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Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle Paperback – August 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Runner and longtime Green Bay, Wis. resident Drews revisits the mid-1980s death of her close friend and fellow runner, popular high school teacher Pam Bulik. She chronicles the small community's response to Pam's death, suspicions of suicide that rang false, and the subsequent naming of Pam's husband, Bob Bulik, as the primary suspect. Events, including Bob's alleged affair, drag readers through the gruesome and tawdry details, some difficult to read (especially in descriptions of the victim). Like Melanie Thernstrom's The Dead Girl, about the life and tragic death of her best friend, this title also relies on the strong bond between author and victim for emotional weight; passages about their shared moments, and Drews's feelings of emptiness in the decades since, are remarkable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Runner and longtime Green Bay, Wis. resident Drews revisits the mid-1980s death of her close friend and fellow runner, popular high school teacher Pam Bulik... Like Melanie Thernstrom's The Dead Girl, about the life and tragic death of her best friend, this title also relies on the strong bond between author and victim for emotional weight; passages about their shared moments, and Drews's feelings of emptiness in the decades since, are remarkable. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.  - Publishers Weekly

?Run at Destruction is a tragic?yet fascinating?true story of an unfathomable death in the Heartland of America. It happened in a wholesome community of runners and educators, perhaps the last group you would expect to be involved? in secret affairs, deception, and infidelity. Except for the bond between mothers and their children, there may be nothing stronger than women friends who are there to pick up the pieces when the world explodes, and to listen with true concern. Author Lynda Drews writes of her lost friend, and of her own efforts to find justice for Pam Bulik. Readers will find themselves walking along with Drews as she describes an enviable friendship, her grief when it ended suddenly, and the layers she peeled away to find the truth. Wonderfully written. A must for true-crime readers.??Ann Rule, New York Times Best-Selling True Crime author of The Stranger Beside Me, Small Sacrifices and Mortal Danger

Lynda Drews has produced a riveting read in Run at Destruction, the compelling story of a good friend who was murdered - or was she? Drews takes us on a jog back in time to the running boom of the 1980's when all sorts of folks laced up some training shoes and took to the streets in search of fitness, competition, and as it turns out romance in the form of the tangled web of a love triangle. The story begins when Drews' training companion Pam Bulik fails to show up for local half-marathon event in Green Bay, Wisconsin and is found dead in a hot tub. The pace never lets up as Drews layers portrayals of friendships and fitness within a running community with the meticulous detective work and courtroom drama and intrigue that accompanies a baffling murder mystery. As the trial unfolds, Drews places you in the juror's box as the evidence teeters between premeditated murder and a tragic accident, and you must decide. This is the 2009 runner's read. - Sean Hartnett, a correspondent for Track & Field News

Run at Destruction captures the family-like culture of a running group, showing how its members support one another especially in times of crisis. - Dave McGillivray, Race Director of the Boston Marathon

Reader groups everywhere will find Run at Destruction intriguing and thought-provoking. The characters struck a familiar chord inspiring endless discussion. - Lora Stemke, Titletown Teachers Reader's Group

Run at Destruction is written with the beat of a runner's heart: steady intensity racing toward an inevitable finish. Drews is the John Grisham of the running world, pulling readers into a unique subculture where the drama unfolds. - Sean Ryan, Race Director, Cellcom Green Bay Marathon
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Titletown Publishing LLC; 1 edition (August 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982000928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982000922
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In March 2014 my first work of fiction, CIRCLE OF INNOCENCE was released. It's a mystery that takes place in Door County, Wisconsin, a beautiful spot surrounded by water. It has more light houses and state parks than any other county in the U.S. But within this beauty - evil is lurking. I hope you enjoy it!

These are the reviews I received on my book:

"CIRCLE OF INNOCENCE excels in psychological depth and detail even as
it exposes a community replete with secrets and hidden threats. Any
who want a strong saga of abduction, murder, and evolving danger... with
more than a touch of romantic possibility, will find Drews' novel fits
the bill." --Diane Donovan ~ Midwest Book Review

"Every shocking twist in CIRCLE OF INNOCENCE lands on the reader like
waves on a Door County beach, as Drews explores the dark heart of a
beautiful place." --Brian Freeman, Bestselling Author of THE BONE HOUSE

"Drews' plot has more twists and surprises than the winding back roads
of Door County! Whether you're a fan of mystery novels, of Door
County, or both, you'll find CIRCLE OF INNOCENCE hard to put down."
--Sean Ryan, Director of Door County Century, Door County Triathlon,
and the Fall 50

In 2013 my book rights for RUN AT DESTRUCTION reverted back to me. On Amazon.com, it is now listed as a NEW book rather than on the front page. I will sign any books you order from me. The seller is: Run at Destruction Author - signed copy mailed. In August of 2013 my book inspired a cable TV show on Deadly Affairs (Investigation Discovery Channel). It documented the true life drama I lived through back in 1984.

Since 1974, my husband, Jim, and I have lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin, raising two sons, Collin and Chris, and are on our fifth dog, a golden retriever named Bailey. Jim and I were both raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I met him in kindergarten where the two of us used to play kick-the-can and sardines together! After high school both of us attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. As a freshman, I'd really enjoyed two basic studies courses: creative writing and introduction to computer science. The latter was a new and emerging field and I was encouraged by my professors to be the first woman graduate. So, I put my writing passion on the backburner until I retired from my 30-year career with IBM. Ever since some terrible tragedies occurred within Green Bay's close-knit running community, I'd believed I had a story to tell. My first book, Run at Destruction is that outcome.

I believe Run at Destruction is unique. It's the only book that I know that's categorized in these two ways: first-True Crime and second-Sports/Running. Because of this I needed to secure two different kinds of endorsements.

Back in the spring of 2007, I'd been able to locate the email of the New York Times Best-Selling True Crime author, Ann Rule, who's written The Stranger Beside me, about the Ted Bundy serial killer case, Small Sacrifies and Mortal Danger. I naively wrote her, asking if she'd read my manuscript and then, if she liked it, write a blurb. Amazingly, Ann wrote me back and said, "I try to read bound galleys that have been purchased and are scheduled for release and write blurbs if I find the book something my readers would enjoy. So I have to say 'no' right now, but you could contact me when your have sold your book and it's about six months to being published."

So... time warp to the spring of 2009. I had found my publisher and had an August release date. I had met Ann's criteria and mailed her my bound galley. Even though she was in the process of writing two new books, and working on two mini-series about earlier ones, (one of them is being filmed in Canada staring Rob Lowe), she emailed me and said, "I've read the first several pages and I can tell you've done a good job... I will give you a quote. Congratulations on finding a publisher. It's not easy these days."

In addition to getting the comment from Ann, I was excited when she listed my book as a recommended read on her website's front page. This is her blurb:

"Run at Destruction is a tragic-yet fascinating-true story of an unfathomable death in the Heartland of America. It happened in a wholesome community of runners and educators, perhaps the last group you would expect to be involved, however tangentially, in secret affairs, deception, and infidelity. Except for the bond between mothers and their children, there may be nothing stronger than women friends who are there to pick up the pieces when the world explodes, and to listen with true concern. Author Lynda Drews writes of her lost friend, and of her own efforts to find justice for Pam Bulik. Readers will find themselves walking along with Drews as she describes an enviable friendship, her grief when it ended suddenly, and the layers she peeled away to find the truth. Wonderfully written. A must for true-crime readers."

The second endorsement I wanted was from the running community: In addition to the back cover blurbs that I received from both the Boston Marathon and the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon's Race Directors, I emailed Sean Hartnett, a correspondent for Track & Field News. He responded a week later saying that he'd been off interviewing some Kenyan runners and had returned to five pages of emails. "Mine," he said, "was by far the most interesting. And, he'd be glad to read my book and provide a blurb." This is what Sean Hartnett said:

"Lynda Drews has produced a riveting read in Run at Destruction, the compelling story of a good friend who was murdered - or was she? Drews takes us on a jog back in time to the running boom of the 1980's when all sorts of folks laced up some training shoes and took to the streets in search of fitness, competition, and, as it turns out, romance, in the form of the tangled web of a love triangle. The pace never lets up as Drews layers intriging portrayals of a running community's friendship, detective work, and courtroom drama, within a baffling murder mystery. As the trial unfolds, Drews places you in the juror's box as the evidence teeters between premeditated murder and a tragic accident, and you must decide. This is the 2009 runner's read."

One thing that has held steady for me, through my career at IBM and now as an author, is that I've been a runner, though I've never been a star like my husband, who qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Marathon Trials, had a collegiate cross country invitational named for him, and beat out Packer coach Bart Starr as Green Bay's Athlete of the year. I'm just one of the twenty million US women runners, and am proud to say that I've completed 8 marathons and more than a dozen halfs.

Run at Destruction takes place within a close-knit community of runners that included my best friend, Pam Bulik, and her husband Bob. It details her tragic death and his subsequent trial. People ask me why I wrote my book. My answer is, that I wanted to resolve, for myself, why Pam actually died. To do this, I had to wear two hats. First, I played a major character immersing myself in the turmoil I'd felt at that time, but second, I had to become an unbiased narrator, removing my emotions, from the equation, and taking a reporter's approach, while analyzing the evidence.

To prepare myself to write Run at Destruction, I needed to learn how to make a non-fiction account read like a novel, otherwise I knew it wouldn't be interesting. In addition to the creative writing class I'd taken in college, while at IBM, I'd also taken a writing children's literature course through the mail. Then, after retiring, I read dozens of books on how to write a good novel and attended three writing workshops in Washington D.C., New York City, and Door County.

In tandem, I was doing extensive research: I documented my memories, interviewed both friends and Pam's family, read running logs from those years, and perused photo albums. I also secured high school and college yearbooks.

Within my book there is a love-triangle between three teachers. Pam and Bob are two corners and the third was another teacher within our running group, also named Linda. Luckily, though, I spell my name with a Y while she spells her with an "I." I discovered where she went to high school and then couldn't believe my luck when I found an old yearbook on e-bay, from the year she graduated, that I bid on and won.

Linda had written a poem published inside - entitled "a time that we own." It expressed her feelings about leaving high school and moving forward into her new future. It ended with these lines:
How suddenly we are betrayed by a time that we own no longer.
So let us dare to BE.

In addition, I needed to research the details surrounding the investigation into Pam's death and subsequent trial. In the Brown County Courthouse I scanned three massive boxes of court records into my laptop, plugging parking meters every two hours. While doing this tedious job, I listened to books on tape. One day, by mistake the earphones became unplugged so I kept turning up the tape louder.... Someone finally tapped me on the shoulder and said the whole office was listening to a suggestive sex scene. Boy was I embarrassed.

A large portion of the book gives you a front row seat within the 10-day trial. I was allowed in the courtroom for the opening statements and then was sequestered until I testified on day seven. When I wasn't present, I relied on the court transcripts and also the notes of a good friend, who sat through the entire trial.

To understand the police investigation, I purchased two immense boxes of police records and more than 100 photos. I read old newspaper articles, interviewed detectives, attorneys, the judge, the coroner, the psychiatrists, and even three of the jurors.

While researching my book, I gradually uncovered new insight about Pam and myself. Removed from my emotions, the media, and the biases of friends, I shockingly discovered that my previous beliefs about Pam's death, had changed.

I also realized how much I still miss her.

Watch a video of my interview on Fox 11 Television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXg8vqY-ONM

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mark W. Palmer on August 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I started leafing through this true-crime book about a Green Bay murder, I had no intention of actually reading the thing. To my surprise though, the 2009-published tale describes events of a quarter-century earlier. On the very first page I recognized people I had met and places I had visited while summering with cousins in 1984. To this day, my aunt and uncle continue to be good friends of many of the book's principal characters.

While that was the initial hook, the story's excellent organization made it captivating. The author (Lynda Drews) has an uncanny feel for how much "backstory" is just enough before returning to the post-crime narrative and unfolding of the criminal case. This pattern repeats through the first half of the book but is handled so deftly as to keep the reader fully engaged. The book's second half is mostly a skilfully told account of the murder trial. Here again Drews takes the reader through a week and a half of arguments and testimony, hitting the key material with perfect pacing and never bogging down in minutiae.

While I am not a fan of the true-crime genre, I cannot help but think that this book is a rarity in the category simply by virtue of the fact that Lynda Drews herself was one of the closest confidants of the murder victim. This gives the book a level of personal insight and authenticity seldom reached by investigative journalists and big-time writers who later try to elbow their way onto a crime scene. That Drews should turn out to have the patience and skill to craft such a readable and fascinating book in her authoring debut is nothing short of remarkable.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Cbryce on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
there is way too much in the book about marathon running, so unless that is a particular interest, you may tend to, as I did, skip paragraphs and entire pages owing to so much about the various races the author runs...
I read a lot of true crime and prefer when a book is written by someone from outside of the victim's realm, as it tends to be somewhat more neutral...this is written by the best friend of the victim so of course it is highly tilted toward the husband being guilty in her mind. Also the smalltown mentality of Green Bay in the early-mid 80's tended to view adultry with such horror, that anyone who commit that could do almost anything...you get the feeling that this man does not have a chance, guilty or not.

But it is an interesting story if you are one that does not mind reading as much as about the author and her family as about the victim and the crime. I would not have purchased it, probably, if I had taken note that the author was so close to the victim.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By N. Revelle on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I lived and breathed this enthralling book from the first page to the last. Lynda has written a true crime book that instantly hooks her readers and takes them back to her life in Green Bay in the early 1980s. She shares the history of the first running group in the area. She introduces us to Pam Bulik, her best friend and running partner. She describes the spiraling down of Pam's relationship with her husband, Bob and his long-term affair that leads to repeated betrayals and ultimate tragedy. Though this book is nonfiction, it reads like a captivating novel with a plot that's pure action from start to finish. The main characters are so well-developed that I felt like they were my friends, too. Most of the characters are respected professionals, rock-solid citizens of Titletown--primarily teachers and athletes--which renders the murder even more bizarre.

The author maintains a fine balance between her factual reports and her personal reflections--past and present. And, while she reports on the investigation and courtroom scenes, these sections are not bogged down with sticky details. To personalize her story further, she intersperses photos of her running friends and their families. Also included are pictures of the crime scene and evidence. Near the end of this riveting book, Lynda throws us a curve ball. She presents some facts recently gleaned in the process of her research. They muddy the waters for her and her readers: what really happened: was Pam's death a murder (cold-blooded or accidental) or was it suicide? Questions resonate in our heads long after we turn the final page. And Lynda's memories of Pam, her dearly cherished best friend, are immortalized in our hearts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Courtney Goddard on August 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
You will not be able to put this book down. This is a read much like the races described inside, at times painful but the end is worth every tough mile. Because the author lived through this story, the reader is able to get so much deeper into the minds and hearts of each character. This is one of the best true crime accounts I have ever read, even though I still don't know what truly happened to Pam. Premeditated murder, suicide or tragic accident? Read this book and decide for yourself, the author gives you every tool except the actual truth, which only two people know and dead men tell no tales....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gary Taylor VINE VOICE on February 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Imagine yourself as a suburban yuppie, enjoying the high drama of PTA debates over the best date for next year's spring carnival or the nail-biting election of a new secretary at the little league. Votes tallied, you all gather for a barbecue on someone's brick patio, share some stories about the challenges of the local park landscaping project and then drift away to make plans for church on Sunday. Now imagine you've heard some whispers about infidelity among your ranks. Juicy for gossip, eh? Suddenly, the cheater's wife dies under mysterious circumstances and the cheater is questioned by police. Now comes the reality of serious crime invading your perfect life.

If you can imagine all that, you'll be right at home in suburbia with Run at Destruction, the true crime memoir and maiden literary effort from retired Wisconsin marketing executive Lynda Drews. Hard-core veterans of the true crime genre will likely find the book a bit naïve and tedious, with Drews recounting the 1984 Green Bay murder case of best friend Pam Bulik like an ingénue attending her first debutante ball. She agonizes in suspense, for example, while waiting for the trial judge to consider the defense attorney's standard motion to dismiss--an exercise made for the record in every trial after the prosecution rests and routinely rejected by the judge in all but the most unusual of cases. She likely delivers the book's own epitaph for some of the true-crime faithful when she compares its events with a story arc from the 1980s prime time soap opera, Knot's Landing.

But I enjoyed Knot's Landing, myself, and considered it a guilty pleasure.
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