I spend my days with convicted murderers.
Some are well-dressed in bow ties and collared shirts and jackets, their hair immaculately combed. One wears a bowler hat. I’d love to sit down and talk to them through their prison bars, but they’re all dead. “Hanged by the neck until dead,” as the courts ruled. Folsom Prison executed a total of ninety-three inmates, occurring between 1895 and 1937. Folsom’s 93: The Lives and Crimes of Folsom Prison’s Executed Men will be the first book to profile in detail, the lives and crimes of these men, as well as the lives of their victims.
I became acquainted with these men when I was a child. Their mug shots sat tucked away in a closet at my Great-Great Aunt’s house for over four decades. Turns out her husband Tom, a self-described “professional gambler,” paid a visit to a Folsom inmate who owed him money. My Aunt figured the warden gave Tom the photographs, but she wasn’t sure. And there was something else. Stashed in the flat box was an original forty-page, typed document—author unknown—chronicling events at Folsom from its early planning stages in the 1850s to 1943.
It wasn’t until Tom’s death in the late seventies that the documents resurfaced. Twenty years later, my Aunt showed them to the rest of the family. In 2008, I began the task of researching each man, his crimes and his victims. As a writer, I was enthralled. I knew there would be incredible stories to tell, but I had no idea I would uncover so much information.
Considering the book will cover 42 years, involve hundreds of people, and take place in a notorious prison, I have accumulated more information than what the book can hold. Folsom’s 93 will contain many sidebars of information and anecdotes relating to the 93 men and Folsom prison, but it’s impossible to include everything. The surplus of these fascinating snippets of history couldn’t go untold, however, and I’ve included many of them on my blog. They deserve to be heard.
Cover: Scomo Design
The book is scheduled for release in July 2013 by Linden Publishing.