Category Archives: Mystery


Kick-off next week. Thursday (Oct. 25). Six p.m.

Lizz Taylor of Poor Richard’s Books is hosting the official launch of Considering The Matter Of The King Of Craw, The venue is the Paul Sawyier Library in downtown FK. The heart of the historic districts is just a few paces away. The old Capitol is two blocks down St. Clair, and the spot where the Big Shoot-Out took place just a block down St. Clair and a half-block up Main. No better venue. No literary doyen more popular.

The formal release of the book isn’t due until the day of Kentucky Book Fair (Sat. Nov. 5) at the Convention Center on the edge of what used to be Craw. But the pre-launch release to what will be an exclusively Frankfort gathering seems appropriate since this is a story with so much local meaning.

King of Craw by Ron RhodyI’ll talk a bit about how the book came to be, share some of the challenges and difficulties in putting together a story of so much complexity and uncertainty, then turn it over to everyone for questions and discussion. Jim Wallace, whose oral history of Craw and the Bottom served for much the raw material for the book, will join me for that.. If you’re in town that night and not otherwise engaged, Ms. Taylor and I would be delighted to see you. It should be a fine event


King of Craw by Ron Rhody


He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

John Fallis, the King of Craw
John Fallis, The King of Craw

That’s the notorious and perplexing John Fallis — a legend in his own time and an icon in Bluegrass folklore now – a mercurial man about whom a great deal is said but very little really known. He was a successful businessman, a political power, a gambler, a bootlegger, movie-star handsome, sometimes wildly violent, yet compassionate and charismatic. The proper folk thought him Lucifer unleased. To the the poor and the powerless, he was Galahad ascendant.

The story is set in the Roaring Twenties in Kentucky’s capital city. It’s about two boys who fall into his orbit and are witnesses to the events that made him a legend and sparked questions that are still unanswered.   It begins just before the night of the The Big Shoot-Out when he takes on the entire city police force and ends with his bullet-riddled body lying on a craps table in Craw. They said it was a gambler’s fight. But many then, and still, think powerful forces in the city brought in an assassin to take him out.

This is the first piece of fiction built around the man and the times. It moves fast, has much drama and action.  For readers particularly drawn to the mystery of why men do the things they do, and to the unending struggle between good and evil, it should hold a particular appeal.

Titled Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw, the book is set for release on November 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort. The publisher, Outer Banks Pubishing Group, is taking advance orders now. The website is


Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

Concerning The Matter of The King of CrawList Price: $16.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Now $11.99 – Pre-order here



I’m not sure whether I’m conflicted about this next book or merely procrastinating.

They are three possibilities. I’ve already mentioned them to you

One is a story about what happens when the meek, whoever they are, inherit the earth, as it is written they will.

The second is how the King of the Craw was killed, and why, and how — and what therefrom resulted. He was a person of quite some notoriety was the King, John Fallis, and the Craw itself even more so. Fallis wouldn’t be the main character, a young man who becomes involved with him would be. But Fallis will be pivotal and since he is real and much about him is known, I must be extraordinarily careful about what I imagine him doing and saying. This requires more control of a character than I’m used to. Usually, I just listen and watch.

The third is that  tale of the poor country boy trying to do the best he can in a world he never made. You’ve seen some copy from it — the More To Come stuff. I’ve put that story hold. It would be a true story, or as true as memory can make it, and very difficult to write. I’ve not jettisoned the idea entirely. It’s still there like one of those old songs rarttling around in your mind that you can’t quite turn off.

Must decide. Must pick one. Must begin. Flip a coin?



At The Kiwanis

In FK for the Kentucky Book Fair tomorrow. Spoke at the Kiwanis Club meeting yesterday … a little  about “When Theo Came Home”… Kiwanis logoread just a bit of it to give them an idea of how the words hang together, but mostly about writing — about them writing, about each of them having unique and important stories  that will be lost when they pass unless they tell them — unless they write them.  Seemed to resonate with a few. Maybe a fine memoir will result, or a touching family history, or a piece of fiction that will entrance us all. Anyway, a good session. Lots of laughing, lost of questions, and a few old friends I hadn’t seen in years turning up for the festivities. Nice to be home again for a while.

When THEO Came Home, the last of the THEO Trilogy – Coming November 2013

“Michael was dead and buried.When THEO Came Home

And Jesse Bristow.

I waited until the furor died down and the new Governor was seated, then I left.

Not that anyone suspected me.

There was nothing to link me to Jesse Bristow’s killing. But a grey fog of depression wrapped round me. I could find neither peace nor comfort where they had always been.

I didn’t try to slip away. I was too well known to simply disappear. I wound down my column, wrote my swan song, closed my affairs and made my way out of town as inconspicuously as possible.

I had already said my goodbyes to those closest to me.  Rhae Dannan kissed me on the forehead and said, “Remember what your are.” Marnie understood, but cried. Dulin wished me well. There were no others I needed to tell. Except Allie. I couldn’t face Allie.

That was almost ten years ago.

I had no intention of returning.

Yet here I am…in the cemetery overlooking the river…kneeling beside Rhae Dannan’s grave and not ashamed of the tears or the hurt in my heart.”

Thus begins When THEO Came Home, the third volume in the Theo trilogy. The year is 1980. The setting is the Bluegrass of Kentucky. The narrative picks up where Theo’s Story ends. Theo is now a successful writer living in San Francisco and working around the world as an Editor-At-Large for The Atlantic Magazine.

Rhae Dannan’s death calls him home and sets in motion a chain of events that could expose his hand in Jesse Bristow’s killing and force him to confront the phantoms he thought he’d left behind.

What happens when Theo comes home is not what anyone expects – most particularly Theo.

Pre-order your copy at a special pre-launch price of $12.99, list $15.99, now through November 1, 2013.

“The characters are richly drawn. The action runs at a riveting pace. What happened When THEO Came Home is a helluva read and a fine, fine story.” – Ian Kellogg

When THEO Came Home is the concluding novel in the THEO Trilogy. The other books in the series are: THEO’s Story and THEO & The Mouthful of Ashes, both available on Amazon in print and ebook format and in fine bookstores everywhere.


When THEO Came Home
List Price: $15.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
360 pages

Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993101
ISBN-10: 0982993102
BISAC: Fiction / Suspense

A Standing Ovation

I’m constantly blown away by the results motivated volunteers achieve. The recently concluded Kentucky Book Fair is a prime example. It’s organized and staged by volunteers( there is only one paid staffer, Connie Crowe, the manager, whose talents and enthusiasm keep everything running smoothly.)   The Fair is the largest in the state — in fact, one of the largest in the East.  It regularly attracts 3,000 to 4,000 patrons, showcases the work of some 200 or so authors who are in attendance talking with readers and signing books, and so far has generated over $300,000 for Kentucky schools and small town libraries and reading program.

The Fair celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. That’s an eloquent compliment to the excellence of the idea and to the work and dedication the volunteers, some of whom have been with it from the beginning, among them Carl West, its founder and president. A former Pentagon reporter for Scripps-Howard and native Kentuckian, Carl is the managing editor of the Frankfort State Journal. The Journal is co-sponsor of the Fair along with the Kentucky Department of Libraries, the University of Kentucky Press and Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

Gross book sales this year for the one-day event were $157,000 – one of the best years on record. THEO & The Mouthful of Ashes ranked in the top ten (number eight actually), flattered and honored to be in such fine company.

All of us — the libraries and reading programs receiving the grants, the readers who flock to the Fair and get the opportunity to inspect such a wide range of good literature and inter-act with so many authors, and most particularly the authors themselves – all of us owe these hard working and dedicated volunteers a booming round of applause and a standing ovation.