Townsend’s “Blood in the Soil” details famous Flynt shooting

“Blood in the Soil: A True Tale of Racism, Sex and Murder in the South” by Carole Townsend. (Special Photo)

Carole Townsend’s latest novel “Blood in the Soil: A True Tale of Racism, Sex and Murder in the South” delves into the cold-blooded crimes of the 1970s American South — and one famous case from Gwinnett County in particular.

The book details the investigation into the shooting of “Hustler” magazine publisher Larry Flynt and his attorney in Gwinnett County in 1978. The book sheds light on Flynt’s shooter, serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.

The book’s story is told from the perspective of Det. J. Michael Cowart, and looks at Franklin’s life, from his childhood to his execution.

“Franklin was born of a perfect storm of circumstances: povert, abuse, racism, integration and the hate groups that operated and recruited openly,” the book’s publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, explained in an announcement for the book. “Det. Cowart tells the story of his first introduction to Franklin and the cat-and-mouse game that ensued.

“A self-proclamation truth-seeker, the detective has 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.”

Townsend is scheduled to make two appearances in Gwinnett next month to promote and sign copies of the book. The first is on June 11 at a Barnes and Noble in Buford, and the second is on June 18 at the Barnes and Noble at the Forum on Peachtree Parkway.

“Blood in the Soil” is pitched by its publisher as a display of “a very real struggle between right and wrong” while detailing the atmosphere in the South during the 1960s and 1970s and “the ugly reality that lied just beneath the cover of a beautiful region known for its warmth and hospitality.” It also looks at issues involving life, trust and compromise.

Townsend is a reporter and newspaper columnist who has been published in “Ladies’ Home Journal” and other national publications. She has also appeared on several television networks, including CNN, FOX, ABC and CBS.

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