Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland
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Patricia Bryan is now working on a book about John Wesley Elkins, an eleven-year-old boy who was arrested for the murder of his father and stepmother in an isolated Iowa farmhouse in 1889.  The community was shocked and confounded by the crime, and many believed that Elkins, who weighed only 73 pounds, could not have committed the violent acts.  Within a few days, though, Elkins confessed.  He also revealed to the authorities that he had been abused and beaten at home, but the boy was sentenced to life in prison at the Anamosa Penitentiary.

In January of 1890, when Elkins arrived at Anamosa, he was the youngest prisoner in the United States.  He spent twelve years in the penitentiary, working in the prison library, reading and educating himself.  He also wrote eloquent and passionate letters to influential people, pleading for his release.  After a long and bitter public debate about the case, the governor of Iowa issued parole papers for Elkins in April 1902.  As a condition of his parole, Elkins was required to write letters on a monthly basis for the next ten years to the governor of Iowa, describing his activities.  In 1912, Elkins was fully pardoned.  

Based on primary sources, including more than 100 of Elkins' own letters, this book tells the story of John Wesley Elkins, including his life after he was released from prison.  


Publisher: TBA


Thomas Wolf is writing a book about the 1932 baseball season.  As the Chicago Cubs battle adversity--injuries to key starters, a manager who gambles compulsively and alienates his players, and a rookie shortstop who is shot by his girlfriend--a prison baseball team in Iowa strives for a perfect season.  

At the Anamosa Prison, Harry "Snap" Hortman, serving a life sentence for a crime of passion committed three decades earlier, follows his beloved Cubs on the radio and manages the inmate team, the Snappers.  Hortman's unlikely friendship with Warden Charles Ireland, also a devoted Cubs' fan, results in a road trip for the two of them to the 1932 World Series in Chicago.  Along with 50,000 other fans, including the Democratic candidate for president, Franklin Roosevelt, they witness Babe Ruth's "called shot," one of the most famous moments in baseball history.  

In the tumultuous summer of 1932--as Roosevelt battles Hoover for the presidency; as the nation drifts deeper into the Great Depression; and as civil strife threatens the peace of the country--two baseball teams focus on their dreams.  This is a true story that blends history and personal drama, illustrating the unique power that baseball has to entertain, captivate, and bring together disparate elements of American society.


Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Publication date: Spring 2019

Literary Agent: Stacey Glick
Email: sglick at dystel.com

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Midnight Assassin copyright © 2017; Patricia L. Bryan and Thomas Wolf