Local author and journalist Tom Carr’s first book, Blood on the Mitten: Infamous Michigan Murders from 1700s to Present, has been making quiet a splash in Traverse City and beyond. In fact during our interview, folks at Brew were stopping our interview to congratulate him. I was also privileged to learn about Tom Carr’s exciting future projects, but you’ll just have to keep your eye on this Northern Michigan author to see for yourself!
What got you interested in writing about true crime?
Tom Carr: Well I always liked reading about it. I really enjoyed semi-true book The Michigan Murders they change the names of victims and perpetrators, another book I finished recently was Devil in the
White City. I thought it would be interesting to do stories that talk about Michigan that goes across time and across the state. I’ve lived a lot of different places in Michigan. I’ve also covered some crime as a reporter for the Record Eagle.
The book has a really interesting format, was that your idea?
I had a lot to do with design in that after Heather Shaw at Mission Point Press
designed it and I said, wow that is really great! She was the editor and the designer, she is one of the three people who started Mission Point Press, along with Anne Stanton, who I worked with at the Record-Eagle and has been a friend ever since and Doug Weaver, who was head of books and other specialty publications for the Kansas City Star. The look just nails the tone of the book and it’s just fantastic.
What are you reading right now?
I like to read history, historical fiction, and true crime, the whole gamut really. I really like historical westerns and I really like Sarah Vowell, I just read Take the Cannoli
and I really liked Assassination Vacation
. I also really enjoy Stephen King’s more experimental fiction like 11/22/63
and Under the Dome
. But my kindle broke and a lot of my books were on there!
As a true crime buff, you have to have a favorite mystery, what is your favorite murder mystery?
Well, the story of the Robison murder and Mardi Jo Link did such a wonderful book on that, that is such a perplexing case (When Evil Came to Good Hart
). There are the New Year’s Eve 1970-71 murders, and that one happened in my home town. It’s a really hard case because when I called around to the police stations the jurisdiction of the crime had changed so many times that it unfortunately seems to have been lost in the shuffle and has gone cold. Hopefully, someone will come forward with information, but it’s been forty five years but you never know. It would be nice to see someone working on it or maybe a deathbed confession.
How well do you know your Dewey Decimal? Do you identify with any particular number?
I’d have to look at the shelves! What number would I be?
We have you down as 977.4 – Michigan History!
That’s great, I was thinking of getting a t-shirt with the book’s ISBN number on it.