Title: CLARKSTON’S CURSE
Subtitle: ONE CHILD’S QUEST TO EXPLAIN THE SERIES OF TRAGEDIES IN HER HOMETOWN
Author: ANN MARGARET JOHNS
Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS
Length: 236 PAGES
Publisher: BOOKS GO SOCIAL
Received From: NETGALLEY
Release Date: 2017
Price: $14.99 USD (Paperback)
Rating: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐
Based on actual events, Clarkston’s Curse is the compelling true story of a child growing up in a small town plagued by tragedy.
Fleeing the violence and uncertainty of Detroit and big city living, Ann Margaret’s family moved to Clarkston, Michigan, population 1,024. But this sleepy town has a dark side.
Between 1969 and 1982, more than forty unexplained accidents and incomprehensible murders struck residents of this rural community.
A true story of mystery, murder, family, and friendship, Clarkston’s Curse is a first-hand account of what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 70s in a small town where tragedy struck with unsettling frequency. More than forty families are forever changed, and thirty people – young and old – didn’t survive to tell their tale. Ann did.
Memoir author Ann Margaret Johns grew up in the small community of Clarkston, Michigan. This quaint town, had just over one-thousand residents at the time.
This idyllic setting should have been the epitome of the perfect place to experience an all-American country childhood. However, although her childhood was filled with such activities as tobogganing and skating on the local pond, it was also the setting in which she began to believe that her town was cursed due to the almost unbelievable number of tragedies and deaths that took place.
The town of Clarkston certainly had a dark side…
People kept dying in strange ways and in large numbers. What do I mean by this? Well, here is one example:
“The Standring’s were hosting a party in their home that spring. Eric Standring, a sophomore at Clarkston High School, accompanied family friend Paul Lammonds from the party to Paul’s home to fetch a guitar. Two hours later, Eric returned covered in blood and incoherent. Deputies found Paul Lammonds’ body in his home. He’d been beaten to death. Eric had never been in trouble before that night, at least that’s what I heard. No one knew what came over the boy to make him do what he did. Paul’s early, tragic, and unexplained death was the first of many to come in our idyllic small town.”
Other deaths were determined to be accidental, but even these were strange and unusual. There were a couple separate deaths of men working on their cars and ending up crushed beneath them. There were even instances of children being dropped off on doorsteps and raised by the family inside, despite not knowing where the child had come from. There were multiple drownings and an incredible number of car accidents – many of which were almost too weird to be believable.
The author does list all her sources in the back of the book. I also looked up some of the cases online and was able to find newspaper reports that validated her claims.
“Over a 12-year period from 1970 to 1982, this village of 1,300 witnessed 11 different murders – NOT including the notorious serial killer who visited their small town as well.”
“In addition to the murders, Clarkston experienced another 30 unexplained and accidental deaths, from car wrecks to drownings, from freak accidents to plane crashes.”
Fascinating, unusual, unlikely, improbable, yet all true. If you enjoy real life mysteries and true crime, you will not want to miss this book.
As for the rating of this book, I have to admit that I am conflicted. The subject matter is compelling and my interest was piqued early and the level never waned, but, it is exceedingly obvious that this was written by an amateur author and is in need of a professional editor. I found several typos throughout the book. It is for this reason that I am rating CLARKSTON’S CURSE as 3 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐
*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ann Margaret Johns is a fourth generation Irish immigrant, passionate writer, and CPA by trade who, in spite of the tragedies she witnessed, still lives in Clarkston, Michigan. These days, you can often find Ann and other characters from Clarkston’s Curse sharing stories and a bottle of wine in one of Clarkston’s quaint restaurants.
Ann is currently working on a series of children’s books and memory care books for seniors.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links: