Brother's Blood: A Heartland Cain and Abel

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9781888160598: Brother's Blood: A Heartland Cain and Abel

A Whydunit How could he do that? Murder a brother, his sister-in-law, and his young niece and nephew as they slept in their beds? Jerry Mark was a Peace Corps volunteer, lawyer, 4-H leader, vice-president of his Cedar Falls High School senior class, and certainly a most likely-to-succeed young man when he graduated in 1960. Sixteen years later he was convicted of four cold-blooded execution-style murders of his own family. How could he? That's what Brother's Blood explores. Author Scott Cawelti knew Jerry Mark in high school, interviewed him in prison, observed his arrest, trial, and conviction with shock and horror. Brother's Blood reveals a mind consumed with anger, revenge, jealousy, and greed. This book is not a whodunit but a whydunit. This account engages readers with the actual facts: the killer's cross-country motorcycle ride, the landmark investigation in which the murderer was fingered in ten days, the trial where circumstantial evidence was used to make a powerful case against him, and his appeals which continued for three decades.

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About the Author:

Scott Cawelti was born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He attended the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), graduating with a vocal music education degree in 1965 and a Master s Degree in English in 1968,and a PhD in Modern Letters from the University of Iowa in 1978. Dr. Cawelti taught at UNI from 1968-2008 and continues to teach a variety of courses as an adjunct since his retirement. He has published two writing textbooks and edited The Complete Poetry of James Hearst, (University of Iowa, 2001).

Review:

Anyone who is acquainted with the Iowa family murder recounted here will not only revisit the facts as they are known, but also speculate with the author about what thoughts might have gone through the twisted mind of the perpetrator both perspectives in keeping with the rich potential of faction. Those familiar with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood; will find Cawelti's handling of fact and fiction masterful and will conclude Capote has nothing on Cawelti. All readers should steel themselves for a disturbing encounter with the bafflements of a brother's commission of a horrific act and an unpardonable sin. --Robert Gish, author, West Bound: Stories of Providence

The Marks were an Iowa farming family less well-known than the Clutters of Kansas, but comparable in the hideousness of their murders. Using interviews and trial transcripts, Scott Cawelti has given us the terse and mercifully distanced account of how one jealous brother carried out the crime. The allusion to Cain and Abel is apt; one dearly wishes the killer had read that story, and learned its lesson. --Robley Wilson, author, The Victim's Daughter

Brother's Blood is a thoroughly researched and straightforward account of a horrific crime. Scott Cawelti has captured the darkest of deeds the cold-blooded and premeditated murder of family members. Reminiscent of true crime classics like In Cold Blood and Fatal Vision; Brother's Blood is absorbing, tense, and disturbing. Scott Cawelti's well-researched and taut narrative will keep readers turning the pages. --Thomas Wolf, co-author, Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America s Heartland

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