“Journalist Carole Townsend’s book digs deep into subjects at the heart of American discourse today: race and violence. Her detailed reporting provides investigatory depth, putting readers directly in the middle of the madness. . . . With alternating first-person chapters by the tenacious detective who led the hunt for a psychopath, this engrossing, shocking, and sad account of blinding racial hatred, poverty, and radicalism in the American South—social problems in great need of dialogue today—packs a sobering punch.”
—NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST M. WILLIAM PHELPS
Blood in the Soil
This is Carole’s fourth book. Blood in the Soil is the first book ever to detail the investigation into the shooting of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and his country attorney in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1978. However, this book is not just about Larry Flynt, or even his shooter, serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.
This true account weaves the perspective of Detective J. Michael Cowart with the story of Franklin’s life from childhood all the way up to his execution. The monster that was Joseph Paul Franklin was born of a perfect storm of circumstances: poverty, abuse, racism, integration, and the hate groups that operated and recruited openly. Detective Cowart tells the story of his first introduction to Franklin and the cat-and-mouse game that ensued. A self-proclaimed truth-seeker, the detective had to appear to befriend Franklin to get him to provide enough information to prosecute him in the Flynt shooting. In the course of developing this rapport, Cowart gains astonishing insight into many of Franklin’s other cold-blooded killings and crimes, and his twisted justification for them.
Blood in the Soil tells of a very real struggle between right and wrong. It details with stark honesty the terrible truths that characterized the South during the volatility of the sixties and seventies, and of the ugly reality that lurked just beneath the veneer of a beautiful region known for its warm hospitality. Along the way, it examines some hard lessons about life, trust, and compromise.