Praises for Brother’s Blood

Brother’s Blood: A Heartland Cain and Abel is coming this fall. The positive comments are coming in:

“Anyone who is acquainted with the Iowa family murder recounted here will not only revisit the facts as they are known, but also speculate with the author about what thoughts might have gone through the twisted mind of the perpetrator—both perspectives in keeping with the rich potential of ‘faction.’ Those familiar with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood will find Cawelti’s handling of fact and fiction masterful and will conclude Capote has nothing on Cawelti.  All readers should steel themselves for a disturbing encounter with the bafflements of a brother’s commission of a horrific act and an unpardonable sin.”
—Robert Gish, author, West Bound: Stories of Providence

“The Marks were an Iowa farming family less well-known than the Clutters of Kansas, but comparable in the hideousness of their murders. Using interviews and trial transcripts, Scott Cawelti has given us the terse and mercifully distanced account of how one jealous brother carried out the crime. The allusion to Cain and Abel is apt; one dearly wishes the killer had read that story, and learned its lesson.”
—Robley Wilson, author, The Victim’s Daughter

“The happy story of the family farm, father and sons laboring together in the fields glad of one another’s company, masks an ugly truth. There is money in the land. There is jealousy between brothers, and fathers have favorites. In Brother’s Blood, Scott Cawelti pries his fingers into the horrible wound that can result and shows us that awful truth.”
—J. Harley McIlrath, author, Possum Trot

“I still recall the fear of that Halloween weekend when a mass murderer stalked our town. Scott Cawelti painstakingly brings together all the material to answer the questions that still haunt us regarding this brutal tragedy, and even takes the risk of entering the murderer’s mind.”
—Barbara Lounsberry, author, Time and Chance

“Brother’s Blood is a thoroughly researched and straightforward account of a horrific crime. Scott Cawelti has captured the darkest of deeds—the cold-blooded and premeditated murder of family members. Reminiscent of true crime classics like In Cold Blood and Fatal Vision, Brother’s Blood is absorbing, tense, and disturbing. Scott Cawelti’s well-researched and taut narrative will keep readers turning the pages.”
—Thomas Wolf, co-author, Midnight Assassin: A Murder in
America’s Heartland

“Read this book? Sure. Just don’t plan on sleeping anytime soon. Scott Cawelti rejuvenates the crime procedural by imagining his way fully into the heart of a promising classmate—and convicted killer—and elevates the form by inviting us on a dark, harrowing ride. In the book’s heartbreaking coda, we interrogate Cawelti’s sources directly. And this, I’m convinced, is what makes Brother’s Blood such an engrossing read. A lifelong essayist, Cawelti knows how to include the reader in a conversation. What makes a killer different from you and me? Something in the blood? Mere circumstance? Cawelti has ideas. And so, I’m sure, will you.”
— John Bresland, Tamarack Award Winner for Fiction, and
Nonfiction Writer-in-Residence, Northwestern University

“A provocative work of creative nonfiction that includes some wonderful leaps of imaginative fiction (revolving around motivations, dreams, and trenchant dialogue) to tell its story of betrayal and murder. Cawelti’s Jerry Mark is a borderline sociopath, his dreams revealing a cold, cold heart, and like James M. Cain’s Walter Neff he’s a smart-talking character who’s not quite as smart as he thinks he is. Genuinely creepy and compelling.”
—Grant Tracey, editor, North American Review and author,
Lovers & Strangers