Southeastern's Norman German publishes novel based on incident in Louisiana history
Contact: Christina Chapple
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HAMMOND – A Savage Wisdom, a novel by Southeastern Louisiana University professor of English Norman German, has been published by Thunder Rain Publishing Corp.
The novel, German's second, was inspired by the life, crimes and legends of Annie Beatrice McQuiston -- also known as Toni Jo Henry -- the first and only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair.
German's fictionalized account of the true crime uses the names and aliases of the murderess and the fact that the killing took place on Valentine's Day in 1940. Tony Jo Henry was executed in Lake Charles in 1942 for the murder of a Houston businessman.
"German's novel is a stark, page-turning re-creation, rich with detail and imagery where intimacy and deception flow into a chilling tragedy,” said Billy Fontenot of Louisiana Literature Review.
Award-winning author and Southeastern writer-in-residence Tim Gautreaux said the work “explores how an innocent woman became a murderer. Norman German's painstaking research of an era in Louisiana history and his intricate characterizations let the reader understand how Toni Jo Henry was deceived, manipulated and ultimately betrayed by the men she loved. On many levels, the novel is a study in how deception leads to fatal consequences.”
A native of Lake Charles, German is fiction editor of Southeastern’s literary journal Louisiana Literature and is a past winner of the university’s prestigious President's Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity. His short stories appear in literary and commercial magazines, including Shenandoah, Virginia Quarterly Review, Salt Water Sportsman, and Sports Fishing.
His novel No Other World fictionalizes the life of Marie Thereze, the ex-slave slaveholder who founded Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches. German has also written scholarly essays on Ernest Hemingway, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and other American writers.
A Savage Wisdom is available from the publisher, www.thunder-rain.com.