(Ed. note: This press release found its way onto my desk, and I'm running the gem as-is, replete with the journalist's sign-off. I admire the author's very traditional approach to, ironically enough, ebooks in our favorite genre, and I can already tell that he has unimpeachable taste in murder cases, so I subscribed to his blog. I'm also looking forward to his first actual-book book, which comes out this fall. If a non-fiction book title includes the words savage, shocking, and scandal, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it.)
“My ‘Two-Dollar Terror’ series will consist of short, novellette and novella length historic true crime tales culled from the archives of newspapers across America,” Jones said.
The first three volumes, which cost $1.99 each, detail murders from Jones’ hometown of Hamilton, Ohio, a small Midwestern city with a dark history of brutal crimes, dating back to its founding as a fort to supply troops during the Indian Wars.
“Most people still have a recollection of the infamous ‘Easter Massacre’ in 1975, when James Ruppert killed 11 members of his family while they were visiting his mother for the holiday,” Jones said. “But Ruppert was actually Hamilton’s third mass family murder. I don't think any other American city the size of Hamilton would be able to boast such a gruesome feat. If they can, I'd like to know about it.”
One of those previous mass familicides is documented in A Two-Dollar Terror #2, The Gas Fume Fugitive: The True Crime of Charlie King, about the murder of three sons and a wife which took place in 1929. A future Two-Dollar Terror will explore Lloyd Russell’s Rampage, Hamilton's first familicide, which resulted in the deaths of eight family members in 1925.
Titles in the series include:
The Sleepwalking Slasher: The True Crime of Samuel J. Keelor
The Arsenic Affair: The True Crime of Belle Wardlow and Harry Cowdry
The Gas Fume Fugitive: The True Crime of Charlie King
While these stories are all part of Jones’ hometown history, the next two volumes will detail “love triangle” murders in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Muskogee, Oklahoma. But Jones promises that there still plenty of “good murders” in Greater Hamilton to explore, too.
Richard O Jones spent 25 years as a writer, editor and columnist for the Hamilton Journal-News. Because of the changes in the newspaper industry, he left the grind of daily journalism in the fall of 2013 to pursue his interest in history, especially true crime history.
His first full-length true crime book, Cincinnati’s Savage Seamstress: The Shocking Edythe Klumpp Murder Scandal is due September 16 from History Press.
“Oddly enough, I never covered a cops-and-courts beat in my career as a journalist,” he said. “Never had a desire to.”
He was, however, an award-winning arts journalist and an Ohio Associated Press “Feature Writer of the Year” in 2011.
The “Two-Dollar Terrors” are now available as ebooks in a variety of formats, including Kindle, at Smashwords.com. Jones will make the titles available in chapbook and audiobook editions later this year.