Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blogging the Wolfe Book, Time for a Reality Check

I was all set, or so I thought, for today’s entry. And then something fell in my lap that I simply couldn’t ignore.

Let’s suppose you are an established author with a well-known book on a particular subject. Let us further suppose that another writer comes along, uses your book as the backbone for his work, runs a picture of you and praises you in his acknowledgements.

He even has a blurb from you on the book jacket saying that his work is a classic.

Now, someone comes along and interviews you about this book. Do you say it’s a classic? That your picture is in it? That you’re praised in the acknowledgements?

Absolutely not. Instead you completely disavow this book.

I just reread that and it doesn’t make any more sense to me now than when I typed it.

Here is a scan of the acknowledgements from Donald H. Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and the Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles.”

It says: "John Gilmore's Severed was the nonfiction forerunner of investigative books into the murder of Elizabeth Short and proved to be the Baedeker to Dahlia-land. Thanks, John, for all your help."

And here’s a scan of the blurb from the book jacket.

And now here is L.A. Weekly’s interview with John Gilmore. In a screen shot—so there’s absolutely no question that any of this is made up.

This would be like James Ellroy endorsing my research in the documentary “Feast of Death,” and then writing an introduction to Steve Hodel’s “Black Dahlia Avenger,” endorsing George Hodel as the killer. And then refusing to talk about it.

Oh wait. That actually happened.

Curiously enough, L.A. Weekly’s Anthony Mostrom doesn’t seem to ask John Gilmore, “How can you say: ‘There was no way I could appear to be supportive of him in any way’ when you call his book 'a must-read!' "?

Nor did Mostrom ask: “Well, John, after writing the jacket blurb for Donald Wolfe's book saying that it’s a classic, why are you calling it 'crap?' Isn't that considered bad form in the book publishing industry?"

I can only assume follow-up questions aren’t part of Mr. Mostrom’s repertoire. You might want to work on that, Anthony, old boy.

Time for a walk—a long one.

Here's a shout out to:


The Air Force Systems Command (

Symantec ( (you guys rock).

Boeing (

Telekom Malaysia Berhad (

National Archives and Records Administration (

and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (

Hurry on back!

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