In January 2006 when I hired Mark Small to represent my legal fight against City Hall after former Mayor Bart Peterson falsely accused me of running an illegal adult business from my home, I did not understand what a fascinating character I was meeting. Upon learning I also grew up in Kokomo Indiana, the daughter of one of the town's GM factory workers, he gave me copies of his first two books depicting his drug and alcohol filled college years at DePauw University in the 1970's.
Mark is also one of the speakers scheduled for the Revolt At The State House on March 25th. A lot of people don't know this about Mark, but for a while he was a stand up comic in Chicago. We asked him to do a stand up routine directed at our state's legislators.
Last year Mark gave me the manuscript of his latest novel. "Crime Pays" is based loosely on the real-life Cook Brothers who bilked Kokomo residents out of millions in a ponzi scheme they ran in the 1960's. In preparation to write the book he spent many hours researching and reading newspaper archives depicting the brothers' scheme.
Mark's publicist called him, eager to ramp up promotion of the Indiana based book to take advantage of the timing surrounding the Madoff ponzi scheme. If you like obscure Indiana history and page turning novels that expose the inner lives of morally bankrupt characters, read the book.
Here is my review:
"Ponzi schemes set in pre-depression 1920's and the 1960's, quickly pulls the reader into the moral void of the Thompson brothers who scam a Midwest town into investment of millions in a series of Trusts. Both sociopaths, one brother claws his way to the top of the hick town country club set, while the quiet one indulges an obsession for breeding rats to eat, fight, and kill inside an elaborate Chicago sewer replica he secretly installs in his master bedroom. The reader is given moral reprieve in the wise and loving Mama Jackson and the prostitute Sylvia who wield a class and compassion that far surpasses the self-absorbed bankers, lawyers, and judges who frequent their all night establishment. It all unwinds when the rats are fully unleashed on society and the brothers' schemes fall apart. It's anybody's guess who will ultimately pay for the Thompson brothers' crimes in the riveting 'Crime Pays'."