"Do you know how to drive a dog crazy? Put him in a box and beat the box with a stick every now and then.
They tell me time is the healer of the mind. I hope that is true.
If I do not know love, I'm nothing.
letter to his mother, 1981.
On Wednesday, December 31 1980, at 4:04 p.m., African American Albert Menefee (Left) was stabbed in the chest outside the Main Utica Tobacco Shop at 1381 Main Street in Buffalo, New York. He survived.
She followed her sister’s suggestion and began her three-year journey of researching thousands of pages of documents, police reports, psychiatric records, court documents, newspaper articles, letters, and diary entries.
The book is divided into five sections: Part One: The .22 Caliber Killer; Part Two: The Midtown Slasher; Part Three: The Quiet Man; Part Four: The Gauntlet; and Part Five: The Box.
Killer and Part Two: The Midtown Slasher detail the actual crimes, the victim’s histories, how the authorities responded, and how the community responded, which at the time was racially divided and literally threw the African American community into epic panic.
Soon, due to self inflected wounds, he was placed in the psychiatric ward at the Martin Army Community Hospital (Above Left) in Fort Benning, Georgia where he gave his first confession to Private First Class Corwin, who was assigned to guard the patient/prisoner named Joseph Christopher. . . (Above Right Christopher at the Martin Army Hospital photographed by the police in April of 1981)
The biggest surprise of this section is the action of Joseph Christopher 14 days before the 36-hour shooting murder spree began. Pelonero details in her book how Assistant District Attorney Duane Stamp (Right) learned that Joseph Christopher visited the Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital on September 8, 1980 seeking help. The Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital psychiatrist and social worker met with Christopher and deemed him not a danger to himself nor to others and told him to go home. They called him a week later for a check up and he revealed to them that he had joined the army.
This explains Pelonero’s exceptional gift and talent of infusing fiction techniques with emphasis on setting and character while still maintaining the facts, authenticities and ambience of every aspect from the tiniest to the grandest of the events and individuals she is writing about. As a result the reader is either witnessing or experiencing the story itself without undermining or diminishing the facts no matter how infinitesimal the facts may be.