Chris had a unique perspective when writing this book. He was actually the investigating detective who caught the serial rapist. That of course made me more intrigued to read it. So my lovelies, let's first sit down with Chris for the interview then get to the review of The Last Victim!
Warning: This book is about the hunt for a serial rapist. While it does a great job of addressing this sensitive subject, some people may find the descriptions of the attacks disturbing or triggering.
Thank you so much for joining me, Chris! When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I had been retired for about 2 years when I received a phone call from Melissa Brown. She was a victim of a serial rapist whom I had caught. The rapist, William Edward Griffith Jr., was scheduled for his first parole hearing in the next month (March of 2009). She wanted me to go with her to the hearing and I readily agreed. While I attended and observed the hearing I was blown away by the victims reliving their horror’s right before my eyes. I was moved to tell the story and make a push with the Ohio legislature to enact Civil Commitment law in Ohio as it relates to violent sexual predators.
That's wonderful that you went with her and that you decided to write about this case. Before we go any further, I'd just like to thank you for bringing this man to justice. What has been the most difficult part about being a writer?
Going through drafts, and including description of everyday events we all take for granted. The editing, and re-editing. Capturing the mood and keeping it going. Waiting to get back critiques from people who agreed to read it and offer suggestions. I was really into it and couldn’t wait to get to the next step.
Those are always difficult steps, especially when you're trying to capture what real life events. You don't get the creative license fiction writers do which I'm sure makes it harder! Do you use a pen name?
No I do not. Everything to do with the book is true and accurate, sadly.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are two actually, Michael Connelly and James Patterson. How they consistently churn out stories for Harry Bosch and Alex Cross is amazing to me. They are all very good and keep your attention to the end.
Both of those authors are so amazingly talented. I love the Alex Cross novels. What type of books do you like to read?
Definitely, Joseph Wambaugh. He’s written true crime stories and fictional stories based on life experiences he has had as a police officer in Los Angeles. I plan on trying my hand at the fiction part next. I also like to read mystery thrillers and non-fiction story’s from the people who actually experienced the topic.
I think that would be a great idea! What do you like to do in your free time?
I follow sports like golf, football and baseball religiously. Weather permitting I love to play golf. I also like to play cards at casino’s.
I play mini-golf...does that count lol? :) Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina. Beach time and total relaxation.
I've always wanted to visit Hilton Head! My family always stuck to North Carolina beaches. If I were stuck on a desert island and could only have three things, what would they be?
an endless supply of good cigars, (matches included of course), fine scotch, and my wife.
LOL! Definitely one of the best responses I've gotten to that question :) Was it hard transitioning from being a cop to being a writer?
Not really, I found it to be therapeutic. I was able to sit and write, and remember, and write. The writing helped flesh out memories of events that had occurred that I had totally forgotten about.
I can certainly see how it would be therapeutic to write it out. Tell us about this case and the hunt for the serial rapist?
William E. Griffith Jr. is a serial rapist. He started as a window peeper while a teenager; content to watch women in various stages of nudity outside their bedroom windows while pleasuring himself.
Upon graduation from high school, Bill entered the U.S. Army and met his first of three wives. Interviews with all the wives carried a common theme: Bill was controlling and nocturnal. While normal people slept, Bill was hunting for victims. In the late-night hours, Bill used various excuses to leave the residence and carry out his ritual of voyeurism.
The Last Victim chronicles Bill Griffith’s 30 years of sexual violence. In 1967 Bill’s obsession with peeping activities caused him to be the victim of a shooting in Akron, Ohio.
In the 1970’s Bill’s peeping and minor scrapes with the law continued. However, he began to undergo a metamorphosis. The window peeping no longer quieted the urge inside him. Bill graduated to crossing the threshold of homes, wearing dark clothes, a ski mask and carrying a flashlight. This scene repeated itself over thirty times alone in Stark County during the 1980’s.
Bill’s job changes and business travels stretched across northern Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Minnesota and down to Arizona. Bill was always on the move and wherever he went a sex offense was soon to follow.
The roller coaster ride of the investigation and man hunt of Griffith across the country is fast paced and action packed as Rudy continuously learns more and more about his target. The information builds to a climax when Griffith is captured in Phoenix, Arizona because of a pair of tennis shoes!
In the end everything about Bill Griffith is succinctly wrapped up and presented to the reader in astonishing fashion as an example of the devastation of lives left behind by sexual predators in America along with the solution of what America should do with them!
The timeliness of this book cannot be overstated. The stories of paroled sexual predators who reoffended were national stories in 2010. Philip Garrido was captured after holding Jaycee Dugard for 17 years as a sex slave in California. John Albert Gardner was apprehended in San Diego County for the murders of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. Bernard Jackson was charged with raping 5 women in Kansas City, Kansas over a six month time span in 2009-2010 after being paroled for the rape of four women in the early 1980s. In July of 2010, Tushon Brown, of Liberty Pennsylvania was charged in the murders and sexual mutilation of two women only seven months of being paroled for rape.
I must admit, the thought of this man perpetrating these crimes for so many years makes my skin crawl. It is a relief to know he's finally been stopped. Why did you decide to write about this case?
After sitting there at his parole hearing and watching his victims relive their personal horrors I felt strongly the story had to be told. I was very moved by what I saw that day.
I'm so glad you decided to tell their story and hopefully it can help others. What has been the hardest scene for you to write?
‘The Attacks’ section of the book.
It's understandable how it would be so hard. I do feel you handled it very well. Did you find it difficult reliving the details of the case when you were writing it?
No honestly it was very therapeutic.
That's wonderful that it was therapeutic for you. Do you follow up with this or any other criminals you helped take down to ensure they stay incarcerated?
I like to keep tabs on some of them, however, this person is the most dangerous I’ve ever come in contact with. There is no chance he is ever fit to re-enter society. The others I’ve put away will eventually re-enter society as their chances of receiving parole are very good after time passes. The passage of time will never change people like Griffith.
I couldn't agree more about him being unfit to ever re-enter society. Do you plan on writing any more books about former cases?
I’m trying to put together my first fictional story based on some of my actual cases as a police officer.
I can't wait to see more, especially a fictional story! Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your book?
Yes. I want the reader to become an advocate in their state/community for the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act in their state and in particular the Civil Commitment component that allows for lifetime incarceration of violent sexual predators after the completion of their criminal sentence.
Wow, that is definitely a cause worth supporting. What’s next for you?
Continue to slog away at finishing my first fictional story. I’ve created a character who is a detective in a small north eastern Ohio police department. I’m filling out the characters around him along with the community and then the crimes and situations he will deal with. It’s actually a lot of fun.
It sounds like it would be loads of fun :) I hope to see much more from you in the future! Anything else you want your readers to know?
If you have an idea to write a book, do it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it or belittle the idea. It was very fulfilling for me. When you are complete you have a real feeling of accomplishment. If you don’t try you’ll always wonder, what if?
Thank you so much for joining me, Chris! Lovelies, read on for my review of The Last Victim!
About the book:
Publisher: WhoDunIt LLC
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
My source for the book: Provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Genre: True Crime
Length: 154 pages
Length: 154 pages
'The Last Victim' The case that ended 30 years of sexual deviance, is a gripping true crime story which will leave the reader inspired to become an advocate for victims of sexual violence. The book chronicles the life of convicted serial rapist William Edward Griffith, Jr. by the detective who tracked him across the country. Griffith practiced his trade as a voyeur and serial rapist in 6 states: Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia and Texas over thirty years.Buy it Now:
In December 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a groundbreaking study conducted with the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, about violence against women. The startling result of 1 in 5 women is a victim of rape! Violence against women is pervasive throughout the country having long-lasting, far ranging health consequences.
We are encouraging our readers of our book to write their area legislators to put civil commitment into law in their state. our mothers, wives, sisters, and children deserve nothing less.
WHAT I LIKED:
True crime has always interested me because a long long time ago, I wanted to be a forensic scientist. The tricky thing about true crime novels is that there's a fine line between presenting the case in a factual manner without the book coming across as a textbook. Believe it or not, there have been times I've read about crimes that should have kept me captivated, yet they practically put me to sleep.
That being said, I loathe when authors sensationalize crimes for the sake of selling more books. I was a bit skeptical at first because The Last Victim is written by a former cop and typically the true crime novels I've read are written by reporters or dedicated novelists. I was afraid this could come across as a police report, dry and nothing but the facts. Thankfully, I was wrong.
This book drew me in and I felt like I was right there with the cops working to catch this killer. With this being a serial rapist, I was a tad worried about how the victims' stories would be told. Chris relayed the details of the crimes in a way that conveyed the depravity of the William Griffith without making a spectacle of the victims. This section was more straightforward, a detached description of what happened to each of the women, but in many ways I found it to be more powerful.
Throughout the rest of the book, you get an insiders look into the hunt for a serial rapist and I felt just as frustrated as the investigators. Even knowing how the book would end, I breathed a sigh of relief when Griffith was captured and locked away. The use of crime scene photos definitely enhanced the book.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
There really wasn't anything I didn't like about this.
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/5 Blue Duckies!!
This is a powerful book about the tireless efforts to bring down a depraved serial rapist. The fact that it was told by the detective responsible for bringing this man to justice makes this even more compelling. While certain aspects of the book, in particular the section describing the individual crimes, could be disturbing for some readers, I highly recommend this book and hope to see more from this author.
Christopher Rudy has been a law enforcement officer for more than 30 years. He has worked for police departments in Perry and Jackson Township’s in Stark County, Ohio, plus the Summit County Ohio Sheriff’s Office and the United States Air Force. More than half of his career has been in criminal investigations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice. Christopher has received countless hours of training in every aspect of criminal investigation to include the F.B.I. National Academy (196th Session) in Quantico, Virginia. He also served on numerous task forces investigating homicide, corruption, money laundering, burglary, gambling and robbery.
Christopher received the Jackson Township Police department’s highest award, “Police Officer of the Year”, for the William Griffith case, while also being recognized award as “Bluecoat of the Year” in 1988 by the community at large. In addition he has instructed on all aspects of crime prevention, personal safety for women and children, rape prevention and the implementation of community oriented policing programs. Christopher has appeared on television panel discussions locally and conducted numerous radio interviews. Christopher is very enthusiastic about promoting this book with the public.
In October of 2009 Christopher and George Davis formed WhoDunIt, LLC to write non-fiction and fiction police stories. They have a web site that can be viewed at www.whodunitllc.com. Christopher is a member of the local American Legion Post in Canton, Ohio and a member of the Ohio Chapter of the F.B.I. National Academy Graduates. He is an avid sports fan with a passion for playing golf and following major league baseball and the national football league.
Christopher’s favorite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph Wambaugh. Conan Doyle was a man before his time according to Rudy, he wrote about investigative principles and procedures in the late 1890’s that hold true to this day, the man was ‘prophet’ when it came to criminal investigations.
Connect with Chris: