Archive for December, 2010

More from the Salt Lake City Crime Blotter

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

A commenter on the Sherry Black murder followup suggested a possible connection between her murder and the arrest of transient Paul David Vara (not Vera) on multiple rape charges. I am unable to find any mention of a connection with the Sherry Black murder, or Lorin Nielsen, or Insane Clown Posse, in the searches on his name, much less the semi-incriminating updates our commenter attributes to him. If our commenter has such links, perhaps he could share them with us. Or, better yet, the Salt Lake City police department, who I am sure are in a much better position to act on such information than I am.

Sherry Black, Pickers, and the Salt Lake City Meth Underworld

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

As far as I can tell, there are no new leads in the murder of bookseller Sherry Black. Or at least none that the police are sharing with the media.

However, that blog update did link to this fascinating piece from 2008 talking about a ring of meth addicts stealing Mormon collectables and selling them to antique dealers, and the (mostly unsuccessful) quest of Randy Holladay to get back his possessions. I am very far indeed from the Salk Lake City antique business, but the story paints them (and the “pickers” that sell to them) in a most unflattering light:

Holladay made one fatal mistake, he says, in his homespun investigation. He gave out his list of stolen property to antique dealers in the first week of March. That’s something the Utah Antique Dealers Association advocates, according to its vice president, Nate Bischoff. One day to the next, though, Holladay says, the trail went cold. He suspects the list was circulated to dealers across the Salt Lake Valley, who then hid from view whatever they had bought of his possessions.

The story it paints of the Salt Lake City police is also less-than-flattering, noting that “In 2007, nine burglary detectives handled 1,300 cases each.” The story also notes:

A month ago, Holladay learned that 10 pages of e-mails he had sent to law enforcement at the beginning of the investigation were being circulated among neighbors and what he calls “various shady people” throughout the city. In those e-mails, Holladay poured out his anger, his fear, his suspicions—accurate or not—of neighbors and others. The district attorney’s office shared the e-mails with defense attorneys in the discovery process. Lloyd says his house was broken into several weeks ago. The only thing taken was the discovery file containing Holladay’s e-mails relating to this case.

Then again, hosility to police is pretty much a given for an “alternative weekly,” so their reporting in that arena may need to be taken with a grain of salt…

Nobody Worry Bout Me

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

In which the true meaning of Christmas turns out to involve 100% more Kenny Loggins than you ever expected.

The Lame Excuse Books December 2010 Catalog

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I sent out the Lame Excuse Books December 2010 to regular customers last week. Here it is (minus the books that sold out) in “just plopped the hell down as text on a blog” form:

Greetings, and welcome to Lawrence Person’s Lame Excuse for a Book Catalog! Once again there’s lots of great stuff, including new books from Joe R. Lansdale, Greg Egan, Jay Lake, Peter Straub, Charles Stross, and the new, definitive H. P. Lovecraft biography (in two hefty volumes!), plus a excellent signed first of Ender’s Game, a bunch of signed Michael Bishop, and numerous small press books from Subterranean, Night Shade and Tachyon, among others. Most in-print books start at $3 off cover price, and as usual I only have one or two copies for many titles, so you might want to act quickly.

The URL for the main Lame Excuse Books webpage is:

I’m still doing a Lame Excuse Books Twitter feed:

Payment, Contact & Shipping Information

E-mail me at I can hold books ten days on e-mail or phone requests (please leave a message on my voice mail for the latter: (512) 569-9036). U.S. shipping is $5.00 for the first book, and $1.00 a book thereafter. Foreign shipping is at cost (please inquire; for most locations, Global Priority starts at $13.00). Books may be returned in the same condition sent for any reason within 10 days of purchase for a full refund. Please make checks payable to Lawrence Person. I can also take Paypal payment from funds on account to this e-mail address at, and I can take MC and Visa directly through my merchant account.

Please mail checks to:

Lawrence Person
Lame Excuse Books
P.O. Box 27231
Austin, Texas 78755

There might be a slight Christmas delay for mailing out some books, but I’ll try to get out as many as I can before the holiday hits full force.

Finally, if you want me to take you off this mailing list, please let me know. I hate spam just as much as the next person.

Now the books!

LP1837. Adams, Douglas, and John Lloyd. The Deeper Meaning of Liff. Harmony Books, 1990. First American edition, a Fine- copy with three small, short lines of writing to front free endpaper, in a Fine dust jacket. Collection of words that don’t exist but should. Seems to have had fewer reprints than Adams’ other works. $15.

LP1838. Bennett, Robert Jackson. Mr. Shivers. Orbit (U.S.), 2010. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Joe Dominici, thriller writer and former co-owner of Future Visions in Houston, called this “The finest first novel I have read in years” just a couple of months before his untimely death earlier this year, and having just read it I agree. It’s the story of several men in the depression hunting down the title character, a tall, scarred man who has violently taken loved ones from each of them. But the longer the search, the more apparent that Mr. Shivers isn’t a man at all, but perhaps the Devil (or even Death) himself. A very strong debut novel, reminiscent of K. W. Jeter’s In the Land of the Dead, but I liked this better. A dark and gripping book. Recommended. I only have one. $15.

LP21. Bishop, Michael. Ancient of Days. Arbor House, 1985. First edition hardback , F-/NF+, with slight bumping to head and heel, a 1/8″ closed tear on heel, and a small amount of wear to bottom boards. Still nice. Signed by Bishop. $9.

LP23. Bishop, Michael. Brittle Innings. Bantam, 1994. First edition hardback, Fine in a Fine dj. Wonderful novel about Frankenstein’s Monster playing minor league baseball in the W.W.II-era south. Hugo nominee. “It’s a helluva novel (one of the best I’ve read in the last ten years), a brilliant period study, and it combines baseball and Frankenstein. What more could you want?” Caroline Spector in Nova Express. Recommended. Signed by Bishop. $20.

LP1327. Bishop, Michael. No Enemy But Time. Timescape Books, 1982. First edition hardback, a NF copy with on long, gray diagonal streak (doesn’t look like a remainder mark) across bottom page block, with a trace of dust soiling on top page block, in a VG dust jacket which is complete, but which has four closed tears at the bottom of the back, each of which was unfortunately at one time “repaired” by non-archival tape which has left light yellow/brownish stains on the back, 2 about 2 1/2″ to 3″, the others about 1/2″; beautiful front and spine, but notably flawed back, and now encased in a dj protector. Not a perfect copy, but a big step up from an Ex-Library copy. Signed by Bishop. $30.

LP386. Bishop, Michael. No Enemy But Time. Timescape, 1982. First edition hardback, an ex-library copy with all the usual flaws, otherwise G+/VG+, with spine leaned and rolled, wear to top and bottom boards, internal mends, leaves starting to loosen (and some mended), and some water rippling or spotting to a few interior pages. A well read copy, but a true first of his Nebula winner. Not too bad spine out, an adequate space filler or reading copy. Signed by Bishop. $10.

LP25. Bishop, Michael. The Secret Ascension (aka Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas). Tor, 1987. First Edition, Hardback NF+/NF, with some slight soiling to page edges, wrinkles, rubbing, and a 1/2″ scratch on the font dj, part of which goes through the dj. Still, better than it sounds. Author’s preferred title is Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas. Went into a second printing almost immediately. Signed by Bishop. $9.

LP22. Bishop, Michael. And Strange at Ecbatan the Trees. Harper & Row, 1976 First edition hardback, ex-Library copy, with all the usual flaws, otherwise VG+/NF-, with significant spine lean. Signed by Bishop. $5.

LP27. Bishop, Michael. Transfigurations. Berkley Putnam, 1979. First edition hardback, F/NF cover, with shallow chipping at dj head and one long, semi-closed tear intact in dj protector. Signed by Bishop. $8

LP471. Bishop, Michael and Di Filippo, Paul (as Philip Lawson). Muskrat Courage. St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2000. First edition hardback, Fine in Fine dj. Humorous mystery novel featuring Will Keats, the protagonist of Would It Kill You to Smile?. Signed by Bishop. $15.

LP1838. Butler, Octavia. Patternmaster. Doubleday, 1976. First edition hardback, a Near Fine copy with previous owner’s signature on inside front cover and slight spine lean (but NO remainder spray) in a Near Fine dust jacket with a few tiny scratches and abrasions, tiny bit of foxing on interior flap edges, and foxing to blind side of dust jacket spine. Still a very attractive and presentable first edition of Butler’s first book. $75.

LP1839. Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. Tor, 1985. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, inscribed by Card to fellow writer (and noted book collector) Scott Cupp: “to Scott Cupp—/A child-rearing guide/for the military school set…/Best,/Orson Scott Card/NASFIC-’85.” Hugo and Nebula winner for Best Novel, Card’s most famous work, and probably the most difficult domestic SF novel from a mainstream publishers in the last 30 years. $2,200.

LP1836. Egan, Greg. Zendegi. Night Shade Press, 2010. First U.S. edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Egan’s latest novel, set in a post-theocracy Iran and a popular virtual reality game. $19.

LP1402. Haldeman, Joe. Camouflage. Ace, 2004. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dj with the tiniest, teensy-ist wrinkle at heel, otherwise new and unread. Nebula Award winner for best novel. Signed by Haldeman. Got scarcer after it won the Nebula…$65.

LP1095. Hughart, Barry. The Story of the Stone. Doubleday/Foundation, 1988. First edition hardback, Fine in a Fine dj; a beautiful, immaculate copy. The second Master Li & Number 10 Ox story. Funny, and brilliant, and highly recommended. $30.

LP1844. King, Stephen. The Bachman Books (Rage, Roadwork, The Long Walk, and The Running Man). NAL, 1985. Book club hardback, a Fine copy in a Near Fine dust jacket with edgewear and slight wrinkling at head. Four novels first published as Richard Bachman, including Rage, which King has vowed never to allow to be published again, and The Long Walk, one of his best (IMHO). Highly recommended. Nice reading copy. $10.

LP1845. King, Stephen. Pet Sematary. Doubleday, 1983. Book club hardback, a Near Fine copy in a VG+ dust jacket with several small tears at head and heel. Reading copy. $3.

LP1846. Lake, Jay. The Sky That Wraps. Subterranean Press, 2010. First edition hardback, one of 1,000 signed copies, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Short story collection by the author of the Hugo-nominated Mainspring, and a swell guy to boot. $37.

LP1847. Lake, Jay. The Specific Gravity of Grief. Fairwoods Press, 2010. First edition hardback, one of only 250 signed, numbered copies, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. With an introduction by Maureen McHugh. Novella about a man with cancer (with which Jay has had more than one bout), so probably not something for the light reading pile. Only have one. $22.

LP1848. Lansdale, Joe R. By Bizarre Hands Rides Again. Morning Star Press, 2010. Expanded edition with new stories and story notes, one of 300 copies signed by Lansdale, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. The original was a great short story collection, and thus new edition has everything in the original and more. Highly recommended. $72.

LP1849. Lansdale, Joe R. Deadman’s Road. Subterranean Press, 2010. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Features the ass-kicking Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, first seen in Dead in the West (the complete text of which is here), fighting “zombies, ghouls, werewolves, Lovecraftian monsters and kobolds.” Dead in the West is great fun, and the one story I heard Joe read at the 2006 World Fantasy Convention was as well. If you like Lansdale, you need one. Recommended. $37.

LP1731. Lansdale, Joe R. Captains Outrageous. Mysterious Press, 2001. First trade edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Hap and Leonard go on cruise. Happiness does not ensue. Recommended. Signed by Lansdale. $15.

LP1732. Lansdale, Joe R. Sanctified and Chicken Fried: The Portable Lansdale. University of Texas Press, 2009. First edition hardback, a Fine- copy in a Fine- dust jacket, with tiny bends at the very tips of the top edges; if I hadn’t told you about them, you probably wouldn’t notice them. A “Best of Lansdale” sampler of sorts, with some very good stuff you’ve probably seen before (“Night They Missed the Horror Show” and “Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back”) along with a few I’m not familiar with (“Dirt Devils,” “White Mule, Spotted Pig”). Recommended from what I have read. Coming from the UT Press, copies might not crop up in your neck of the woods. Signed by Lansdale. $26.

LP1794. Lansdale, Joe R. and Keith Lansdale, editors. (Joe R. Lansdale, Harlan Ellison, David J. Schow, William F. Nolan, Mike Resnick, Cherie Priest, etc.) Son of Retro Pulp Tales. Subterranean Press, 2009. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Another collection of pulp goodness, and I enjoyed the first one. All of these are new except the Ellison. And how often do you see a new William F. Nolan story these days? Signed by Joe R. Lansdale. $37.

LP1850. Leiber, Fritz. Strange Wonders. Subterranean Press, 2010. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Collection various work, some previously unpublished or uncollected. I ended up with an extra copy or two, so let’s take $5 off the cover price. $35.

LP1538. Lethem, Jonathan. Gun, With Occasional Music. Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1994. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. His first novel, from back before he started winning literary awards left and right. $30.

LP1851. (Lovecraft, H. P.) Joshi, S. T. I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft. Hippocampus Press, 2010. First edition hardback, two volume set, both Fine copies in Fine dust jackets, new and unread, still in publisher’s shrinkwrap. Remember how S. T. Joshi’s Lovecraft: A Life instantly became THE definitive Lovecraft biography upon publication? And remember how the hardback of that shot up to about $500 in short order? Well, more than 150,000 words of that were cut for space constraints. I Am Providence not only restores those 150,000 words, but also incorporates new research, correction updates, etc., and instantly becomes the definitive Lovecraft biography in its own right. List price is $100 for the set. For you? $95. (Add an extra buck for shipping in the U.S., and considerably more overseas.)

LP1852. Marusek, David. Counting Heads. Tor, 2005. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. His first novel, which garnered much acclaim and quickly went into second printing. Haven’t read it, but David is a good guy. $20.

LP1853. Niven, Larry. The Best of Larry Niven. Subterranean Press, 2010. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. The latest huge Subterranean career retrospective collection. The last book to make it into the catalog, and I only have one copy on hand (but more on order). $37.

LP1855. Straub, Peter. The Juniper Tree and Other Blue Rose Stories. Subterranean Press, 2010. First edition hardback, one of 250 numbered leatherbound copies signed by Straub, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Collection of novellas set in the same world as Koko, Mystery, and The Throat, along with and interview conducted by Bill Sheehan. This edition is sold out from the publisher. $95.

LP1856. Straub, Peter. The Juniper Tree and Other Blue Rose Stories. Subterranean Press, 2010. First edition hardback, one of 1,500 trade copies, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. Collection of novellas set in the same world as Koko, Mystery, and The Throat, along with and interview conducted by Bill Sheehan. $30.

LP1857. Stross, Charles. Toast. Wyrm Publishing, 2010. First signed, limited edition hardback and first edition thus, with additional material not in previous editions, one of 700 signed, numbered copies, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread. If you don’t have one of the previous editions, you need a copy of this, especially for the Lovecraftian “A Colder War,” which features a U.S./Soviet Cold War featuring Elder technology and a “Shoggoth Gap.” $34.

LP1858. Wilson, Robert Charles. Axis. Tor, 2007. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Sequel to the Hugo Award-winning Spin. $10.

Trade Paperbacks

Note: I only have one each of these, so if you want one, better ask quick.

LP1861. Lansdale, Joe R. Flaming Zeppelins. Tachyon, 2010. Trade paperback first edition original thus (omnibus edition), a Fine copy, new and unread. Combines the two “Ned the Seal” volumes Zeppelins West and Flaming London. Crazy stuff. $13.

LP1862. Moorcock, Michael. The Best of Michael Moorcock. Tachyon, 2009. First edition trade paperback original, a Fine copy, new and unread. Well, I think that title’s self-explanatory, don’t you? $13.

Mass Market Paperbacks

LP1863. Barrett, Jr., Neal. Through Darkest America. Worldwide Library, 1988. First paperback edition, a NF copy with faint spine creasing and a wrinkle at heel. Part of the Asimov Presents line. One of Neal’s better novels. Recommended. $5.

LP1864. Bloch, Robert. Dragons and Nightmares. Belmont, 1969. First paperback and first mass market edition (preceded by the Mirage Press hardback), VG- with creasing, general wear, and a stamp on the blurb page. Fun stories, somewhat lighter than most of his work. Solid reading copy. $3.

LP1865. Davidson, Avram (edited by John Silbersack). Collected Fantasies. Berkley, 1982. First edition paperback original, a VG- copy with 3/8″ tip of bottom front cover missing, line at heel, sticker ghost and abrasions to front cover, and general wear, but quite square and sturdy for all that. Contains some fine stories, including “Or All the Seas With Oysters.” Recommended. $5.

LP1866. Hawke, Simon. Timewars 10: The Hellfire Rebellion. Ace, 1990. First edition paperback original (PBO), a Fine- copy with just faint touches of edgewear at head and heel, otherwise apparently new and unread. The later volumes of the Timewars series are the hardest to find. Simon used to write under his birth name of Nicholas Yermakov, but legally changed his name to Simon Hawke, possibly after hearing one too many “In Soviet Russia” jokes. $9.

LP1867. Kurtz, Katherine. Lammas Night. Ballentine Books, 1988. Paperback reprint, a NF copy with one page slightly loose, otherwise quite a nice copy. Nazis vs. druids. No American hardback, and one of her harder-to-find titles. $10.

LP1868. Smith, E. E. “Doc” and Stephen Goldin. Revolt of the Galaxy (The Family D’Alembert Series #10). Berkley, 1985. First edition paperback original, a NF- copy with wrinkling near spine, a bit of edgewear at head, a tiny bit of spine lean, an invisible spine crease, foxing to inside cover, and a touch of general wear; a bit better than it sounds, this is actually a nice copy. The later volumes in this series are harder to find. $10.

LP1869. Tepper, Sheri S. Marianne, the Magus and the Manticore. Ace, 1985. Third printing, a VG copy with spine creasing, spine line, number stamp at head, and general wear. The Marianne titles are probably the least common of all Tepper’s books. $9.

LP1870. Wagner, Karl Edward. Conan: The Road of Kings. Bantam, 1989. First edition paperback original, VG- with serious spine creasing, crease across top back corner, spine lean, and general wear, though the Tim Kirk foldout cover is intact; solid reading copy. I haven’t read these, and am generally skeptical of non-Robert E. Howard Conan stories, but Wagner was probably closer stylistically than anyone else who attempted it. $5.

LP1871. Westerfield, Scott. Polymorph. Roc, 1997. First edition paperback original, a VG- copy with spine creasing, corner creasing, and previous owner’s name in black magic marker and silver ink (?) on inside covers. Still an acceptable reading copy of his first novel, which is hard to find due to his YA success. $10.

Book Review: Gene Wolfe’s Home Fires

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Home Fires
By Gene Wolfe
Tor, 2011.

Following the fantasy of The Sorcerer’s House, Gene Wolfe has given us a near-future, stand-alone SF novel. Home Fires features Skip, a very successful lawyer in a somewhat dystopian North America awaiting the return of his young, beautiful wife (or “contracta”) Chelle from military service in another star system. She’s only slightly older than when she left thanks to relativistic effects, while he’s reached the marches of middle age. As a coming home gift, Skip pays for the resurrection of Chelle’s mother by having her stored personality implanted in the body of another, closely-matching woman. However, no sooner is she back among the living than someone tries to kill her, and things only get more tangled upon the cruise ship he’s booked them on. Hijackings, murders, suicide clubs and general mysterious skullduggery ensues.

The difficulty in reviewing Home Fires is the Babushka Doll structure of, not the narrative itself, but of the genre techniques and expectations of the narrative. Homes Fires is science fiction novel as romance novel as mystery novel as spy novel, and any given scene may be fulfilling the expectations of any of those genres. Chelle’s estranged mother is far from the only one who is not what she appears to be, and in the mystery novel tradition, a lot of interrogation ensues as Skip attempts not only to rekindle Chelle’s love, but also to figure out what’s going on and who’s behind it…and to stay alive long enough to find out.

Home Fires also exhibits a lot of Wolfe’s recent themes and techniques, namely:

  • Characters who are other than what they appear
  • A deeply honest, good-hearted and dependable protagonist always willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to others (Patera Silk, Horn)…
  • Who is deeply in a love with a beautiful woman who may not be worthy of him (ditto)
  • Secondary characters who keep turning up long after you thought they had exited the stage, many with their own hidden agendas
  • A story revealed mostly by dialog
  • Action that happens primarily off-screen
  • An ending that’s impossible to predict until you finally get to it.

There’s also a voodoo priestess, some gun-running, a bomb, some (possible) spies, and the usual Wolfe trickery. There’s also a refreshing dollop of political incorrectness: One character has had his hands amputated for theft, and our protagonist remarks that it must have happened in the EU under Sharia.

The biggest drawback of this novel was just how talky the book gets. Certainly Wolfe has done wonders with telling stories mostly in dialog in other works, and the mystery novel (one of the genre forms he’s deploying) can tend to be dialog-heavy. But there’s an awful lot of “Tell me know how you knew that”/”OK, but tell me how you knew that I knew that” exchanges in the novel. Classic mystery novel technique, but a bit too much; the late middle of the book feels clotted with it.

Making up for it, Home Fires finishes strongly, with an ending as apt as it is unexpected. It leaves many of the lesser issues unresolved, but provides a very elegant solution to the main character’s greatest dilemma.

All in all, I liked this better than An Evil Guest but not quite as much as The Sorcerer’s House. But Wolfe fans will, as always, find much of interest.

Charles Portis is Still Alive?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Evidently so, according to The New York Times, which semi-interviews and profiles him in advance of the Coen Brother’s True Grit opening.

And if you haven’t read the original novel it’s well worth doing so. Not my favorite western (or even my favorite western made into a John Wayne movie, as Glenden Swarthout’s The Shootist edges it in both respects), but certainly in the top five. Of course, I only recently started reading Lonesome Dove, so I’m far from an expert…

New Lame Excuse Books Catalog This Week

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

I intend to send out my latest Lame Excuse for a Book Catalog to regular customers via email this week. Lots of new small press books by the likes of Joe R. Lansdale, Jay Lake, Ted Chiang, Peter Straub, Joe Hill and Charles Stross, along with the huge, definitive, two-volume H. P. Lovecraft biography I Am Providence, a signed pristine first edition of Ender’s Game, etc. If you aren’t already receiving my catalog, drop me a line at to receive a copy when I send it out.

Awesome Photography: Kawah Ijen by Night

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Dwight saw this amazing gallery of photos and drew them to my attention. You look at them and go: “What is that, a picture of someone in World of Warcraft raiding Molten Core?” And the answer is: “No, those are sulfur miners in Indonesia working in an active volcano for $13 a day.” This is Pulitzer-worthy photography by Olivier Grunewald, and you should really take a look.

Sherry Black Murder Follow-Up #2

Friday, December 10th, 2010

This story by Paul Koepp of the Deseret News, unlike the one I linked to yesterday, seems competently written, and sheds light on a few items that were previously unclear, namely:

  1. Suspect Lorin Nielsen pleaded guilty in April 2009 to theft, a third-degree felony, and theft by deception, a second-degree felony.
  2. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which means he would have been out on of jail at the time of Black’s murder.
  3. “Nielsen was booked into Salt Lake County Jail on Monday for a violation of his probation in the theft case. Detectives, however, would not say whether he is being investigated in connection with the homicide.”
  4. He was a member of “the Kearns Town ICP gang.”

Amazing how competent writing makes things so much clearer, isn’t it?

I’m not going to pretend to be an Internet Columbo, able to ascertain Nielsen’s guilt or innocence from a handful of news articles. But if he did kill Sherry Black, he’s too stupid (not to mention too evil) to live. Gee, you don’t think police might be able to connect the murder of a central figure (albeit an inadvertent one) in your last crime? Not only did it not take Sherlock Holmes to crack that case, it didn’t even take his dim half-brother Hiram, who works the fryolater at the Hildale Dairy Queen…

Follow-Up on the Murder of Bookstore Owner Sherry Black: Books and Mormons and Juggalos, Oh My

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

You may remember the post on the murder of bookseller Sherry Black I did last week. You may also remember the piece I did on Insane Clown Posse and their Juggalo followers a month or so ago. I never imagined the stories would intertwine, but police speculate that her murder may have something to do with the fact that Black unwittingly bought stolen books from 20-year-old Lorin Nielsen. Guess what band Nielsen was a fan of?

The relevant section:

In February of 2009, 20-year-old Lorin Nielsen was arrested and charged with stealing books from his father, a polygamous church president.

He sold them to Sherry Black for $20,000.

The books included a first-edition French Book of Mormon signed by John Taylor with a message to Parley P. Pratt.

For those without any particular knowledge of the history of Mormonism, both of those were big wheels in the early LDS. Pratt was a member of the first “Quorum of the Twelve Apostles” and Taylor was with founder Joseph Smith the night he was killed by a mob in a jail in Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844.

In total, the books were worth an estimated $45,000.

When the father confronted Nielsen about the theft, the report states Nielsen warned him that “if he got police involved he will set off a chain of events he’s not going to like because he is a member of a gang.”

Police reports state Nielsen was affiliated with an Insane Clown Posse, or Juggalos gang and had access to guns.

I’m inferring from the above that Lorin Nielson’s father is Wendell Nielsen, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Nielsen took over from convicted felon Warren Jeffs. (Recently Jeffs’ rape conviction was overturned, but he’s now facing sexual assault charges in Texas. It was big news in when Jeffs’ bigamist compound in Texas was raided by police. I must admit that my tolerance for polygamy as an “alternate life style” pretty much evaporates when you start marrying 12-year-olds. )

Never mind the fact that Juggalos are a “gang” in about the same sense that Deadheads or Parrotheads are a gang. Or that my (admittedly facile) understanding of Utah law is that it is not much more difficult to obtain “access to guns” if you’re not a felon than Texas. However, if this is the same Lorin Nielson, he probably is a felon (it says he was found guilty of theft and theft by deception, the date is about right, and the amount involved would certainly be enough to earn a felony conviction (assuming it wasn’t pleaded down), but because Utah is a closed records state, you can’t be sure that’s the case).

I mentioned before that bookstores are rarely robbed, because there are usually much richer targets available. Plus books are next to impossible to fence, because collectors are too small a community, word of stolen goods gets out really fast, and it’s almost impossible to find a place to sell anything worth stealing. But some of that early Mormon stuff goes for insane amounts of money. This case reminded me that fake documents were at the heart of the “White Salamander Murders” case. (Short version: A guy named Mark Hoffman was selling fake Joseph Smith documents that undermined official Mormon dogma to church leaders desperate to keep them off the market, then he went all mad bomber in an attempt to cover his tracks.)

So police believe, what? An insane Juggalo killed Black because they were pissed off because she cooperated with the police? Honestly I think there’s more wackiness in the FLDS side of story than the Juggalo side…