There are many levels of villainy, from dashing finger to downright evil, and Jane Ann Turzillo hits them all in “Wicked Cleveland.”
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In the first part, “Sex, Vice and Rock-and-Roll”, Turzillo returns to the bad old days of downtown burlesque, crowd-hanging spots like the famous Theatrical Grill, and raids on gambling clubs. , with Eliot Ness leading the troops. She then jumps forward a few decades to the ultimately tragic story of punk rock singer Wendy O. Williams, who faced an obscenity charge after an appearance at the Agora.
Part two, “Cops, Bodies, and Crooks,” includes the story of the assassination of President William McKinley by Cleveland resident Leon Czolgosz, but also the grim 1923 murder of a Cleveland patrolman by a man who was arrested for receiving stolen goods. In 1975, a habitual bank robber broke into the Society National Bank with a fake bomb and took hostages, his chances of success diminishing as his chest pains intensified: it looked like he had left his heart medication in the car.
“Blazes, Bombs and Beer” is a catch-all chapter that traces the “burning river” back to its first recorded fire in 1868 and through its worst pollution; the Cleveland Indians’ disastrous Ten-Cent Beer Night promotion in 1974 and, the ultimate Turzillo story, the location of a bank robber who disappeared in 1969. After 50 years, Turzillo helped find out what happened to him .
Some of the stories won’t be familiar, but Turzillo’s research provides some insight into some of the most well-known stories of villainy.
“Wicked Cleveland” (128 pages, softcover) costs $21.99 from History Press. Two of Turzillo’s books, “Wicked Women of Ohio” and “Unsolved Murders & Disappearances in Northeast Ohio”, were nominated for Agatha Awards in the Best Nonfiction category.
Turzillo will sign “Wicked Cleveland” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lakewood Public Library, 15425 Detroit Ave.
“Cycling Through Columbine”
Children cowered in a classroom, hiding from teenagers armed with semi-automatic weapons they had legally acquired. One of the deadliest school shootings in the United States occurred in April 1999 in Columbine, Colorado.
Akron native Robert Case, a child protection attorney, worked in the county courthouse about 15 miles away, and his thoughts on the Columbine tragedy form “Cycling Through Columbine.”
The book is framed by a biking trip Case took with four other men in 2017, starting on the Oregon coast with the goal of cycling cross-country. They are strangers to each other; they connected through an organization called Adventure Cycling, which also offers routes. As Case drives, he hopes to receive text messages from his daughter, now a Navy veteran, and discovers the Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps, who rode through Montana in 1896.
Case’s two children were in high school but did not attend Columbine. He was related to one of the victims, a 16-year-old boy who had been placed in a program for students with special needs. Case attended the funeral and laid flowers at a memorial. Almost 20 years later, the boy’s memory remains with him.
Men feel welcome in Oregon, with an invitation to a picnic and backyard bonfire; less so in Washington, where a sheriff’s deputy gives them a hostile reception.
A week after the Columbine shooting, the National Rifle Association was to hold its annual convention in Denver, about 15 miles away. There were massive protests.
“Cycling Through Columbine” (264 pages, softcover) is $18 from Bottom Dog Press.
Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Brooke Bobincheck signs her futuristic fantasy “Blood Claws Rising: Tales of the Sanguine Empire,” 1 p.m. Sunday; Lady Poet signs her memoir “In His Eyes: Finding My Way Back to God”, Sunday at 3 p.m.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Gates Mills Branch, 1491 Chagrin River Road): Bette Lou Higgins signs “Lost Restaurants of Cleveland,” Wednesday, 2-3 p.m. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Morley Library: Kristen O’Neal talks about her teen novel “Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses” in a Zoom event at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Register at morleylibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton Branch, 5071 Wallings Road): John Grabowski speaks on “A History of Immigration and Migration to Greater Cleveland,” 7-8 p.m. Thursday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Olmsted Branch, 27403 Lorain Road): Angie Hockman, whose “The Hustler” won a Golden Heart Award in the thriller category from Romance Writers of America, talks about her romance novel “Dream On,” 7 p.m. 8 p.m. Thursday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library: Alka Joshi, author of “The Henna Artist” and its sequel “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur,” talks about his work and answers questions during a virtual event from 9-10 p.m. Thursday. Register at smfpl.org.
Bookstore of the learned owl (204 N. Main St., Hudson): TW Poremba signs “Sfumato: A Story of Love, Loss, and Hope,” 1-3 p.m. Saturday.
Chagrin Falls Town Hall (83 N. Main St.): Angie Hockman talks about “Dream On,” 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Sign up by emailing [email protected]
Victorian Reeves House and Carriage House Museum (325 E. Iron Ave., Dover): Linda Castillo debuts “The Hidden One,” 14th in her Kate Burkholder series about a police chief in a small town in Holmes County, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday. Bring a lawn chair; register at doverlibrary.org.
Visible voice books (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): Kent State University alumnus Megan Neville launches her poetry collection “The Fallow” in a conversation with “Rust Belt Femme” memoirist Raechel Anne Jolie at 7 p.m. Saturday.
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