In 1965-1966, my main interests were boys, learning how to drive so I could get my driver’s license and school, pretty much in that order. So I paid little attention to the news, never realizing how what was going on then (in my city) would mirror the novel I would write many years later.
You see, I learned something this past week that actually gave me chills. From October 1965 to December 1966, a man attacked, raped and murdered seven Cincinnati women. He strangled them, using either an article of their own clothing or something that was readily available to him. With one exception, the women were attacked in their homes. The media dubbed him “The Cincinnati Strangler.”
In the aftermath of the thirteen female victims attributed to the Boston Strangler from 1962-1964, fear gripped Cincinnati women when the headlines reported the grisly attacks taking place in their city. “It changed Cincinnati,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said years later. “I know it’s a cliché, but it was a loss of innocence for the community.”
The Cincinnati Police apprehended Posteal Laskey, a cab driver, after the last attack. He was arrested and convicted of the seventh murder. He never confessed to having committed any of the crimes but the attacks stopped when he was taken into custody. He died in prison in 2007.
If you’ve read Mixed Messages, much of this will sound familiar to you. Although I didn’t know about the Cincinnati Strangler when I wrote my novel, there are so many similarities between what I wrote and what actually happened. Hence, the chills!
In the book, the Westwood Strangler attacks women in their homes and he uses whatever is at hand to strangle them – just like The Cincinnati Strangler.
The Westwood Strangler is on the loose in Westwood, on the west side of Cincinnati. One of the victims of the Cincinnati Strangler lived in Price Hill, which borders Westwood, and all of his attacks occurred within a few miles of Westwood.
Without giving away my plot for Unfinished Business, the second book in my Malone mystery series, I’ll let you in on a secret: the total number of victims for the Cincinnati Strangler and the Westwood Strangler is exactly the same!
Was it merely a coincidence that what I wrote all those years later so strongly paralleled what really happened? Or, even though I don’t consciously remember the news stories, did my subconscious retain bits and pieces for all those years? I guess we’ll never know.
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