Though Carolyn and I have each published books previously, Dishonored and Forgotten is both our first effort as a writing duo and at telling a story based on historical events. Since publication in January, there has been a whirlwind of activity as we began promoting the book.
We were invited to launch Dishonored and Forgotten at a monthly meeting of the Houston Police Retired Officers Association, where we presented our book to more than 100 retired police officers. Since then, we have been invited to publish stories on several book review blog sites and made appearances on a half dozen radio talk shows from New York City to the Portland, Oregon area. The format of these shows varied drastically. There was the interview by Patrick Fitzgibbons on Criminal Justice Evolution radio, followed by a late night interview with Da Russ and StewShow on an East Harlem Hip Hop radio station. One of the most interesting interviews was with Donna Seebo on her podcast radio which is subscribed to worldwide. Here’s a link to that interview if you’d like to listen. Interview on the Donna Seebo Show
There were also some rather surprising contacts that we had not anticipated. We received email, phone or personal contacts from relatives of some of the characters who were portrayed in our book using their actual names. Through our research we had visited with family members of some of the people involved, but here are some we talked to after publication.
The nephew of J.T. Conley, one of the Houston officers who met with the federal agent investigating corruption, contacted us. We learned that after the investigation in Houston, Conley left the Houston Department and worked for several years with the Texas Department of Public Safety in a similar undercover role. His nephew also became a Houston police officer and served for years before retiring. We were pleased to learn that J.T. Conley had daughters who will have an opportunity to read this account of their father’s work standing up to corruption.
The great-niece of Earl Voice, who is portrayed in the book (and in newspaper accounts of the scandal) as a pimp and dope dealer, also contacted us. We had a great visit with her. For those who have read Dishonored and Forgotten, you will recall that Earl Voice owned several properties in the downtown area of Houston. We learned from his niece that the legend of Earl Voice having buried dope and money in the yards of these properties, still prompts some to dig in their backyards when they learn that Voice was the previous owner. Of course, she also pointed out that some of the property owned by her uncle at the time, was covered over with tons of concrete as the freeway system in Houston was constructed.
There were also conversations with others who were relatives of some of the book’s characters and knew nothing of this story until reading our book. There was a neighbor of one of the officers who was charged with stealing heroin and another whose father went to school with Sidney Smith, a corrupt, heroin addicted police officer who died with a needle in his arm.
It’s been a gratifying experience and we appreciate all the kind words and support as we continue to promote our book Dishonored and Forgotten, the story of corruption uncovered in 1953.