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.