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Angel Falls is here!



Yup. It's true. After decades of contemplating writing this book, ANGEL FALLS is here. I admit: I'm excited!


I get asked all the time: "How do you come up with your ideas?"


In this case, the answer is easy: ANGEL FALLS, was inspired by the life of Texan Ruth Robertson, a photojournalist who, in 1949, mounted the expedition that successfully measured Angel Falls, the world's tallest waterfall.


Despite Ruth's amazing achievement, her story had been lost to time. I happened upon it more than 20 years ago, and I knew that someday I had to remind the world about her. ANGEL FALLS is historical fiction, a blending of fact and imagination, but the plot line involving Ruth's life and the expedition is based on her mementos and writings. For research, I had access to Ruth's photographs and papers through the archive at the University of Texas – Austin's Harry Ransom Center.


Before Ruth's success, the waterfall was thought to be impossible to reach by land. Angel Falls is in a dense Venezuelan jungle, located inside of a deep mountain canyon. The native tribes in the area believed that particular mountain, Auyán-tepui, was haunted, and their cultures warned them to stay away. Four earlier expeditions – all mounted by men – had run out of supplies or found the jungle too formidable, and all had turned back. At least one member of a prior party vanished in the jungle, home to venomous insects, snakes, and dangerous animals.


The waterfall had only been seen by air until Robertson and her party cut through the jungle to reach it. An astounding sight, Angel Falls measures 3,212 feet from top to bottom, higher than two Empire State Buildings stacked one on top of the other. 


I am so thrilled about this book. I love Ruth's story. 


Here's the synopsis from the backcover: 


"A dynamic cast of characters, lush settings, and an engaging plot that is sure to excite Casey's legion of loyal fans."—New York Times bestselling author of Perennials, Julie Cantrell.


The jungle 1949: Everyone said it was impossible, dangerous, unwise. Three expeditions mounted by men had failed. How could one led by a woman succeed? "Don't be a fool. You'll die out there," a friend whispered to Ruth. But a siren haunted her dreams, calling to her. She had no choice but to follow it into the deepest, darkest jungle in the world, a decision that would change her life forever.


Houston 1993: A violent storm pummels the Gulf Coast. Fleeing from her abusive husband, Gabby Jordan becomes disoriented and lost. After a terrifying escape, she happens upon a convenience store bulletin board that leads her to the ramshackle, riverside house of a woman named Ruth. As Gabby's husband hunts her down, intent on revenge, Gabby and Ruth rely on their instincts and each other to fight for survival.  


Inspired by the true story of a woman explorer, Angel Falls is a poignant, inspirational tale of two women who join forces to fight a deadly enemy and, in the process, confront painful pasts to find peace with long-hidden secrets.

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Angel Falls Available for Pre-order!


Hey y'all,


So this is exciting: my new book, ANGEL FALLS, is now up for preorder on Amazon.com. Right now, it's only available in ebook form. But it will debut on September 15th, and at that time it'll be available at all retailers, in print as well as ebook. The audio book will drop that same day on Audible.


Here's the story in a nutshell: 


"A dynamic cast of characters, lush settings, and an engaging plot that is sure to excite Casey's legion of loyal fans."—New York Times bestselling author of Perennials, Julie Cantrell.


The jungle 1949: Everyone said it was impossible, dangerous, unwise. Three expeditions mounted by men had failed. How could one led by a woman succeed? "Don't be a fool. You'll die out there," a friend whispered to Ruth. But a siren haunted her dreams, calling to her. She had no choice but to follow it into the deepest, darkest jungle in the world, a decision that would change her life forever.


Houston 1993: A violent storm pummels the Gulf Coast. Fleeing from her abusive husband, Gabby Jordan becomes disoriented and lost. After a terrifying escape, she happens upon a convenience store bulletin board that leads her to the ramshackle, riverside house of a woman named Ruth. As Gabby's husband hunts her down, intent on revenge, Gabby and Ruth rely on their instincts and each other to fight for survival.  


Inspired by the true story of a woman explorer, Angel Falls is a poignant, inspirational tale of two women who join forces to fight a deadly enemy and, in the process, confront painful pasts to find peace with long-hidden secrets.


WANT MORE INFO? Read the excerpt on my website. Just click on ANGEL FALLS in the left-hand column. 


I am so excited. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I can't wait for you to read it. 


Enjoy the summer, and, if you preorder now, ANGEL FALLS will magically appear on your Kindle after Labor Day! 


All the best,



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Clara Jefferies book three: out today!

We authors live for days like this: publication days! Our books hit store shelves, get shipped out in the mail, land on Kindles, iPads, smart phones, all manner of electronic devices. 


For me, this is my eighteenth such event, and it's the third time a new Clara Jefferies mystery has debuted. I couldn't be happier.


I have so much fun writing about Clara. She tugs at my heart, sends my pulse reeling. At times, I'm scolding her as I write: "Don't do that! You'll be sorry!"


So much fun. 


THE BLESSED BONES begins with Clara shuffling through the Tombs, the file cabinets full of old cases secreted away in Alber PD's hidden back room. She's reviewing which cases might still be salvageable after years, sometimes decades of neglect. It's there that she happens upon the photo of a little boy with a black eye. It brings to the surface old memories of a child she failed to save, and before long, despite the roadblocks, Clara is determined to find justice for the tyke. 


It's grand writing about a character like Clara, one whose heart pushes her forward, whose determination takes over when others would walk back, who has a low tolerance threshold for injustice and sees the victims for what they are: people who deserved better. The bad guys? When Clara's around, they need to worry. 


This particular book features the parallel story of Violet, a pregnant teenager being held captive. In the throes of labor, she thinks back to how her story unfolded. Is she alive and remembering? Or dead. Is it possible that she's the pregnant teenager found on the mountainside? If she is alive, can she be saved?


Clara's world has become so rich and so real to me. I cheer for her and Max, the chief deputy she's loved since they were teenagers. Their lives are complicated, perhaps too complicated to allow them to have the love and the lives they deserve. And Ardeth. Clara's mother. Will she ever truly open her eyes and her heart to her daughter? Despite all she's been through, Clara craves family. But in this world - one where rules define who counts and who doesn't - Clara is invisible, shunned even by those she loves, and she feels betrayed. 


Yes! We authors live for publication days. Here's hoping you read THE BLESSED BONES, and that you share my enthusiasm. Thanks again for all the support. 

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Her Final Prayer: Book 2 in my new mystery series

I have a new mystery series. Did you know?


Yup. In addition to Sarah Armstrong, I'd now like to introduce you to Clara Jefferies. The first book in this new series, THE FALLEN GIRLS, came out in June. And today the second book debuts, HER FINAL PRAYER.


A Dallas detective, Clara has an unusual past: she was born and raised, lived her first twenty-four years in the small town of Alber, Utah, a polygamous enclave in a mountain valley high in the Rockies. She fled Alber in fear for her life and spent ten years in Texas. In book one, THE FALLEN GIRLS, Clara is pulled back to Alber to try to find a missing sister. What Clara finds is a town in the midst of change as the feds have made arrests, including of the religion's prophet. Outsiders are moving in and barriers are falling. But rather than a welcomed homecoming, Clara has become a stranger, even to her own family.


So in book one, THE FALLEN GIRLS, Clara is pulled into a string of horrific crimes as she searches for her sister.


In book two, as I said out today – you may be able to tell that I'm pretty excited – Clara is called to the Johansson bison farm, outside of Alber, and what she finds there are some of the most gruesome murders she's ever encountered in her years in law enforcement.


From that heart-pounding start, Clara is propelled into an investigation where nothing is as it seems, and where she's forced to confront her own troubled past.


To set up the series, I'd like to tell you a bit about the inspiration for Alber, my fictional town.


It all began in 1988. At the time, I was a magazine writer, a contributing editor at Ladies' Home Journal. I'd written for them for about four years at that point, and a case caught my editor's attention. It was unfolding in Hildale, Utah, one of the fundamentalist Mormon towns in what's known as the Short Creek area. The court case involved a polygamous family. The husband, Vaughn Fischer, and his first wife, Sharane. The Fischers wanted to adopt the six children of Vaughn's third wife, Brenda Thornton, who'd died the previous summer. Brenda and Vaughn had only been married for two months at the time she died, and none of the children were his biological offspring. The adoption was being contested by Brenda's two sisters, Patricia and Janet. My editor at LHJ sent me to Utah to interview Vaughn Fischer and his family.


So that summer, I drove my rental car into the town of Hildale, Utah, just across the border from Colorado City, Arizona, two towns controlled by a fundamentalist Mormon group. From the beginning, it was eye-opening. I was there in the summer, and it was so hot. But the girls and women were all clad in prairie dresses, and the boys and men in long pants. Everyone had their arms covered, and the women even wore socks with their sandals.


The houses were huge! Some housed three, four, five or six wives and their children. The Jeff's mansion, the one near the center of town where Rulon Jeffs, the sect's prophet at the time, lived, had small cottages throughout the yard. Someone told me that he had dozens of wives and an unknown but large number of children. The town is dusty but the setting is beautiful, bordered by impressive red mountains. A complicating factor during my visit was that they didn't have street signs.


You see, the sect was very secretive – perhaps because polygamy was illegal – and they didn't actually want strangers like me driving through town. They also didn't have a restaurant or a hotel. The biggest problem was that no one would give me directions. I'd see women with children in fenced yards, but by the time I got to the gate, everyone had disappeared. Poof! They were gone.


In the end, I did find the Fischer house, and I ended up spending a week in the area. I interviewed folks like the Fischers who swore that they were happily polygamous and that it was the best way to live and bring up children; and I talked to those who'd been drawn into the sect only to later decide it wasn't all they'd expected  


One of my most vivid memories is of sitting in the Fischer's living room surrounded by what seemed like scores of children. I had on a short-sleeved dress. While we were talking, a group of the younger children surrounded me, and they began to run their hands over my arms. I couldn't understand why until one of their mothers said, "It's that they've never seen a woman's arms uncovered before."


As I got more into the interviews in Hildale, I discovered that there are things to consider when you live in a polygamous community. One is that boys and girls are born in fairly equal numbers. That presents a problem when one man can have dozens of wives. The main concern: there weren't enough women to go around. This was solved, unfortunately, by weeding out the boys who weren't wanted in the community, the ones who the sect's leaders would rather disappear. They were called the lost boys.


What I was told during my time in Hildale was that the boys the sect planned to keep were groomed to stay, and the others, beginning in their early teen years, were manipulated to leave. The deed was accomplished by pushing and pursuing the unwanted boys, making the town uncomfortable for them.


The other thing was that the girls weren't allowed to choose who they married, but rather assigned to husbands by their prophet's decrees (based on revelations from God).


So, that's the inspiration for the setting of my Clara Jefferies mystery series. I drew on those experiences to create the town of Alber and its rather unusual residents. I hope you enjoy the books as much as I'm enjoying writing them. I'm currently hard at work on book three, and I am loving every minute of it.


Oh, and if you read the books and love them, any of my books actually, I'd be delighted if you'd write a review where you purchased your book. It means a lot to have reader recommendations.


Thank you, and happy reading!



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Books take months to write and more months to hit the stores; so when one comes out, it's thrilling.


I'm especially excited about my current effort: THE FALLEN GIRLS. It's out today, and it's a particularly satisfying debut since it's the first in a new mystery series starring Police Chief Clara Jefferies. 


The story in a nutshell: A Dallas detective, Clara gets a call late one Saturday while she's at the office. It's from an old friend, Max Anderson, who she once felt very close to, and he's asking her to return to their hometown, Alber, Utah. At first, Clara refuses. That town, set high in a mountain valley, holds painful memories for Clara, and she recoils at the thought of returning there - for any reason.


Then Max explains; he's a cop now, too, chief deputy in the county sheriff's office, and the case he's working involves someone close to Clara, a member of her own family. A young girl is missing: Clara's twelve-year-old half-sister, Delilah.


"Delilah has disappeared," Max says. "At least we think she has. And your family isn't cooperating."


A frantic rush back to Alber, where Clara's past waits to confront her, and she's thrust into a murky investigation. Clara's mother tells her that Delilah is fine, and she orders Clara to leave. Why doesn't Clara believe her? No one produces Delilah, and Clara's sister Lily pushes their mother to open up and tell the truth: Delilah is in grave danger.


This book was so much fun to write!


I love Clara and Max, Clara's complicated family made up of three mothers and dozens of siblings. The town isn't happy that Clara, who fled the town to save her own life, has returned. They want her gone. And Clara's father has died, keeping her from confronting him about the horror her life was because he failed to stand up for her.


Filled with pulse-pounding action, The Fallen Girls will keep you up at night, waiting to turn the next page. I so hope you enjoy it, and that you look forward to book two in the series scheduled to debut this coming fall: 2020.


I hope you and yours are all safe and healthy. Thank you for reading the books. It means the world to me. And welcome Clara Jefferies. I'm delighted to introduce you to the world! 



Links to buy The Fallen Girls


Amazon: https://geni.us/B085H87WFBCover

Apple: https://buff.ly/332rWJG

Kobo: https://buff.ly/3cK2Ofa

Google: https://buff.ly/2IvzJpV

BN.com: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-fallen-girls-kathryn-casey/1136662857?ean=9781838886028


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IN PLAIN SIGHT: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders


Today's the day. More than three years in the making, IN PLAIN SIGHT hits brick-and-mortar and Internet booksellers. This is such a fascinating case, I'm struggling with where to begin.


Let's start where I did, when I first heard about the case. In January 2013, I was home working on my last book, POSSESSED, when my husband shouted at me to come to the living room. Something big had happened, and news reports were breaking into regular programming to announce that a block from the courthouse in the center of the small town of Kaufman, Texas, someone had gunned down  an assistant district attorney named Mark Hasse. It happened as the workday began, in broad daylight. "Who would do that?" my husband wondered out loud. "I mean, who'd shoot an assistant DA, especially in such a public place?"


"Wherever you are, we'll find you!" I heard Mark Hasse's boss, the Kaufman County DA, threaten the killer the following afternoon. Clearly angry, Mike McLelland had the demeanor of a man who wasn't making idle threats.  With every ounce of his being, he intended to corral the gunman and take him down.


For weeks after, I was mesmerized by the case. Every morning, Good Morning America had an update. In the evenings, the national news reports mused about the possible killers. Most of the media attention focused on the Aryan Brotherhood or the Mexican Cartel. Then the news reports faded, and we were left wondering: What happened?


Incredibly, two months later, on the day before Easter, it happened again. Suddenly a breaking news bulletin flashed across TV screens and Internet sites: KAUFMAN COUNTY DA AND WIFE FOUND MURDERED.


Mike McLelland, the big man in the black cowboy hat who'd threatened his friend's killer, had been slain in his suburban home, along with his wife, Cynthia. 


From that point on, the case became the top law enforcement priority across the nation. President Obama monitored the investigation's progress in the White House. Someone had murdered an innocent woman and two prosecutors, declaring war on law enforcement throughout the nation. Again, the rumors swirled, speculation mounted, TV pundits railed about the dangers of the Aryan Cartel. But no arrests were made. Who could be behind it? And why?


Then, finally, answers. A month after the McLellands died TV news helicopters hovered over a one-story brick home on the outskirts of Kaufman, while inside a crime scene unit conducted a search. When it ended, Eric Williams, a former justice of the peace, was brought down to the county jail for booking. Days later, his wife, Kim, joined him. 


Such unlikely suspects. They weren't at all what the experts predicted. It seemed those who were supposed to know had been wrong about everything except for one aspect of the killings: the motive. There the experts hit the proverbial nail on the head when they said the killings reeked of revenge. 


Sometimes a case pops up that piques my curiosity. I wonder why things happen, and why the people involved made the decisions they did. What led to the murders? Why would a former lawyer and justice of the peace, along with his wife, plot three such terrible crimes. I had to find out. I wanted to understand. 


The result is IN PLAIN SIGHT. And with this book, I got very lucky. The two people at the center of the killings had turned down all requests for interviews, until I asked. Then over a period of a year and a half, I spent nine hours in prisons interviewing Eric and Kim Williams. These are their only interviews to date. 


In the end, that made such a difference. IN PLAIN SIGHT is a behind the scenes look at three of the most notorious murders of the century. 

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POSSESSED is here!

Pub days are amazing! After years of work, I get to see the finished product hit brick-and-mortar stores and online sellers, and it finally all seems worth it. Another book, this one my thirteenth!

What a case it is: A brilliant scientist, Stefan Andersson initially fell head-over heels for the beautiful yet troubled Ana Trujillo. Like so many of us who feel that strong pull, that attraction, at first he had no insight into who Trujillo truly was. Slowly he began to realize. When he tried to end it, she wouldn't let go. In the end, his kindness killed him.

POSSESSED is a book that took me behind the scenes into a world of witchcraft, of science and sex, drugs and demons. I was warned along the way not to write it, for surely the spirits would retaliate. "You don't know what door you're opening," one woman said.

Yet, the door I opened was actually one into two lives, a view into what went so terribly wrong in a posh Houston high-rise apartment in June 2013. Into the heart of a man who once he loved, never turned away, even though he feared for his life. Into the soul of a woman who threw her life away for a good time, only to find she was alone, with no one willing to take her in except a man she'd abused, one who'd once loved her.

Who knows what draws the human heart? What waits there when we bond with another person? How easily our lives change and how quickly we lose control?

POSSESSED opens that door and we walk through, into two lives as they spin out of control and end in a devastating tragedy.  Read More 
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Let's not forget Laura, Jessica, Tiffany and Kelli

A friend of mine mentioned the other day that he's afraid that in all the news attention given to Bill Reece, the alleged serial killer who has been leading law enforcement to buried remains at sites around Houston, he is becoming the focus and his victims are forgotten. I thought about this, and it's true. Please understand, I'm as guilty as anyone. My prior blog post, the one I put out on April 6th, reveals some of what I know about the man in the center of a drama that has mesmerized much of Texas. I posted it because I know folks are interested, that they want to understand who Bill Reece is and perhaps try to figure out what made him into such a monster.

Certainly, a monster he is. At this point, Reece is tied to multiple abductions and sexual assaults, and four cold cases, all murders which occurred in 1997: 12-year-old Laura Smither; 17-year-old Jessica Cain; 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston; and 20-year-old Kelli Ann Cox. My fear is that there are more victims out there, and this list may become longer over the coming months.

On the other hand, I took what my friend said to heart. It's true that in a very real sense it seems as if the victims are being ignored. So in this post, I'd like to remember four bright, thoughtful, and loved young women who should have had decades of life ahead of them. None of them did anything wrong to bring on what happened to them. On the days their paths crossed with Bill Reece, they were doing things we all do every day.

In April 1997, Laura Smither was a brunette bundle of energy, a precocious adolescent with a yellow bedroom filled with stuffed animals, who was counting down the days until she became a teenager. A dedicated ballerina, just weeks earlier she'd won a coveted spot in the Houston Ballet Academy. She hated that her hair curled when left to its own devices, and when shopping she was known to dance down store aisles. Her parents and her younger brother adored her, and that gave her a special confidence. An effervescent talker, Laura's family nicknamed her Jabber Jaws. But more than anything, Laura Smither loved to dance.

On the Thursday morning Laura vanished, she went out for a 20-minute jog near her Friendswood, Texas, home and never returned. Her body was found 17 days later, in a retention pond.

A newlywed, Tiffany Dobry Johnston worked two jobs helping to pay for college, and in the fall planned to attend Oklahoma State. She was funny and cute, with round cheeks and a broad smile, expressive eyes. That fateful afternoon she washed her truck at the Sunshine Car Wash in Bethany, Oklahoma. Tiffany's mom knew Bill Reece; his mother took in laundry and did ironing for the Dobry family. No one noticed that Tiffany's car sat abandoned at the car wash for hours that day before someone came looking for her. Tiffany's body was found the next day, thrown out like garbage along the side of a road.

Ironically Kelli Ann Cox had just left a police station on the day she disappeared.

A single mom with a baby girl, she was working hard to get an education and better her life. At the University of North Texas in Denton, Kelli was taking criminology and counseling, and that day she'd just finished a tour of the jail for one of her classes. Not allowed to bring in personal items, she left her purse and other belongings locked in the car. When she emerged, she couldn't find the key she left in a magnetized holder under the wheel well. So she walked a few minutes down the road to a convenience store and called her boyfriend to bring her a key. Kelli hung up, walked back toward the police station and she simply disappeared. When her boyfriend arrived a short time later, Kelli was gone.

For nearly two decades Kelli Cox's family searched and prayed, without answers, not knowing if she was dead, or alive and being held captive.

The evening before Jessica Cain disappeared, she stood on stage at the Harbor Playhouse in Dickinson, Texas, bowing with the rest of the cast as the audience clapped enthusiastically. Just out of high school, Jessica loved the stage. In the fall at Sam Houston State University, she planned to major in drama and, ironically like Kelli Cox, criminology. Although the Cain family had moved to Tiki Island just four years earlier, Jessica had already collected a large circle of friends. "Bubbly," most of those who knew her would later say about Jessica's personality. "She loved to laugh."

That night after the cast party, Jessica drove south on I-45 on her way home and vanished. Her family, too, would endure nearly two decades of searching and not knowing. Jessica's body along with Kelli Cox's wouldn't be found for 19 years, not until Bill Reece pointed to a field and said, "Dig here."

It seems particularly appropriate to write this blog today for two reasons. The first is that today is Laura Smither's birthday. If she'd lived, Laura would be turning thirty-two. Perhaps she'd still be dancing, or maybe she would have retired after a worldwide career as a ballerina to marry and have a family.

Today is also the day that the process of laying Jessica Cain to rest has begun. This evening her wake was held. Isn't it strange that Jessica's wake took place on Laura Smither's birthday? A coincidence?

Days seem to be dragging lately, as I wait for answers and watch these events unfold. Do I think about Bill Reece? Sure. It's hard not to be curious about him, to wonder about his past. Yet more often than not my thoughts are with Jessica's parents, her family and friends, along with those of Laura Smither, Kelli Cox, and Tiffany Johnston.

As we attempt to diagnose the evil that is Bill Reece, it's important to remember these four young women. They are the important ones in this story. They should never be forgotten.  Read More 
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The William Lewis Reece I Know

Those of you who read “Deliver Us” may be watching the drama unfolding in Texas, where one of the suspected serial killers I interviewed, William Lewis Reece, is now taking authorities to burial sites where they’re digging up the remains of young women. This has been an amazing development, one I honestly didn’t see coming. When I interviewed Reece for “Deliver Us” in 2013, he denied having murdered any of the girls. When I point blank asked if he was a serial killer, he looked at me in kind of a sideways glance, smiled and said in his slow Oklahoma drawl, “I didn’t kill no girls.”

I didn’t believe him. Yet I never thought I’d know for sure, that he would ever admit the killings.

Why now? Authorities aren’t yet saying how this all unfolded, why Reece has suddenly agreed to lead them to these girls’ remains, but from what I’ve been able to uncover, there are two forces at play here. The first is that after my book came out, Reece was charged with a murder in Oklahoma, based on newly discovered DNA. The second: Reece has a heart condition. I’d heard a couple of years ago that he had surgery, and a stent inserted. His attorney, Anthony Osso, recently said that Reece has heart disease, and that he's refusing further surgeries.

All of this happening just a year after “Deliver Us” came out is, of course, interesting. I do truly believe that the book helped put these events into motion. Over the three years I worked on "Deliver Us," I talked to folks in agencies with jurisdictions over the killings and repeatedly asked them to reopen the cases, to look for the evidence and find out if they had anything available to test for DNA. I told many about my impression of Reece, my experiences interacting with him, and my belief that he murdered Laura Smither and Tiffany Johnston, and perhaps Jessica Cain.

However, I can’t take any credit for actually solving these crimes. That goes to the many folks in law enforcement who worked hard on the cases, those who investigated Reece and convinced him to come forward. We also can't forget the wonderful volunteers with Texas Equusearch, who donated their time and hard work to recovering the bodies.

One other set of those involved - folks I can't say enough good things about - are the families of the victims, many of whom have never stopped pushing authorities to investigate the cases and never given up hope of one day knowing who killed their loved one. In the Johnston case, Tiffany's mom, Kathy Dobry, never let her daughter's case drop. In contact with investigators, she continually urged them to look for evidence.

I’d like to think that Reece is telling law enforcement where the girls' remains are buried out of whatever tiny sliver of remorse he has in his heart. But I don’t believe that. The Bill Reece I spent time with was cocky and arrogant. We corresponded, writing back and forth for a year, and even in his letters he was controlling and manipulative. My guess is that what’s really happening here is that Bill Reece has something he wants, and coming forward now is aimed at getting it for him. Will it rid him of the Texas cases, plea bargaining them down to life and erasing the potential death penalties? Will cooperating with Texas authorities delay his trip to Oklahoma where he already faces the death penalty? Or is there something else Reece wants? We won’t know until this drama plays out and authorities reveal what negotiations have gone on behind the scenes.

Understandably, as the only journalist to have interviewed Reece in nearly two decades, my phone has been ringing for weeks as this drama unfolds. The main question I’m being asked: Who is William Lewis Reece? That’s a fair question. Rather than answer it over and over again, I’ve decided to write this blog and tell the world some of what I know about the shadowy figure in this dark drama.

Let’s start where he did, in Oklahoma. Bill Reece, Billy to his friends, grew up in the small town of Anadarko, an hour southwest of Oklahoma City. His parents divorced when he was a year old, and Reece’s mom remarried, and the household was reportedly chaotic. Reece has said that he didn’t get along well with his stepdad, and from adolescence to the age of fifteen, Bill Reece lived in a children’s home, one on acreage that functioned as a working ranch. While there, Reece learned to shoe horses, and from his teenage years on worked partly as a farrier. After he left school, Reece served in the Oklahoma National Guard.

What turned Bill Reece into the monster he is today? Someone who is allegedly connected to the murders of at least four young women? I don’t know about Reece in particular, but doing the research for the book, I learned that most serial killers have early experiences that mix violence and sex. In fact, two of the self-described serial killers in “Deliver Us” told me about just such experiences during interviews, saying they were sexually active as children. One said he was beaten as a consequence, the other that he began acting out violently during sex play as young as seven.

Many of these men, and they are nearly all men, have histories of animal abuse. In Reece's case, there have been allegations over the years that he's abused the horses he's been hired to shoe, and one person who hired him to work with her horses has said that Reece even had a tool he modified to torture the horses.

After his National Guard stint, Reece worked at odd jobs and briefly as a pipefitter, then drove a truck. By his early twenties, women were reporting that Reece was acting out violently toward them, one alleging that he sexually assaulted her. He was also, from a young age, described as a smooth talker, one who used his personality to assuage those who questioned his actions. He married twice, once in the seventies, he divorced in the early eighties, then married again. He has four children.

In 1986, when he was 27-years-old, Reece was convicted on two cases of sexual assault, both described in detail in "Deliver Us." An indication of how compulsive his behavior was, how out of control he was even then, is that Reece assaulted the second woman while under indictment for the first attack, an abduction and sexual assault. He was sentenced to serve 25 years.

As a result, for ten years Reece was confined to an Oklahoma prison. One of the interesting things is that during that time, despite being behind bars, his behavior didn’t change. A source I interviewed who knew him during those years told me that the female guards and the women who worked in the prison were uncomfortable around Reece, that he made untoward comments to them, addressed them in odd ways, stared at them and watched. Some of the women workers even described it as feeling as if Reece stalked them.

In 1996, due to a technicality in the way the charges against him were written, his convictions were upheld but his sentence was overturned. At that juncture, authorities in Oklahoma could have retried the sentencing phase, but instead released Reece for time served.

After getting out, Reece first stayed in Oklahoma, near the prison. Some of the women who’d complained about his conduct behind bars called authorities when he showed up at their homes.

From Oklahoma, in early 1997, Reece relocated to Houston, where his second ex-wife and members of his family lived, and he moved into an apartment near Hobby airport. At that point, Reece traveled back and forth between Texas and Oklahoma, leaving a bloody trail.

While I haven’t yet updated “Deliver Us” to include the most recent events because I am waiting for all of this to shake out, the book includes detailed accounts of many of the cases now making headlines, as well as a chapter on my one-on-one prison interview with Reece. And for those of you who wondered about the early life of the alleged serial killer behind the headlines, I hope this answered some of your questions. I know a bunch more, but I'm saving it for the update. Much of it is truly shocking!  Read More 
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Why I wrote DELIVER US

I often have readers email to ask how certain books came about. It's an understandable question. I mean, just peruse your daily newspaper. I write about crime cases, real ones, usually murders. Sadly, newspapers across the U.S., actually, I suspect, around the world, are filled with possible subjects. Some, like the Jodi Arias or Casey Anthony cases, make news for months, even years. Others come and go, generating little more than a paragraph or two in the city section. No matter how much attention each attracts, they all have stories behind them, people involved, events that led to the killings, investigations that may or may not have led to killers.

So why write a book on the I-45/Texas Killing Fields? Why now?

For those of you who aren't familiar with the cases, the truth is that they've haunted me since soon after I landed in Houston, back in the eighties. Over the years, I've seen the articles in the Houston Chronicle, teenage girls abducted and missing on or near I-45. In the nineties, the Chronicle and the Galveston County Daily News both started running charts, showing the girls' photos.

From that point on, I knew one day I would have to write about the cases. I couldn't forget the girls. They lived in the back of my mind. As I wrote book after book, I always knew eventually I'd have to do my best to find out who the girls were, how they'd disappeared, and why their murders remained unsolved. I confess that it became something of a compulsion.

"But why now?" you ask. Some of these cases are more than forty years old. Why do they deserve attention at this point in time?

Why not now?

Ironically, I began my research at a time when some of the cases first started to come together. One actually led to a trial. While I worked on DELIVER US, I discovered that although they'd never entered a courtroom charged with any of the girls' murderers, there were suspects. So I did what I always do in my books; I gave the folks believed to have committed the murders the opportunity to talk. I went inside Texas prisons and sat down with men who described themselves as vicious serial killers. And I listened as they told me how and why they murdered their victims.

It was terrifying.

DELIVER US took me three solid years to research and write. I investigated eighteen murder cases. Attended two trials. Interviewed three inmates behind prison walls.

The result, I admit, is a troubling book. It's an unflinching look inside a tragedy, the continuing murders of teenage girls just outside America's fourth largest city. This isn't happening in isolation, but along one of the nation's busiest highways.

I looked at this phenomenon from all sides: survivors, victims' families, investigators, and the alleged killers. And in the end, this book changed me in ways I couldn't have predicted.

I hope you'll read the prologue to DELIVER US, now available by clicking the link under excerpts in the left-hand column of this Website. And if you like the sample, that you'll read the book.

Why? These are important cases, exposing evil at its core. And the girls deserve to be remembered.  Read More 
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