Joseph Paul Franklin: The True Story of The Racist Killer by Jack Rosewood & Dwayne Walker is as the title says, a non-fiction crime account. It is available as a free book from Amazon, not through Kindle Unlimited (although you could download it that way) but at a price of USD 0.00. As an ex-law enforcement type, I am drawn to non-fiction crime novels because I like to compare police procedures from different States and Municipalities.
Note the word racist in the title. It is easier to use than non-white but that is what is meant here. If you react viscerally to the type of language that will inevitably appear in such an account, don’t read this book. Again, as an ex-law enforcement type, my colleagues and I went through classes on such language, on how to deal with our feelings when we were confronted with it in field operations. It is still difficult to read some of this stuff.
This book did not tell me new things about police procedures. There is a detailed account of Joseph Paul Franklin’s life, times and crimes. He adopted the name as a combination of names from people he admired, Joseph Goebbels and Benjamin Franklin. Rosewood describes the turbulent social climate of the US that Joseph Franklin lived in. He was able to exploit ineffective security measures of the time to commit numerous bank robberies in a way that are unbelievable today. Some of his crimes were very high profile, such as the shootings of noted pornographer Larry Flynt and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan.
It is a common police saying that criminals get caught because eventually they get lazy and do stupid things. This certainly fit the case of Franklin when he called police to complain about his car getting blocked in by other police cars. But sometimes stupidity and cleverness can work together, as shown by Franklin’s three escape attempts. Although they were ultimately unsuccessful, his methods surprised police with their daring.
Rosewood moves on to accounts of Franklin’s life in jails and prisons. There is a lot of accurate information given about incarcerated life and the prison culture. He wasn’t sentenced to death soon after his conviction because he was tried in States that did not seek the death penalty. Finally, officials of one State decided to push for a death penalty conviction, Franklin was convicted and was executed in 2013.
At approximately 34% of the publication, we are essentially finished with Joseph Paul Franklin. There is further evidence presented of his life’s influence on other racist, hate-mongering psychopaths, but his story is finished. The rest of the book is taken up with Rosewood’s blurbs of other books he has written followed by a lengthy piece on many, many, other psychopaths, such as Jeffery Dahmer, David Spanbauer, and Walter Ellis.
I made the assumption that the entire novel was about Joseph Paul Franklin so I was expecting something in more depth. That is not a failure of the author; I just have to be more careful in my selection sampling. At any rate, the price was right.