[Untitled Article]
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 14, 2002

An eerie link between harsh reality and scary fiction: Famed mystery writer John Sandford (real name John Camp), is just out with his 13th Prey novel, a St. Louis-based thriller titled Mortal Prey. Now here's the weird angle. Camp, who lives near St. Paul, Minn., wrote this book after touring our town taking in the sights and nabes [1] that would give geographic legitimacy to his novel. Unknowingly, his Mortal Prey had elements that turned out to be very close to the real life serial killer cases involving a Ferguson man charged in the deaths of two prostitutes. Maury Troy Travis, accused of the serial killings, was recently found hanged in the St. Louis County jail, an apparent suicide. All this happened after a letter was sent to Post-Dispatch reporter Bill Smith, which led to the discovery of another woman's body and the arrest of Travis. Sandford's Mortal Prey has the brother of a fugitive contract killer committing suicide in the St. Louis County jail while the contract killer gets in touch by phone with a Post-Dispatch columnist, a move that leads to the same path that occurred in the real case. When Sandford (Camp) [2] saw the P-D articles, he said, "You are now going to be subject to a whole blizzard of conspiracy theories . . . the guy was actually murdered to shut him up, who else was involved in the murder ring, etc."


1. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines "nabe" as "a local cinema", and reports that it's US slang. Personally, I've never heard it before this. Must be a St. Louis thing.

2. I assume the parenthetical aside here is just in case the reader had forgotten the author's real name since reading it half a paragraph above.