What Killed Jonathon Harnish?
by Marc Hopkins
What would you do if you found 250,000 dollars belonging to a serial killer?
If you had the photographs of his victims, his journals, if you knew everything about him, except where he was right now?
These are the questions posed to eighteen-year-old college student Jonathon Harnish after he finds two crates of journals, photos, and $250,000.00. His decision to track down Reggie Woodsworth, the murderous author of the journals that are filled with is haunting inner thoughts, forces Harnish from the security of home toward the darkest side of human existence.
In the spring of 1977, a minister wins the Michigan Lottery. Convinced by Reggie not to let anyone know for fear of judgment, the minister takes his family on a vacation to tell them the good news. Tragically, they die from mushroom poisoning in a log cabin in Northern Michigan. Their deaths are ruled accidental and Reggie is now a lottery winner.
Reggie returns home to Kentucky to visit his mother, who doesn't acknowledge he has been gone for three years. He goes to his brother's room who, died in Vietnam, and it is a shrine. Reggie goes into his childhood room and it is no more than a garbage dump. This sends him into a rage that eventually results in him torturing and violently killing his mother. Afterwards he burns down the house making her death appear to be another accident in a decade long series of a dozen unconnected murders.
The further Jonathon delves into locating Reggie, the more he’s convinced the world is as vile and corrupt as Reggie sees it. This is culminated as Jonathon watches the standoff in Waco, Texas.
Jonathon finds one more clue that leads him to Kentucky, only to find that being a survivor of Reggie's wrath is actually worse than being a victim.
Jonathon returns to Michigan depressed and detached from his family and the world. He has lost all hope of finding Reggie and cannot find a way out for himself. He sends letters to all the victims’ families explaining what really happened to their loved ones. The last letter sent is to his parents.
Once the authorities are involved more journals are found. Giving them what Jonathon couldn't, Reggie's location.
A Word from my Mentor – Lucien Barriere Literary Prize winning author Michael Collins
Please give due consideration to the depth and rawness of this novel. I’ve worked extensively with Marc and believe he has captured the elements of crime, suspense and social critique in a raw and unnerving work of genius. It is the way Marc weaves the killer’s thoughts into the journals that make his writing simply brilliant. The edginess of the serial killer is so perfectly rendered I fear those reading this work might mistake the author for the protagonist. This is to Marc’s credit for creating such a real character. Rest assured Marc is sane. He just had the unflinching vision of a genre writer to take us into the heart and mind of a serial killer struggling with socio-political realities of modern-day America.
- Marc Hopkins, July 2011
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