According to a press release from author Stephen Bowman, Morning Ran Red, a novel about the 1912 Villisca, Iowa axe murder mystery, is being released in all electronic formats. Users of Amazon.com’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook or any of the other electronic reading devices or computer software can download all formats at smashwords.com.
Morning Ran Red is a highly fictionalized telling of the Villisca ax murder true crime story. While the names of the characters in the book have been changed, a sufficient familiarity with the story allows readers to determine which characters are based on real people.
“I’m very excited about this,” Bowman said. “Over 250,000 readers have enjoyed the printed version, and it’s really fun that more people can now enjoy it at about one-third the price."
Bowman was interviewed for the documentary feature film Villisca: Living with a Mystery and noted that Villisca residents were somewhat reluctant to cooperate with his requests for information about the still-unsolved murders of eight local citizens
Documentary filmmaker Kelly Rundle chats with Stephen Bowman (seated) in 1994.
“No one wanted me to write the story,” Bowman said. “But I think today most agree that publication of the book helped heal some of those old wounds, finally. And I am under the impression it has added to the economic vitality of the town. Their annual Villisca Days is very popular, and I think it’s because they loosened up a bit.”
The first Heritage Days weekend in 1987 was planned as a direct response to the release of Morning Ran Red and its sensational nature. Townspeople were unhappy with his portrayal of the city and its people, and decided they prefered a factual telling of the story to a fictional one.
"In thinly veiled fiction he may have assassinated the character of people who didn't deserve it, and they are no longer here to defend themselves," said Villisca farmer Tom Rusk during his Villisca documentary film interview.
Stephen Bowman is a native of Red Oak, Iowa who lives and writes in Omaha, Nebraska. Signed printed versions of his books are available at: BowmanBooks.com.