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Luggage By Kroger: A True Crime Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Gary Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Luggage By Kroger has been recognized as one of 2009's top true crime thrillers with honors from five different national book competitions. The scorecard:

* True Crime Silver Medal from the 2009 IPPYs

* True Crime Bronze Medal and Finalist for Book-of-the-Year from the 2008 ForeWord Magazine Book-of-the-Year Awards

* True Crime Runner-Up in the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards

* True Crime Finalist in the 2009 USA Book News Awards

* General Nonfiction Runner-Up at the 2009 New York Book Festival

In this true crime memoir, former Houston Post reporter Gary Taylor recounts his true-life fatal attraction involvement in the trail of violence that has dogged Texas attorney Catherine Mehaffey Shelton for nearly three decades, prompting coverage by newspapers, TV, movies and even Oprah Winfrey. Now Taylor invites readers to grab a seat on the wild ride of an obsessive relationship: erotic beginning to violent end and the trials required to clean up the mess. The result is an adventure odyssey of self-discovery through an encounter that nearly cost him his life.

Editorial Reviews


Remember the movie "Fatal Attraction"? And the movie "Basic Instinct"? And the movie "Play Misty For Me"? Toss all three of the movies in a blender, hit frappe and stand back. What comes out would be Gary Taylor's new book--Luggage By Kroger.

LBK is the story of Gary's intimate relationship with Catherine Mehaffey, which began way back in 1979. As the story opens, Mehaffey is suing her live-in lover for half of everything he has. No, they weren't married. Mehaffey claimed they were some bizarre version of common-law husband and wife, therefore, she was entitled to sue for divorce and get half her husband's money. Before the divorce hearing can take place, Mehaffey's live-in lover husband turns up dead. Somebody beat him to death with a pipe (or some other equally gruesome blunt instrument). Now Mehaffey wants the entire estate and the money from the life insurance policy. And did I mention that Mehaffey is a person of interest to the Houston Police Department. In fact, they consider her their prime suspect.

By the way, did I mention that this is a true story. This is not fiction.

Enter Gary Taylor, who is a reporter for the Houston Post. He's trying to write a story on the whole Mehaffey/murder/quasi-marriage/dead lover/who might be a former husband. Taylor gets shall we say "involved" with Mehaffey. They have lots of steamy sexual interludes. As the freak show, which is called a "relationship" (sounds like a disease), moves along, Taylor begins to wonder about his new girlfriend. What he wonders is if she's just psychosocial or fully psychotic. It's obvious to Taylor that Mehaffey killed her previous live-in lover. And it isn't too long before Mehaffey takes aim - literally - at Taylor. She tries to kill him. I won't describe it, but it involves a .32 caliber handgun, a screaming harridan, and Taylor running away as fast as he can.

LBK is a great book. It's well-written, which means that it moves along and doesn't get bogged down in nonsense that isn't pertinent to the story. And Taylor's voice, which is funny in a I-can't-believe-I-did-this-and-lived kind of way, entertains without trying to deliberately prove he should have been a comedian.

Did I mention another tidbit? It's a self-published book, which is hard to tell because somebody did a good job of editing the text. And somebody (the same person?) did a wonderful job copy-editing the text. I couldn't find one typo or glitch in punctuation. Most self-publishers don't put that kind of time and attention into their final product. The self-publishers forget that when readers pay 20 bucks or more for a book, they want their money's worth. Taylor provides it.

Short review summary: buy this book. It's sick! as the hip kids say. (Guest-reviewed by Randall Radic, author of "A Priest in Hell" and "The Sound of Meat." --Self-Publishing Review, February 4, 2009

From the Publisher


Recognized as one of 2009's top true crime thrillers with a Silver Medal from the IPPYs (Independent Publisher Book Awards), a Bronze Medal from ForeWord Magazine and Runner-Up in the true crime category of the National Indie Excellence Awards.

Finalist: ForeWord Magazine's 2008 Book-of-the-Year Awards.

"Remember the movie Fatal Attraction? And the movie Basic Instinct? And the movie Play Misty For Me? Toss all three of the movies in a blender, hit frappe and stand back. What comes out would be Gary Taylor's new book--Luggage By Kroger."--Self-Publishing Review online magazine.

"--And what a story it turned out to be!"--Reader Views online review.

"A riveting true story that reads like a high-octane crime thriller."--Midwest Book Review

From the publisher

"Catherine was destined to become several important things to me. But most prominently, she would become my problem-solver. Before I met her, I had a bunch of problems. Then, all of sudden, with her in my life I had only one."

In Luggage By Kroger, former Houston Post reporter Gary Taylor recounts his intensely personal involvement in the trail of controversy that has followed former Texas attorney Catherine Mehaffey Shelton for nearly three decades. It's a trail littered with murder investigations and acts of violence that has warranted coverage by media outlets as diverse as People magazine, The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Press, CBS-News 48 Hours and the A&E channel's American Justice. It's a trail that has placed Taylor in the public eye as a true-life fatal attraction interview subject on talk shows from Oprah Winfrey to Sally Jesse Raphael. It's a story that has been twice-optioned for television docudramas and served as the lead segment on a prime-time TV special called Crimes of Passion.

But the intimate details of Taylor's fatal attraction tale have remained under the radar until now. With his true crime memoir, Taylor invites the reader to grab a seat on the wild ride of an obsessive relationship, from its erotic beginning through the violent end and the trials required to clean up the mess. Laying bitterness aside, he employs self-deprecating humor to maintain a reporter's detachment on what emerges as a tale of self-discovery through a potentially deadly encounter that nearly cost him his life.

Beyond that volatile relationship, Taylor's brief backstory offers a historical treasure trove of information from his days as a crime and courts reporter for The Post, covering some of the state's most significant criminal events: from the 1972 murder of Dr. John Hill, through the 1974 siege of Huntsville prison, the trial of officers accused in the death of Joe Campos Torres, early capital murder cases in the death penalty center of America and the Houston trial of Fort Worth tycoon T. Cullen Davis.

Luggage By Kroger defies all efforts to pigeonhole it into one specific genre. In the end, however, it emerges as an action-packed and suspenseful memoir of a personal odyssey that should tantalize a wide range of reading interests.

Product Details

  • File Size: 526 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (November 24, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001TK3VH4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,724 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I remember it well February 15, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I opened Gary's book, it took me back to an early morning telephone call from Nene Foxhall, my colleague at the Houston Chronicle. "Catherine shot Gary." What thing to hear before my first cup of coffee.
Gary (known to those of us who knew him when he worked at the Chronicle as "Junk" because he said he was meaner than a junkyard dog) always was a good writer and this book is no exception. It's making the rounds of those of us who lived through this story. And, we're all buying it so Gary can get his royalties.
The story is simple yet complex. Catherine Mehaffey, then a young lawyer just starting in the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, was suspected to killing or arranging the killing of her former live-in boyfriend, Dr. George Tedesco. Tedesco was found on the floor of his garage with his skull bashed in, probably by a pipe.
The Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney's Office were sure she was guilty and they wanted to nail her for it.
About the same time, Gary Taylor, then a reporter for the Houston Post covering the criminal courts, was going through the divorce crazies. He started dating Catherine and things started getting crazy.
I spent most of it in the small county courthouse press room which I shared with Gary and other reporters, including Jim Strong, Gary's roommate. I tried my best to avoid the drama in Gary's relationship with Catherine but I couldn't avoid it all. It was hard to miss with Strong laughing and playing parts of taped telephone conversations with Catherine. Then there was the time she came to the pressroom and led Gary around by his neck tie.
Without giving too much of the story away, it was a crazy time. After Gary was shot, I carried an Army .
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Happens When You Don't Listen to Nelson Algren August 19, 2010
Former Houston newspaperman, Gary Taylor has, in LUGGAGE BY KROGER, a cool title once I understood it, written a great memoir. The book is 304 pages long, and the first 125 or so present Taylor as a child, a teenager, and to a much greater extent, a college student. Taylor is a baby boomer. He was also, in the manner of so many college students, a promiscuous wise guy with a distinct predilection for the effects of alcohol. Happily, as an adult in the early 80s Taylor appears to have changed very little. This is all to the good as it makes for a book that is anything but boring, and Taylor, a true professional, is just a great writer.
The main focus of the book after we get to know Taylor as a person, is an intense 6 month love/hate affair he had with a deranged Houston lawyer named Catherine Mehaffey. "Why is this relationship that interesting? " I hear you cry. "We've all had intense and difficult relationships with marginally crazy people, haven't we?" All I can say is,"Not THIS crazy."
When Taylor and Mehaffey first got together in 1979, Taylor was in a marriage that was falling apart, and he was, to put it mildly, tom-cattin' around. Meanwhile Mehaffey was, rather than on the rebound from a broken heart, being considered the likely killer of a man she'd lived with for three months, and who when Taylor met her was in the process of trying to get control of the estate. Taylor is clearly a guy who liked a little lunacy with his women and Mehaffey fit the bill. She was per Taylor smart, good looking, and out of control.

Catherine Mehaffey is one of the most dangerous and just bug-nuts people you'll ever read about.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Thought I Had Seen Insanity Before. I Was Wrong October 29, 2009
Many true crime reviews claim a book to be an extremely raw account of crime, but that statement has never been so true as it is with Luggage by Kroger from author Gary Taylor.

As a matter of fact, I found the writing to be so raw that at times I didn't know whether I wanted to sympathize with Taylor or slap him silly.

Gary Taylor walked through a literal hell-on-earth with the psychotic Catherine Mehaffey, yet came out with such a sanguine attitude you can't help but to admire him.

Before reading Luggage by Kroger, I had read others' reviews. I recall one in particular that stated the book contained too much filler. I'm not sure to what the reviewer was referring.

In the beginning it may seem that Taylor is providing too much information about his life - even a bit braggadocio at times - but as one continues reading it becomes obvious these details are important to understanding how Taylor came to be in such precarious circumstances.

I found Luggage by Kroger to be a thought-provoking, emotion-inducing, addictive tale that sucked me in much like Catherine Mehaffey sucked author Gary Taylor into her deranged life.

This award winning true crime gem is highly recommended for your reading list. You don't want to miss it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/4 Stars August 26, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Storyline/Relevance of Material: 3 1/2 Stars

At its core, this book is about the events that transpired when a man got mixed up in an abusive relationship with, from what I can tell, a woman with severe psychological problems. The book begins with some information about the woman, then switches over to Mr. Taylor's life story.

I was intrigued from the beginning by the information on Catherine's past relationships prior to her meeting Gary. Then, Mr. Taylor switched over to accounts of his life from different decades covering his childhood up to his meeting with Catherine.

While Mr. Taylor's life was not uneventful or boring, I still found myself wishing he would `just get on with it.' Therefore, I really felt like at least 25% of this book could have been left out. Those pertinent points of Mr. Taylor's life could have been reduced to a few paragraphs throughout the rest of the book while still maintaining the integrity of the story.

Once Mr. Taylor meandered his way back to his time with Catherine, he did pick up the pace quite a bit. This portion was well-told and much more concise.

Research: 4 Stars

This book was told entirely from Mr. Taylor's viewpoint. I felt that some research was lacking as I would liked to have had a little more background from Catherine's life. She was such a shocking personality.

Other portions of the book were extremely well researched with many interesting facts regarding the Texas judicial system and reporting. Also, there were many actual quotes throughout from recordings and court transcripts.

There is no sugar coating of himself. Mr. Taylor was a womanizer, a cheater, and just not always a nice guy, but he is honest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars only better. The author is one hell of a character
A real life Mickey Spillane, only better. The author is one hell of a character!
Published 1 month ago by Mary M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Maybe you need to be from Texas to really enjoy it, but I am, and I loved it. Glad it wasn't me!
Published 13 months ago by Dave Cunningham
2.0 out of 5 stars Who was more pathetic the writer or the woman.
First no one cares about the extremely boring details of the author's life which took up about half of the book. Does the man have a brain or any morals at all. Read more
Published on May 9, 2012 by Pamela A. Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars "Luggage by Kroger" is a fascinating look into love/lust gone wrong.
"Luggage by Kroger" is a true-crime novel about a Houston cops and crimes reporter getting romantically involved with a lawyer, who just might be a criminal herself, and their... Read more
Published on March 14, 2012 by JLo
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read!
I really enjoyed this book! I love true crime and since I am from Houston, I can relate with all the places he talks of in the book. Read more
Published on November 12, 2011 by J. Leith
3.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable!!!
I would have given this book five stars but I found myself fast forwarding through my Kindle during the first part of the book. Read more
Published on September 30, 2011 by Tracy Swoboda (CA)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
One of the best true crime novels I have read in awhile. Taylor has a great writing style, very easy to read (you can tell he is a journalist). Read more
Published on September 23, 2011 by Strong Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely not fiction
I was in Houston while all this was going on and knew Taylor, but not well, at the time of the shooting. Read more
Published on May 24, 2011 by Bruce Nichols
1.0 out of 5 stars Blech
I bought this on my kindle for younger brother for his high school book report. He likes shows like Criminal Minds and CSI:NY, so he thought this book sounded good. Read more
Published on May 16, 2011 by Amzstar
1.0 out of 5 stars A bunch of slimy people.
I read Luggage by Kroger during the past week on my Kindle. After reading it, I felt like I needed to take a shower. I do not know why this book has received so much praise. Read more
Published on March 6, 2011 by George Rickerson
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More About the Author

During a forty-year career as a newspaper and magazine journalist, I have covered crime, courts and legal affairs for multiple publications, including The Houston Post, The National Law Journal and Time Magazine. I began my career after graduation from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, where I won the Walter Williams Award as the outstanding writer in the class of 1969. As a newspaper reporter, I was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize on a series of stories that freed an aging convict from prison and I won the Texas UPI Enterprise reporting award for stories exposing police corruption. As a freelance journalist from 1980-1997, I expanded my expertise to business writing, sports and larger general interest stories. From 1997 until my retirement in 2012, I specialized in business reporting as a staffer for trade publications covering the chemical and oil industries.

In 2008 I finally had the time to write a true crime memoir about the dramatic events that created a life-defining moment while working as the criminal courts reporter for The Houston Post in 1979. The result has been my award-winning book, Luggage By Kroger. It has been honored with a 2009 Silver Medal for true crime books by the IPPYs, a 2008 Bronze Medal for true crime from ForeWord Magazine and was 2009 Runner-Up in the true crime division of the National Indie Excellence Awards. It also was named a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2009 Book-of-the-Year Award.

In 2012 I published another nonfiction book entitled "I, the People: How Marvin Zindler Busted the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

For more information, visit my website, Taylor's Hole in the Web, at or see the article on me in Wikipedia.

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