Tell us a bit about “The Hunt For Leather Apron.” How did you come to write it?
I was asked to contribute a story for a potential Jack the Ripper themed anthology a couple of years ago. I happened to be going to London and staying not too far from that neighborhood. I knew about the Ripper, of course, but wasn’t a fanatic about it. However, in looking into the history, I became fascinated by a little-known suspect sensationally called “the Leather Apron,” a Jewish butcher who would supposedly clean his knives on the so-called apron after his kills. The story was hyped by the Daily Post of its day, the Star, creating so much fear and loathing that it lead to riots in the Jewish quarter. It was ultimately a dead end, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea that a victim’s family might take action against a suspect, despite lack of proof.
Jack the Ripper is a perennial favorite in the realm of unsolved crimes. Do you have a favorite theory?
So many good ones are believable to a degree. I tend to go with Kosminski—but wouldn’t it be amazing if it had actually been Prince Albert or Lewis Carroll? That would be a story.
You recently released a middle-grade novel about Harper Lee and Truman Capote as kid detectives. Care to tell us a bit about it?
That book came about after discovering that two of our greatest authors had not only grown up as next door neighbors in a small rural town in the Deep South, but because they had bonded over Sherlock Holmes books, they used to go around solving small town crime together! Their obsession with crime culminated in them following the same path as adults, resulting in the crime masterpiece, In Cold Blood. I wanted to read that story of their childhood so badly I decided to write it.
What are you working on these days? Any exciting projects or upcoming publications you’d like readers to know about?
Rumor has it that I may be doing a gritty urban zombie book inspired by The Wire and the crazy new drug epidemic here in Florida. Just sayin’ . . .
If you had to live out a horror-movie cliché, which would you pick?
If I was still a teenager and was able to hook up with some hot young gal, I’d gladly have sacrificed myself by convincing her to stay at the strange abandoned cabin in the woods on Halloween.
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