Friday, April 20, 2018

FFB Review: Coffin Corner by Dell Shannon

It is Friday and that means it is time for storms and rains here in North Texas with yet another severe weather watch later today. It also means it is time for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. We have a real treat here on the blog today as Aubrey Hamilton offers us her review of the 1966 book, Coffin Corner by Dell Shannon. Amazon does not list the month of publication. Depending on when it came out in the year, I was most likely 4 years old. Suffice it to say, I was not reading much back then and have not read this one. Be sure to check out the other reading suggestions for today over at Patti’s blog.

Dell Shannon was one of the pen names used by Elizabeth Linington to turn out an impressive list of police procedurals between 1960 and 1988. Set in southern California, they documented galloping societal changes and showcased her own conservative political leanings while portraying a Homicide team juggling multiple investigations.

Coffin Corner (William Morrow, 1966) is the 11th book featuring Lt. Luis Mendoza and his group of detectives in which they learn a suicide isn’t what it appears to be and neither is the heart attack of a thrift store owner. Officers sent to notify her family that Eliza McCann died in her store find an eccentric group living in a run-down hotel in an old section of Los Angeles. An undertaker with no customers, a convicted felon, a confused lady awaiting the return of her fiancé from World War I, a would-be opera singer, an astrologer, and similar offbeat individuals have drifted to the tired old building because of its low cost and lack of judgment from other residents. Their oddities are no more than a conversational tidbit among the detectives until the autopsy reveals Eliza was poisoned. Then the question of just how strange these people really are becomes serious police business.

Linington must have had a good time writing this story, the characters are entertainingly bizarre and the plot stops just this side of over the top. It’s hard not to think The Addams Family television show, which premiered two years before this book was released, inspired her. Linington sketched breathing characters in a few words and her plots were inventive. Her meshing of the personal lives of her detectives with their professional lives was a pleasure to read. I always loved her books and they were on my must-buy list as long as they were published. I find though their descriptions of life in southern California in the 1960s and 1970s were just a little too faithful and they didn’t wear well with time. Her practice of talking about how much everything costs profoundly dates the books and the casual racism is jarring. And with all of the scandals of the past 25 years, it’s hard to see any police force as unreservedly wonderful as they are portrayed here. Still, she wrote fine detective stories and Linington was on top of her game with this one.

Aubrey Hamilton ©2018

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A New Tipple Has Arrived

I am a grandfather for the second time as Karl's wife, Amy, gave birth to her second child this afternoon. A little over six pounds, Justin entered the world at 2:22 PM today. Baby and Mom are doing well.

DMN: 'I like writing about people who are evil, but they have good reason to be evil:' Walter Mosley heads to Dallas

DMN:  'I like writing about people who are evil, but they have good reason to be evil:' Walter Mosley heads to Dallas

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: NEW RELEASE PLUS AN AMAZON SALE FOR YOU!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: NEW RELEASE PLUS AN AMAZON SALE FOR YOU!: I'm giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to someone who comments today! I’m excited to announce that TEXAS RAINBOW , book 2 of the Tex...

Do Some Damage: The Return of No One Wants To Read Your Book

Do Some Damage: The Return of No One Wants To Read Your Book: By David Nemeth Last month I wrote a post here called " No One Wants to Read Your Book " and today is a variation of that th...

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 4/18/18

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 4/18/18

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: River Town, Girl on the Velvet Swing, N...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: River Town, Girl on the Velvet Swing, N...: Reported by Ambrea Nevermore started with River Town:   Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler, the first in a trilogy of...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Theft and the Prophecy: Two Fictional Impossib...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Theft and the Prophecy: Two Fictional Impossib...: In my previous blog-post, " The Ghost and the Canary ," I covered two real-life examples of the impossible crime story and decide...

The Rap Sheet: Just a Few Things to Mention

The Rap Sheet: Just a Few Things to Mention

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 4/18/18

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 4/18/18

Review: August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones

With twelve million dollars in the bank and after a year sabbatical overseas, August Snow has  returned home to the house he grew up in the “Mexicantown” area of Detroit Michigan. The old neighborhood, much like the rest of Detroit, has taken a beating and is struggling to survive. August Snow has do ne his part by putting some of the money he won from the city after his wrongful termination from the police force into his house as well as some of the neighboring houses. The son of an African-American father and a Mexican- American mother, August Snow is trying to rebuild his life and finally come to terms with his past.

While August Snow is back and very quietly minding his own business, some welcome his presence and many others do not. One of those that welcomes August Snow back is Captain Ray Danbury of the Detroit Police Department. One of a very few friends on the force, Danbury is acting as a messenger for a wealthy widow by the name of Eleanore Paget.

Eleanore Paget wants August Snow and reached out to her numerous contacts to spread the word. She has been difficult in the way only the rich can. It isn’t long before August Snow is out at her expansive estate at Grose Point. It isn’t the first time he has been at her home and that ties into the reason she wants him now.

Owner of a private wealth management and investment bank, Titan Investment Securities Group which dates back to the late 1800s where her great great grandfather started it, she is sure something is wrong. She can’t provide actual details other than a sense she is being frozen out by the CEO, the board, and other parties. Even though August Snow is not licensed as a private investigator, she wants his help and is not pleased when she does not instantly get it. While he can look at a few things for her, there is not much he can do.

Within hours she is dead and her name is added to the long list of regrets in the life of August Snow. He also knows that her death certainly was not a suicide. He begins to investigate and soon enters into a modern day war zone hotter than anything he saw in combat overseas.

August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones is an incredible read. Much like Down The River Unto The Sea by Walter Mosley, inherent racism is a dominating character at work throughout the book as is the consequences of serving on a police force and the loss of a career and that legacy. At the same time in August Snow the power of wealth and what it can do for good and evil is also a major point of the book.

At it is heart, the book is part thriller, part mystery, and part crime fiction. The ratios of those parts change a bit from page to page and chapter to chapter as author Stephen Mack Jones crafts a read that is very hard to put down. The result is an often intense read that blends in relevant social commentary while not slowing down a bit.

Simply put, August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones, is one amazing read and highly recommended.

I had never heard of this book until I recently read an excellent review of it by David Nemeth. You should read his review and check out his other offerings at his Unlawful Acts website.

August Snow
Stephen Mack Jones
Soho Press
ISBN# 978-1-61695-718-6
February 2017
Hardback (also available in eBook, paperback, and audio formats)
320 Pages

Copy provided by the good folks of the Lochwood Branch of the Dallas Public Library.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: THE BARTERED BODY by J.R. Linder...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: THE BARTERED BODY by J.R. Linder...: This latest by J.R. Lindermuth is rich in atmosphere, filled with colorful characters (some quite engaging, others on the decided...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani: Reviewed by Christy H.             Priyanka is a first generation Indian American girl living with her single mother. Though ...

Guest Post: Hijacked! by Lisa Lieberman

Please welcome author Lisa Lieberman to the blog today. Among other books, she is the author of the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries which started with All The Wrong Places. The second book in the series, Burning Cold, is currently available at a reduced price of 99 cents.

Hijacked! by Lisa Lieberman


The first time it happened was in a beauty salon. My protagonist, Stevie, a counselor on a suicide hotline, was trying to help her friend Ray, the center’s volunteer coordinator, who was a suspect in a murder investigation. He’d been having an affair with one of the volunteers—an ethical no-no—and she’d dumped him. Next day, her body turned up in the parking lot after her shift.

The victim worked as a hairdresser and Stevie goes to the salon to find out who else might have wanted her dead. She’s having a manicure—her first ever—and the manicurist is trying to talk her into getting French tips. I’d given the manicurist the unlikely name of Pia; the story was set in a small midwestern city and I imagined her dreaming of getting out someday.

Stevie is bored and curious. “I’ll let you give me French tips if you tell me your real name.”

“Suit yourself,” says Pia.

End of conversation.

Honestly, I hadn’t meant to let a minor character hijack my story, but once I’d named her, there was no going back. Pia the manicurist had her own reasons for withholding her true name, evidently. Stevie had to shell out for a facial before she got the information she sought from Daniél, the gay esthetician whose treatment room was decorated with stills of Liz Taylor in various roles. “She must taste like butter,” he says, coming up behind Stevie when she’s admiring a photo of Liz in BUtterfield 8. Yes, I did get a facial once from a guy like that. I’ve forgotten his real name, but I never forgot that line.

I collect oddballs. (If any of my friends are reading this, of course I don’t mean you!) Sometimes, when I’m rooting around for a new character, I’ll repurpose a memorable line or a bit of decor, select clothing and hope the end result isn’t Mr. Potato Head. I’ll know I’ve succeeded when the new character shows a bit of attitude, like Pia did, or when he brings out an unexpected facet of my protagonist.

Maybe I should get out more. Writing a story, for me, entails entering into a conversation with my characters. Why have a conversation if you already know what the other person is going to say? With a novel, it may not be until you reach the end of the first draft that you start to figure our who your characters are and where they’re going. In a story, you can let go, play a little.

Have some thrills. You’re in good company; the hijacker is your creation, after all. Take the plane off autopilot, do a few loop de loops. You’re still in control and there’s plenty of room for a nice, smooth landing.

Lisa Lieberman © 2018

Lisa Lieberman is the author of the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries featuring blacklisted Hollywood people in exotic European locales. All the Wrong Places and Burning Cold are available from Passport Press in print and e-book.

Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, Lieberman abandoned a perfectly respectable academic career for the life of a vicarious adventurer through dangerous times and places. She has written extensively on postwar Europe and is the founder of the classic movie blog Deathless Prose. She now directs a nonprofit foundation dedicated to redressing racial and economic inequity in public elementary and secondary schools. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Unlawful Acts: Incident Report No. 37

Unlawful Acts: Incident Report No. 37

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: 2018 Derringer Award Finalists

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: 2018 Derringer Award Finalists: As posted to Shortmystery by Derringer Awards Coordinator Jay Hartman: For Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words) "Cold Turkey" by ...

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 4/16/18

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 4/16/18


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR April 16-2...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of April 16-22, 2018:  Special Events: Bishop Dunne Literary Festival with Jesmyn Ward , Dallas,...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 4/16/18

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |

Bitter Tea and Mystery: I Bring Sorrow and Other Stories of Transgression:...

Bitter Tea and Mystery: I Bring Sorrow and Other Stories of Transgression:...: This book contains 25 short stories by Patricia Abbott, for the most part previously published in anthologies. Abbott has published two nove...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Only the Rain by Randall Silvis

Only the Rain by Randall Silvis (Thomas & Mercer, 2018) is the latest book from a versatile novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright. Russell Blystone returned home after a tour of duty in Iraq and set about pursuing the American dream. He used his GI benefits to acquire a college degree and then he started a family. When the story opens, he has two little girls and a third baby is on the way. His wife is a bank teller and he has six months under his belt as a foreman at the local rock quarry. They are living paycheck to paycheck but he is cautiously optimistic about their future. Until the quarry owner sells out to a foreign investor, who will not be keeping any of the current personnel.

Stunned and sickened at the financially devastating news, he takes a different route home in the pouring rain and a series of innocent actions leads him to boxes of cash in an empty house. With everything the money would mean to his young family, he can’t resist taking some of it. From that point on, he struggles with guilt, how to tell his wife, and where to hide the money, all while searching frantically for a job in an area where work is hard to find. When he learns the money belongs to the local meth dealers, he is paralyzed with fear.   

The story is laid out in a series of emails to Russell’s former squadron leader Spence, whom Russell admired greatly. He reminisces as much about the terrible events he witnessed while in the Middle East as his current predicament and he draws parallels between them. The author seems to ask how anyone can subject thousands of young adults to the horrors of war and then expect them to come home to lead normal lives. The generic locale references heighten the sense that Russell is Everyman, and his experience is the same as any young man whose life has been disrupted by battle.

I found this book to be an unusual, absorbing read, a combination of philosophy and thriller, although its rambling stream-of-conscious narrative wasn’t always easy to follow. It was a Kindle Prime selection earlier this year.

·         Hardcover: 188 pages
·         Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 1, 2018)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1542049946
·         ISBN-13: 978-1542049948

Aubrey Hamilton ©2018

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Digital Reader: Kindle Unlimited Per-Page Rate Dips in March 2018 as the Funding Pool Increases

The Digital Reader: Kindle Unlimited Per-Page Rate Dips in March 2018 as the Funding Pool Increases

The Guardian: The perfect crimes: why thrillers are leaving other books for dead

The Guardian: The perfect crimes: why thrillers are leaving other books for dead

Guest Post: Randy Rawls and Saving Dabba

Please welcome back Randy Rawls to the blog today as he discusses his new book, Saving Dabba.


            Beth Bowman is not a late sleeper, but it doesn’t bother her if the sun beats her up. Certainly, five AM is too early for her to be stirring unless on a case. This time, though, it’s the Chief of Police asking her to come into the station. If you’re a PI in Coral Lakes, FL, you want to maintain good relations with the police, especially the chief. So, Beth drags herself out of bed, preps for the day and heads for a meeting on an unknown subject.

            The news is not good. A man was found dead in the park, beaten to death. He carried no identification, but has the looks of a homeless person. Since Beth is friends with several of the homeless in the area, the chief is hopeful she’ll recognize him. She does. The dead man has a tattoo of the outline of the state of Texas on his neck. A star in the tattoo in the approximate location of Dallas gave him his street name—Dallas. But that’s about all Beth knows about him. He hasn’t been in the area very long.

            The chief has nothing except a gut feeling to go on, and that points him toward a new group that has come to Coral Lakes—Friends Intent on The Environment, or FITE. He asks Beth not to get involved, to let the police handle this one.

            Beth is noncommittal, knowing full-well she will warn her friends to sleep indoors and be more careful. A second body turns up, a copy of what happened to Dallas. Then, a young man is found shot to death in the park. Dabba, a member of Beth’s group, is arrested for the murder.

            Beth will not believe Dabba to be guilty and sets herself on a path to track down the people who are turning Coral Lakes into a social battlefield.

            The young man who was killed was a member of Friends Intent on The Environment. The demonstrations intensify as the leader of FITE demands that Dabba be turned over to them for justice. That leader, Cloie Morales, is expert at manipulating a crowd, and the Coral Lakes downtown is soon a burning scene reminiscent of war between the police and those supporting FITE.

            SAVING DABBA is book 4 in the Beth Bowman series. A transplanted Texan, she is a PI in Coral Lakes, FL. In book 1, HOT ROCKS, Beth is befriended by a group of homeless. They accept her and become her allies in resolving the cases she takes on. Each of them has a tragic story, which comes out during the course of the books.

            Book 5, which is in progress, takes Beth into the world of illegal immigration and those who exploit immigrants. It’s a look at another social and political problem in our society.

            Thanks, Kevin, for letting me discuss my work. 

Randy Rawls ©2018

Randy Rawls was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

Today, he has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, the reads across several genres and takes that into his writing. He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two fantasy/mystery/thrillers featuring a Santa Elf. The count is now at fourteen and growing. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

KRL This Week Update for 4/14/18

Up in KRL's Earth Day issue this week we are featuring ebooks. We have a review & giveaway of "Fashionably Late" by Lisa Q. Mathews

We also have a review & ebook giveaway of "Farewell, my Cuckoo" by Marty Wingate, along with a guest post by Marty about birds, and some fun bird related DIY projects

And a review & ebook giveaway of "The Advice Column Murders" by Leslie Nagel

Also a review & ebook giveaway of "Truth Beat" by Brenda Buchanan

While we are primarily featuring ebooks this week due to Earth Day, we do have a review & giveaway of one print book as it has sort of an Earth Day theme of recycling clothes because it features a consignment shop- "Lethal in Old Lace" by Duffy Brown, and we have a guest post by Duffy about the consignment shop that she based the one in her books on

And we have a fun guest post by Denise Dietz about her Diet Club mysteries, and an ebook giveaway of the first book in the series "Throw Darts at a Cheesecake"

And a review & ebook giveaway of "North of the Pier" by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

And a mystery short story by John M Floyd

Up on KRL News & Reviews this week we have reviews & giveaways of books by Lynn Cahoon, Kathleen Bridge, and June Shaw

Happy reading,

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

HISTORY’S RICH WITH MYSTERIES: DEAN CORLL -- Houston’s “Candy Man” Mass Murders by Earl Staggs

It has been quite some time since Earl has been around with one of his “History’s Rich With Mysteries” guest posts. He is back today with a case that caused my parents great angst and resulted in a lot of school seminars warning about strangers when I was in elementary school during this time period.


When I look at the past, I find stories about people which fascinate me, particularly those in which there is a curious mixture of fact, legend, and mysterious uncertainty. In this series of articles, I want to explore some of those stories. I think of them as mysteries swaddled in legend. While truth is always desired in most things, truth easily becomes staid and boring. Legend, on the other hand, forever holds a hint of romanticism and an aura of excitement borne of adventure, imagination and, of course, mystery.

DEAN CORLL -- Houston’s “Candy Man” Mass Murders

by Earl Staggs

At the time, it was the worst example of serial killings in US  history.  Although the actual number of victims may never be known, Dean Corll and two teenage companions killed at least 29 boys in the Houston, Texas, area between September 1970 and August 1973. The victims were raped, horrifically tortured and mutilated, then either strangled, shot, or both.

Dean Arnold Corll was born on December 24, 1939, in Fort WayneIndiana.  He was considered shy, timid, and a loner who seldom socialized with other children.  His parents divorced in 1946, were remarried  in 1950, and divorced again in 1953.

Dean's mother married another man, and the family settled in the Houston area. She divorced her new husband in 1963.  Soon after her divorce, she established the Corll Candy Company, specializing in making and selling pecan treats. Dean was  vice-president of the family firm. A teenage male employee of the company accused him of making sexual advances.  Dean's mother's response was to fire the accuser.  

In August of 1964, Dean, at age 24, was drafted into the US Army.  He hated military service and after ten months,  applied for and received a family hardship discharge claiming the family business needed him.  After returning home, Dean told close acquaintances that while in the Army, he had homosexual experiences for the first time.

Dean developed a practice of giving candy to young boys and became known as the “Candy Man.” Twelve-year-old David Brooks was one of the many boys who received free candy. He became a close companion who accompanied Dean on business trips. Before long, their relationship became a sexual one.

On September 25, 1970, Dean, with David’s help, claimed his first known murder victim, an eighteen- year-old college student. He was strangled, covered in lime, wrapped in plastic, and buried under a large boulder in a beach area. Years later, David led police to the burial site. His body was naked and his hands and feet were bound, which led forensic investigators to surmise he had been sexually violated.

David’s primary role became finding victims and enticing them with candy and invitations to a party. Some were friends of his and some were new acquaintances he happened to meet.  Dean paid him two hundred dollars for each one.  The victims were driven to Dean’s house where they were subdued by drugs, alcohol, or simply by force, stripped naked, tied to a bed or a plywood board, then sexually assaulted and tortured before being strangled or shot to death.  Their bodies were wrapped in plastic sheeting and buried in several different areas.

In 1971, David brought fifteen-year-old Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. to Dean’s home as a potential victim. Instead, Dean thought Elmer would be a good addition to his “team” and offered him the same two hundred dollar payment David was getting for each boy he brought in.   Elmer resisted for a while, but in early 1972, accepted the offer because his family needed the money.  

The team was now in place, and the threesome lured a steady stream of teenage boys, one or two at time, into their decadent and deadly circle. Some of their victims were forced by Dean to write or phone their parents with excuses for being away from home for a while.

In one incident, two boys were tied to the torture board and told to fight until one was killed. Dean told them the survivor would be set free.  After the two boys beat each other for hours, however, Dean raped, tortured, and killed them both.


On August 8, 1973, Elmer Henley showed up at Dean's house with nineteen-year-old Timothy Kerley and a fifteen-year-old girl named Rhonda Williams. David Brooks was not there. Dean was furious and said Elmer had ruined everything by bringing a girl. Elmer explained that Rhonda was a friend of his who had been beaten by her father and did not want to go home. Dean seemed to calm down, and the group began to drink beer, smoke marijuana and sniff glue until they passed out.

Elmer awoke later to find that Dean had bound and gagged him as well as Rhonda and Timothy. Dean eventually ungagged Elmer and said he was going to kill them all. He held a gun on Elmer and threatened to shoot him. Elmer pleaded for his life and promised to help torture and kill the other two. Dean unbound him, then tied Timothy and Rhonda to the torture board. Elmer grabbed Dean's gun and shouted, "You've gone far enough, Dean! I can't go on any longer! I can't have you kill all my friends!" Dean didn't believe Elmer would shoot him and advanced toward him. Elmer shot him a total of six times. Dean Arnold Corll was dead at the age of thirty-three.

Elmer called the police and said, "Y'all better come here right now. I just killed a man." He, Timothy, and Rhonda waited on the porch for the police to arrive. While they waited, Elmer told Timothy, "I could have gotten $200 for you."


Elmer was indicted for 6 murders. The killing of Dean Corll was ruled self-defense, so he was not charged for that one. David Brooks was charged with 4 counts of murder. Elmer and David assisted police in recovering bodies of their victims, most of whom had been buried in a boat shed in Southwest Houston owned by the Corll family, at High Island Beach, and at Lake Sam Houston. The bodies recovered showed evidence of torture as well as sexual violation and mutilation.

The 28 victims officially attributed to Dean Corll and his teen associates at the time (Increased to 29 when another victim was identified in 1983.) was the worst case of mass serial killing on record in the US until John Wayne Gacy was charged with murdering 33 young men and boys in 1978. Gacy admitted he had been influenced by Dean Corll.

District Attorney Carol Vance called the case the "most extreme example of man's inhumanity to man I have ever seen.”

After jury deliberation of only 92 minutes, Elmer Henley, now 17, was found guilty of all charges and received 6 consecutive 99-year sentences, a total of 594 years. He appealed and was granted a retrial in 1978. He was again found guilty on all counts and received the same sentence.

David Brooks was brought to trial on February 27, 1975. He had been indicted for 4 murders but was tried for only one. The trial lasted less than a week. After 90 minutes of deliberation, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. An appeal was dismissed in 1979.

Elmer Henley and David Brooks are currently serving their sentences in Texas prisons. Both have been denied parole multiple times over the years. Elmer Wayne Henley has a Facebook page, and a 2015 interview with him is available at

While the official number of Dean Corll's victim is set at 29, there may have been more. More than 40 boys went missing in the Houston area between 1970 and 1973 when Dean and his accomplices were active. The Houston police was criticized for not aggressively searching for more bodies.

There was also evidence Dean had other victims prior to 1970.  Former employees of the Corll Candy Company recalled seeing Dean digging holes on company property and cementing over them several years before. They also reported he kept a supply of plastic sheeting and nylon cord similar to what he used on victims later on. After the Corll Candy Company closed, Dean went to work for the Houston Lighting and Power Company. His coworkers there also remembered him keeping a supply of those materials on hand.


I'll never understand how someone like Dean Corll can exist. How is it possible that a human being can inflict extreme torture, pain, and suffering upon other human beings up to and including their death with no more thought or emotion than to wonder where the next victim will be found? Are we not all born with an inate respect and concern not only for the rights of others but for their very lives? Aren't the abilities to feel guilt and remorse as much a part of our make up as the needs to eat and sleep? There must be something about serial killers and mass murderers that is different from the rest of us. Perhaps further development and research into DNA will expose a common thread among people like Dean Corll, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgway and others. Perhaps even a cure.

Earl Staggs ©2018

Earl Staggs earned all Five Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars. He invites any comments via email at

He also invites you to visit his blog site at to learn more about his novels and stories.