Daisy Zick – 1950
This week my latest true crime book, Murder in Battle Creek – The Mysterious Death of Daisy Zick, starts shipping. It usually takes a few days for this to work its way through the distribution pipeline. Unfortunately I’m going to be out of pocket for most of the week; meaning that many of you will see the final book before I do.
I have to admit, I get a little excited when a book like this finally starts getting read. This book is a little more exciting for me. I’ve written true crime books before and am working on one right now. What sets this one apart is that this crime remains unsolved.
I always feel I take my readers on a journey through time and space. Having written historical books before, I know I need to put the reader in the community where this crime took place – and in this case, back to the year 1963. This journey is different though. Unlike a traditional true crime book where I’m able to tie a bow on it with the conviction of the murderer, this crime remains open to this day. The trip I take the reader on is right beside me, attempting to make sense out of a half-century old case file and interviews. At the end of this trip, we end up at the same place – each with our own opinion as to who may have committed this brutal killing. I know some readers will go to the places in this book and I hope some will take up the quest themselves to bring final justice to Daisy’s family. We will walk down this path together, but as a writer, I can only take you so far.
In the past I always change the names of some of the people involved. Some true crime authors do this, some don’t. In this case, I opted to use their real names. My reason is this case is still unsolved. The use of the real names may trigger a memory, or a story, or the ever-elusive tip that could help the Michigan State Police close this case. The mention of people does not imply their guilt or even association with the crime – it simply means that their names came up during the investigation. I am sure that some people will be offended by this – “How could my father/grandfather have been named?” I’m not passing judgment nor should the reader. The facts of the case are what they are. If you want to see the details, anyone can file a FOIA and pay the copying costs to get a copy of the case file.
Daisy’s murder is still a topic of discussion in Calhoun County Michigan. It elicits theories, speculation, and stories to this day. Every time I’ve been in Battle Creek working on this book, people have reached out to me with their theories. For some reason they are more comfortable talking to an author than the police. Please be assured however, I share the credible tips with the proper authorities.
I’ll be doing a lot of speaking events in August about the book – giving folks enough time to read it. I hope you’ll join me when I’m back in Michigan. I’ll be talking about the things I didn’t include in the book (and why) and provide even more photographs and material than it was practical to put in the book.
Right now (subject to change) I’ll be speaking at:
Monday, August 19: Heritage Monday Night series with the Battle Creek Historical Society. 6 p.m. at the Kimball House Museum.
Tuesday, August 20, Schuler Books in Grand Rapids at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 21: Ann Arbor District Library 7-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 22, Battle Creek’s Willard Library 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 23: Book signing @ Barnes & Noble Kalamazoo, 4-6 p.m.
Saturday, August 24: Book signing @ Barnes & Noble Battle Creek, 2-6 p.m.
I invite you to pop in, say hello, and tell me your story. You can follow this blog to see updates and additions. Remember, we’re on this journey together!