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THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS
BY W.A. WINTER
Seventh Street Books – April 20, 2021
“If Ellroy moved his cops to the Midwest, you’d have The Secret Lives of Dentists. Hits like a Minnesota winter, cold and hard. You’ll love it.” — Rick Ollerman, author of Truth Always Kills and Mad Dog Barked
Violent, carnal, and profane. Not how you’d expect pretty, peaceful Minneapolis to be portrayed during Eisenhower’s somnambulant 1950s. But the City of Lakes was also the “anti-Semitism capital of America.” Sexual predators, pornographers, and backstreet Romeos were on the prowl, and ill-tempered cops, haunted by brutal World War II experiences, weren’t reluctant to thump the poor sap who rubbed them the wrong way.
In 1955, Minneapolis was also a magnet for small-town girls who flocked to the big city desperate for work, love, and adventure—not always in that order. But Teresa Hickman, of Tiny Dollar, North Dakota, was a special case. She was beguiling, promiscuous, and, on a chilly April morning, lying dead along an abandoned trolley track in a Southside neighborhood. She’d been strangled.
Could the killer have been, among the many men drawn to her like flies to honey, Dr. H. David Rose, a middle-aged dentist with no criminal history? There’s no forensic evidence or credible witnesses tying him to her murder. Yet the police, including a pair of obsessive investigators with lethal secrets of their own, seem to agree that a Jewish dentist would likely get them a murder conviction in this town at this time. Small wonder that Rose’s spectacular trial and shocking aftermath will mesmerize the Upper Midwest like few crime sagas before or since.
THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS
Seventh Street Books — April 20, 2021
Paperback: $15.95, Kindle $9.99
1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
William Swanson, usually called Bill. I write my novels under the pen name W.A. Winter, mainly to distinguish my fiction from my nonfiction, which I sign William Swanson.
2. Who is your best friend? What kind?s of things do you do when you’re together?
My best friend is my son, Joe, a brilliant lawyer and a great father. He lives a long way from me now, but we talk when there’s something important to talk about––e.g., my grandkids, our work, the Twins, the Vikings, books, politics….
3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?
I have a wife of 46 years, a grown son, a grown daughter, and four grandchildren. I love them all dearly and am pretty sure they’re still fond of me. Did I mention Molly, a rescued beagle-coonhound mix. who is also an important member of the family?
4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where are they? How did you get them?
Birthmarks––really? The only mark worth mentioning is the ridge on top of my head, a souvenir of my attempt to climb Mount Popocatepetl when I was young and stupid.
5. When you’re angry, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you deal with your anger?
I usually swear like the soldier I was many years ago.
6. A penguin walks up to you, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?
7. What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?
I’m an old man and I already lose stuff. The physical loss I fear most is my eyesight, which is already on its way out.
8. What makes you laugh out loud?
Laurel & Hardy movies, “Seinfeld” reruns, clips of Robert Klein standup, vintage “SNL.” No author more than the late, great Elmore Leonard, whose genius includes his comedy.
9. What’s your favorite food?
I’m torn between the Margherita pie from Pizza Lucé in Minneapolis and the deep-dish Sicilian from Hello Pizza in nearby Edina.
10. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?
One hundred reasonably productive years. My mother lived a much more righteous life than I and she made it only to ninety-eight.
W.A. Winter is the pen name of William Swanson, a Minneapolis journalist and author who has written extensively over the past several decades about crime, law enforcement, and the courts. He’s the author of three true-crime books, one of which was the basis of a recent Investigation Discovery Network docudrama and is currently optioned for film. Under the pen name W.A. Winter, he has recently published three suspense novels as e-books: See You/See Me, Handyman, and Wolfie’s Game Now, under his pen name, he continues to bring high suspense to thriller fans with his April 20th release The Secret Lives of Dentists(Seventh Street Books). The thriller novel is inspired by the 1955 case of A. Arnold Axilrod, a Minneapolis dentist accused, and tried for, the murder of one of his young female patients.
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Thanks, W.A, for sharing your story with us!
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