Writing about the elusive unabomber comes naturally for Scottsdale author Lis Wiehl who uses her background as a prosecutor and journalist to chronicle the account.
She will share her experience during a virtual meet the author event 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 28 at Poisoned Pen Press bookstore, where the author’s new crime thriller, with Lisa Pulitzer, “Hunting the Unabomber: The FBI, Ted Kaczynski, and the Capture of America’s Most Notorious Domestic Terrorist,” will debut.
Based on the true story about the reclusive killer, the book is Ms. Wiehl’s second volume in her “Hunting” series as she “sets the record straight about the longest and most expensive FBI hunt in U.S. history,” according to a press release, offering a preview of the book at thehuntingseries.com.
“Unabomber remains the longest-running and most expensive investigative undertaking in FBI history. The story spans 17 different bombing events that occurred in states and federal jurisdictions across the country. I think readers would be surprised to learn that the hunt for the Unabomber was almost called off at one point,” said Ms. Wiehl, 58.
She described historical incidents in her 336-page hardcover book, as “another cautionary tale,” as she penned events leading up to the capture of Theodore Kaczynski, who was noted as “the father of modern domestic terrorism.”
“I set out to write the true story of the nearly two-decade long hunt for the elusive domestic terrorist who manufactured his bombs from a remote cabin in Montana.
I was fortunate to find an amazing source, FBI Agent Patrick Webb, who had led the Unabomber taskforce in San Francisco, and who had seen a documentary on television that portrayed the hunt for the Unabomber inaccurately. Agent Webb, who was dying of cancer, wanted to help set the record straight on what had really gone on behind the scenes,” she said.
Ms. Wiehl’s new book that she said took two years to complete with research and writing, includes exclusive interviews and new investigative journalism like new research and sources; mistakes and lessons from the original investigation such as the state and federal agencies not communicating with each other or sharing leads; the Unabomber manifesto; facts from Kaczynski’s brother and more.
“I believe we need to understand our history, so that we can learn from our past mistakes and move forward to correct them,” said Ms. Wiehl.
Ms. Wiehl moved to Scottsdale in February, and had just settled in, joined a gym and a hiking group in Cave Creek, she said, when the shelter-in-place order began just weeks later.
The daughter of a former FBI agent turned federal prosecutor was also a federal prosecutor before she became a published author and investigative crime reporter.
Ms. Wiehl said she appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the new publishing forums to share her writing with others.
She noted how more people may expand their reading list during the current quarantine/stay-at-home mandate and broaden their reading selection by choosing different kinds of books other than what they normally would read.
“I’m thrilled to be asked to join the virtual meet and greet to launch my book at the Poisoned Pen bookstore,” said Ms. Wiehl.
She encouraged writers to embrace virtual meetings at book stores, stating that authors can always sign bookplates, and mail them to stores so people can have signed books.
“The Poisoned Pen is one of the best indie bookstores in the country. It is a shining example of the resiliency of the old school bookstore. I am honored to be launching my book with an interview at the Poisoned Pen bookstore,” Ms. Wiehl said.
Owner and editor-in-chief of Poisoned Pen Press, Barbara G. Peters, says reading and book clubs are more important than ever during COVID-19.
“In this time of physical isolation it is more important than ever that we reach out to each other in any way we can. Virtual book store interviews, signings, and book clubs are all ways in which we can connect with each other in this unsettling time.
By reading books, we are brought through virtual conversation and discussion. And that’s a very good thing right about now,” said Ms. Peters.
She and the president/founder, Robert Rosenwald, celebrated 20 years of publishing “some of the best novels of the genre,” in 2017.
They received the Ellery Queen Award at the 2010 Mystery Writers of America’s annual dinner for “writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”
The Poisoned Pen Press founders’ contributions to the publishing industry also include accolades from achieving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Bouchercon Crime and Mystery conference to the Poirot Award bestowed by the Malice Domestic Board of Directors honoring individuals other than writers with outstanding contributions to the genre.
Aside from Poisoned Pen’s many accolades, Ms. Peters recognized the importance of adapting to changing times while maintaining the bookstore’s nostalgia.
“Yes, the bookstore industry will be impacted by the global pandemic. It’s too early to provide concrete answers but we anticipate, a world that is in part changed by the COVID-19 experience, and we will adjust,” she said.
See: poisonedpenpress.com for more information on authors, books and more.
For more information on Lis Wiehl: liswiehlbooks.com.