The idea for writing The Company of Demons came to me years ago, soon after I had moved to Cleveland. Waiting in a bleak conference room for a deposition to begin, I passed the time by examining a few mid-century black-and-whites of the city. As I studied one photograph in particular, an older attorney entered and commented that the picture was of Kingsbury Run, where the Torso Murderer had left many of his victims.
I had no idea whom he was talking about—but was soon hooked on the tale of the infamous, brutal killer. The fact that he had evaded Eliot Ness and terrorized Cleveland for over a decade was both mystifying and gripping. For a time, I considered writing a non-fiction book, focusing on the interaction between Ness and the killer, but could not break away from the idea of a novel that imagined the eerie return of the Torso Murderer to the Cleveland of today.
I then needed a character to tell the story, and didn’t want a stereotypical ex-Navy SEAL, tough guy, hard-bitten private investigator. John Coleman is a deeply troubled man who faces the very real prospect of losing everything he has. As he careens from one life-altering event to another, he can save himself—and his family—only by confronting his own personal demons.
It took years of effort to learn the craft and grasp the process of creating flawed, believable characters whose story we want to know. Seminars, writing conferences, editors, books on writing, and more seminars. And writing, of course, pure and simple. Applying my posterior to a chair for as long as I could tolerate and clicking away at my keyboard until The Company of Demons emerged. Thank you for letting me share with you the enduring mystery of the Torso Murderer.