Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Readers Are Saying About 'Ghost Burglar'

Author James D. (Jim) King
In writing our book, Ghost Burglar, Jack Burch and I worked in a sort of isolation. We researched and wrote, only sharing our work with each other and Jack’s lovely wife Marion. Marion was our sounding board, not only correcting our grammar and punctuation, but questioning when we might have said something a better way. Fortunately, Marion Burch is a professional editor and knows her stuff. In effect, we were like a three-legged stool of research, memories and editing. So we wrote; Jack wrote his chapters and I wrote mine. Some portions were written together and passed back and forth so many times that neither Jack nor I are sure who wrote which particular sentence.

In my case, some of the writing was very personal, even painful. But for me it was a catharsis. Things I had never spoken of, even hidden, came out– and the pressure was relieved. It turned out to be a sort of therapy for me, but I never expected some of the responses readers would have to these revelations.

I had penned my thoughts while alone, sitting under a tree, never really considering the effect my words might have on others. Some reader comments have been touching and others have made me feel a bit self-conscious. One reader said she cried at the end of the book. I’ve been told that if a reader’s eyes get moist when reading your words, then you did a good job as an author. Perhaps that’s true, but I’m sorry I made a nice lady cry. I just never envisioned that would happen.

I winced a bit when another reader dubbed me a “hero.” It helped some when she explained that she meant a hero in the sense that, in spite of everything, I kept going. Many people do that every day, despite enormous challenges. I just did what most police officers do. I went to work, did my job as best I could, and tried to raise a family. Sometimes it felt like I was slogging through mud, but as the movie “Apollo 13” aptly put it, “Failure was not an option.” It never occurred to me to stop or quit. I just did what needed doing, that’s all.

One reader commented that I was the exact opposite of Bernard Welch. Although it was never my intention to set forth a comparison between Welch and myself, I can agree with that conclusion. I think most people are the opposite of Bernard Welch. Actually, in writing the book, my co-author, Jack Burch, and I talked many times about the stark contrast between Dr. Michael Halberstam and Bernard Welch. One was good to his core and the other selfishly evil. They were like matter and anti-matter coming together to cancel out each other. It was eerie, almost predestined, that these two men should meet and end up destroying one another.

I said it on the day Welch was arrested, and I’ll say it again here. Had it not been for Dr. Halberstam’s bravery and sacrifice, Welch would have raped and robbed many more victims before finally being captured. It is humbling and gratifying to realize how the words we put to paper to tell this story resonate with readers. You get it. Bernard Welch was just one man, but he is also symbolic of the damage selfish, amoral people leave in their wake. Dr. Halberstam symbolizes the best in all of us, people who do their jobs, take care of their families, and do their best to be good neighbors.
                                                                                                    – James King

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ghost Burglar Bernard Welch Caught Off Guard

It was late fall of 1970 and Bernard Welch was still burglarizing houses in the Rochester, N.Y. area.  He broke into a large, turn-of-the-century home with stained glass panels, beveled glass mirrors and mahogany stained built-ins and wide trim and baseboards.  Welch moved quietly through the darkened home from his entry point in the kitchen toward the darkened living room.  Thinking he heard a car outside, he turned off his penlight and slipped it into his pocket.  Silently crossing the wooden floor, he heard a creaking sound from behind, like someone had followed him in from the kitchen. 

As he turned around to look toward the noise, the headlights of an approaching car washed across the room, shining into his eyes.  Always alert, his right hand was already drawing the .380 automatic pistol (the type issued to James Bond in the new movie Skyfall).  He turned and glimpsed a figure headed toward him, a man in dark clothing who appeared to be about Welch's size.  Crouched and armed and without uttering a word, Welch fired twice, plugging two rounds into the upper torso of the man sneaking up on him.  The gunfire seemed to have no effect, and Welch's ears were ringing as the car headlights turned away.  Welch realized the other guy had been silhouetted by the lights just like he was. 

Only then did Welch notice the coat closet door with its full length mirror punctured by two chest-high bullet holes in the now cracked glass.  Welch had shot at his own reflection.  Realizing that the noise from the shots could attract attention, he decided to cut this burglary short and quietly eased out the kitchen door and headed back to his car.

It didn't take long for the investigating officers to figure out what had transpired in front of that mirror.  The police report stated they informed the home owner he was lucky to be out when while an obviously aggressive and dangerous burglar was traipsing through his home.  
                                                                                                 ― Jack Burch

Friday, January 4, 2013

"From the first page...I was gripped."

Ghost Burglar just received a nice review by Ed Newman at Ennyman's Territory. In addition to being gripped from the first page, Newman also raves that "the story features characters and plot twists as interesting as nearly anything by the masterful [Elmore] Leonard."

Head on over to Ennyman's Territory to read the whole review now, and be sure to check back soon, as Newman will be featuring an interview with Jack Burch and James King this weekend.