Friday, July 12, 2019

"Crooked Snake" The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard

In 1968, during Albert Lepard’s fifth escape from a life sentence at
Parchman Penitentiary, he kidnapped Lovejoy Boteler, then eighteen years old, from his family’s farm in Grenada, Mississippi. Three decades later, still beset by half-buried memories of that time, Boteler began researching his kidnapper’s nefarious, sordid life to discover how and why this terrifying abduction occurred.

Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard is the true story of Lepard, sentenced to life in Parchman for the murder of seventy-four-year-old Mary Young in 1959. During the course of his sentence, Lepard escaped from prison six times in fourteen years.

In Crooked Snake, Boteler pieces together the story of this cold-blooded murderer’s life using both historical records and personal interviews—over seventy in all—with ex-convicts who gravitated to and ran with Lepard, the family members who fed and sheltered the fugitive during his escapes, the law officers who hunted him, and the regular folks who were victimized in his terrible wake.

Throughout Crooked Snake, Boteler reveals his kidnapper’s hardscrabble childhood and tracks his whereabouts before his incarceration and during his jailbreaks. Lepard’s escapes take him to Florida, Michigan, Kansas, California, and Mexico. Crooked Snake captures a slice of history and a landscape that is
fast disappearing. These vignettes describe Mississippi’s countryside and spirit, ranging from sharecropper family gatherings in Attala County’s Seneasha Valley to the twenty-thousand-acre Parchman farm and its borderlands teeming with alligator, panther, bear, and wild boar.

LOVEJOY BOTELER spent his early years on Riverdale Farms in Grenada County. He worked for the Mississippi legislature, as a deck hand on the Mississippi River, and in a rodeo in Colorado. Boteler has also taught constructiontechnology and instrumental music in public schools. He builds custom furniture.

What people are saying about Crooked Snake

Absolutely loving your beautifully written book. Wonderful stuff…it’s a damn masterpiece!
Richard Grant, author of Dispatches From Pluto

If you enjoyed “Cool Hand Luke” and “O Brother Where Art Thou”…then you are primed to appreciate Lovejoy Boteler’s “Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard.”
Allen Boyer, literary reviewer 

A low-down, true Mississippi crime story, populated with prison yards, dusty Delta back roads, country churches, hot-wired trucks, and bloodhounds.
Jim Dees, radio host

Congratulations again on writing such a vivid and memorable book - I was riveted, and you have a gift for evoking a scene through well-chosen details and dialogue.
Peter Tonguette: film critic, essayist and author

This gripping account of Lovejoy Boteler’s kidnapping and his years-long quest to learn more about his captors is absolutely riveting. This is a long awaited publication by this skillful writer and longtime friend.
William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi