Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the house: Carrie Hagen, author of WE IS GOT HIM

We'll spare everyone pictures on this rainy, humid day, but today Carrie Hagen came into the Overlook offices to work with our new editor, Stephanie Gorton. (Welcome, Stephanie!) She has a book coming out this August called WE IS GOT HIM: ABDUCTION, MURDER, AND FEAR OF THE EVE OF AMERICA'S CENTENNIAL.

We launched this title last week, and everyone is waiting impatiently for the manuscript to be finished so we can start reading! It's true crime in the vein of Devil in the White City, and the story is absolutely fascinating. It's 1874, and a young boy named Charley Ross (learn more about him here) was snatched from his front yard in Philadelphia in what became the first kidnapping for random in America.

The title "We Is Got Him" comes from the famous random note, which we'll just preface with one [sic]:

Mr. Ross- be not uneasy you son charly bruster he al writ we as got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand. You wil hav two pay us befor you git him from us. an pay us a big cent to. if you put the cops hunting for him yu is only defeeting yu own end. we is got him fitt so no living power can gits him from us a live. if any aproch is maid to his hidin place that is the signil for his instant anihilation. if yu regard his lif puts no one to search for him you money can fech him out alive an no other existin powers don't deceve yuself and think the detectives can git him from us for that is one imposebel
yu here from us in few day

Philadelphia was preparing to celebrate the American centennial after decades of civil war and recession, and Hagan weaves the story of this kidnapping--and how it threatened to unravel social confidence and plunge a city into despair--into the fight by the Philadelphia mayor to preserve the city's stature and other politicians using the Centennial as a chance to show America's endurance.

The research that went into We Is Got Him is incredibly daunting--Hagen worked on it while earning her MFA in Writing Nonfiction from Goucher College. We're absolutely thrilled to be publishing this--mark your calendars for August!


Alex said...

Yes, kidnapping for *random* has been an endemic problem ever since. :D

Leslie F. Miller said...

I can't wait for this book. Carrie is a fabulous writer, and I'm looking forward to being immersed in her storytelling.