An Edgar Award–winning author’s true crime account of a grisly string of killings in Kentucky—and the shocking spectacle of greed that followed.
Kentucky never more deserved its Indian appellation “A Dark and Bloody Ground” than when a small-town physician, seventy-seven-year-old Roscoe Acker, called in an emergency on a sweltering evening in August 1985. Acker’s own life hung in the balance, but it was already too late for his college-age daughter, Tammy, savagely stabbed eleven times and pinned by a kitchen knife to her bedroom floor in Fleming-Neon. Three men had somehow managed to breach Dr. Acker’s alarm and security systems and made off with a substantial amount of the cash he had stashed away in a safe over his lifetime.
The killers—part of a three-man, two-woman gang of the sort not seen since the Bakers—stopped counting the moldy bills when they reached $1.9 million. They found that all the cash came in handy shortly afterwards, when they were caught and needed to lure Kentucky’s most flamboyant lawyer, the celebrated Lester Burns, into representing them.
The acclaimed author of The Hillside Stranglers and Murder in Little Egypt provides “an arresting look into the troubled psyches of these criminals and into the depressed Kentucky economy that became fertile territory for narcotics dealers, theft rings and bootleggers” (Publishers Weekly). Darcy O’Brien (1939–1998) was born in Los Angeles, California. He is a bestselling author of eleven works of fiction and nonfiction, including the PEN/Hemingway Award–winning novel A Way of Life, Like Any Other, based on his experiences with his movie-star parents, George O’Brien and Marguerite Churchill; The Hidden Pope, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; The Hillside Stranglers, which became a bestseller and was made into an NBC TV movie; and Murder in Little Egypt, winner of the Edgar Award. O’Brien’s knowledge of the field of criminal justice made him a frequent speaker and panelist on television and radio, and he published numerous articles in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among others.