Updated: May 30
My new book, American Ripper: The Enigma Of America's Serial Killer Cop, is a true crime book coming out in next few days. It follows the life and strange case of Gerard Schaefer, a lawman in South Florida who was a serial killer in the early 1970's. It begins with the abduction of two girls who manage to escape from the killer but after he is caught he is released with a slap on the wrist and a delayed sentence of six months to begin several months later. In the mean time, he abducts and kills at least 2 more girls and likely 4 more that he was never charged for. It follows the investigation, the odd life of Schaefer including his mental deterioration, the victims, the trial and, finally, his relationship and lawsuit with me.
Publishing this book during a global pandemic presented some challenges, the first being a question I posed to myself: do people need more fear? In an unprecedented time of fear, I held back the publication date for several months. I didn't want to make it worse. After a time, I realized though, that what people need now as much as they did back in the 1970's, is the truth. There are so many theories as to what the virus is and how threatening it is and this information changes almost daily. In spite of that, we must all be our own investigators, as I was when I looked into this case beginning some 35 years ago. We must find the truth and learn how we can deal with it in order to alleviate that fear and better prepare ourselves against a common threat, whether it is a virus, or a serial killer. We can't hide the truth and we can't run from it, or it will surely rise again to frighten us again. And, simply, we can't live like that. Face the fear, be brave as hard as that can be at time, ask your own questions, don't accept all the pat answers, find your own truth or live in the shadows and consequences of someone else's.