Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Dillinger connections

This is by no means an endorsement of the outlaw, John Dillinger, nor the new film, Public Enemies, which was recently released. But I have a couple of connections to the Dillinger story that you may find interesting.

(Warsaw, Indiana newspaper - April 1934)

In this picture you’ll notice one of my action-adventures, Terror at Wolf Lake (out of print at the moment, but due for a second printing). The main character in the book, Eddy Thompson, is described this way:

“Eddy was known by his friends and his enemies for one thing. Eddy Cheated…and not just sometimes. He cheated on anything, anytime, anywhere.” Eddy lived in Crown Point, Indiana. The town is famous as the place where the FBI brought one of the worst gangsters in American history for trial. His name was John Dillinger. Eddy liked the idea that this criminal also grew up in Indiana.

“Best thing to ever come out of this state,” he liked to say. In fact, Dillinger was his hero.

This attitude ultimately changes as Eddy learns the difference between right and wrong.

I have a second connection to the Dillinger story because I grew up in the town of Warsaw, Indiana, located between Ft. Wayne and South Bend, on US 30. And Warsaw is also the county seat with the courthouse and jail. On the night of April 12, 1934, the police officer on duty was going door-to-door; rattling door handles to make sure they were locked.

Dillinger and his gang overpowered the officer, took him to the jail, and forced him to unlock the doors and then they knocked him out. The gang stole guns and bullet-proof vests from the small county jail in Warsaw that night.

Make no mistake; Dillinger was a very bad man. He and his gang were responsible for the deaths of many people. And I don’t glorify the man in any way in my book. He became public enemy # 1 by the FBI. Since this summer marks the 75th anniversary of Dillinger’s violent death in a Chicago alley, I wanted to make the connections to Terror at Wolf Lake, my hometown of Warsaw, Indiana, and and draw attention to the difference between right and wrong.

All of my action-adventures & mysteries deal with character issues, especially for tween boys.

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Watch this blog for information when Terror at Wolf Lake is available again.

1 comment:

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...


Certainly important issues today. We need more books that show the perils of evil behavior. Interesting post. I'm glad your book is going to be available again.