An Edgar Award–winning author’s true crime account of a grisly string of killings in Kentucky—and the shocking spectacle of greed that followed.
Kentucky never deserved its Indian appellation “A Dark and Bloody Ground” more than when a small-town physician, seventy-seven-year-old Roscoe Acker, called in an emergency on a sweltering evening in August 1985. Acker’s own life hung in the balance, but it was already too late for his college-age daughter, Tammy, savagely stabbed eleven times and pinned by a kitchen knife to her bedroom floor. Three men had breached Dr. Acker’s alarm and security systems and made off with the fortune he had stashed away over his lifetime.
The killers—part of a three-man, two-woman gang of the sort not seen since the Barkers—stopped counting the moldy bills when they reached $1.9 million. The cash came in handy soon after when they were caught and needed to lure Kentucky’s most flamboyant lawyer, the celebrated and corrupt Lester Burns, into representing them. Full of colorful characters and desperate deeds, A Dark and Bloody Ground is a “first-rate” true crime chronicle from the author of Murder in Little Egypt (Kirkus Reviews).
“An arresting look into the troubled psyches of these criminals and into the depressed Kentucky economy that became fertile territory for narcotics dealers, theft rings and bootleggers.” —Publishers Weekly
“The smell of wet, coal-laden earth, white lightning, and cocaine-driven sweat arises from these marvelously atmospheric—and compelling—pages.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating portrait of the mountain way of life and thought that forged the lives of these criminals.” —Library Journal
About the author
Darcy O’Brien (1939–1998) was born in Los Angeles, California. He is a bestselling author of eleven works of fiction and nonfiction, including the PEN/Hemingway Award–winning novel A Way of Life, Like Any Other, based on his experiences with his movie-star parents, George O’Brien and Marguerite Churchill; The Hidden Pope, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; The Hillside Stranglers, which became a bestseller and was made into an NBC TV movie; and Murder in Little Egypt, winner of the Edgar Award. O’Brien’s knowledge of the field of criminal justice made him a frequent speaker and panelist on television and radio, and he published numerous articles in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among others.
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