trip flights from San Diego to Detroit to bring the tragic facts of these fifty-year-old serial murders to the forefront. Six of the seven murders never went to trial, so those facts were largely unknown to the public.

Writing TIY has met or surpassed all of my original goals. I set out to:
  • recognize and pay respect to the memories of John Norman Collins's victims, their identities obfuscated by the use of pseudonyms in an earlier novelized account,
  • clarify the facts and circumstances surrounding these murders obscured by time and misinformation on the Internet,
  • reconstitute a faithful rendition of the Collins case which was purged from the files of the Washtenaw County Court sometime in 1976,
  • and counter the blatant lies, alibis, and prevarications of Collins's attempts from prison to manipulate the press and the public. These falsehoods were given new life by social media.
The positive book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are appreciated more than I can say, but occasionally I receive an email or letter of a personal nature which helps validate the long and difficult task it took to cobble this tragic story together.

The latest letter I received was from Michaeline B. after my July tour in Michigan. She gave me permission to run an edited version of her remarks. Being able to move people with words may be the most satisfying thing I have accomplished with my writing. On this note, I end my 2017 promotions and move forward to my next project.

"It was a pleasure meeting you. I have finished Terror In Ypsilanti. My testament to your writing skills can best be told this way: I am an avid reader who almost never reads hard copy books. Ebooks suit my reading style and needs better. Yet, I read Terror in record time, adjusting my reading prerequisites accordingly without complaint. I even lugged this paperback around during the Traverse City Film Festival to better use my waiting-in-line time.

This is not a feel good book in any usual sense as the story is awful and sad. However, as one who is disturbed by the shortcomings--even the failures of our (criminal) justice system--you make a very satisfying case for justice decently served. I appreciate that.

The late sixties found me preoccupied with early motherhood duties and the big public events of the period (Vietnam, civil rights, the moon walk, etc.). Overwhelming! To a large extent, John Norman Collins and the related horror barely made it onto my radar screen. In some unspoken and unrecognized sense, I chastised myself over the years for my neglect. Thanks to you, I have done my duty to be informed on this matter--finally.

Devoting five years to this endeavor is a high price to pay, Greg. Please accept my humble thanks, admiration, and congratulations.... I look forward to reading Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel."

I thank Michaeline for sharing her story with me, and I appreciate every book review readers write on Amazon and Goodreads. It is these word-of-mouth endorsements that make the best kind of promotion and warm this author's heart.