Author Casey Sherman promises suspenseful Sweester Lecture

24Mar15

Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 pm at the Savings Bank Theater – Wakefield, MA

Casey_ShermanThose who attend Wednesday’s opening lecture of the 2015 Sweetser Lecture Series at The Savings Bank Theater are in for a treat.

Speaker Casey Sherman is not just an author and journalist. He is a born storyteller, entertainer and showman who can hold an audience spellbound with true stories about the Boston Strangler, the Boston mob, the Marathon bombings and one of the most daring naval rescues of all time.

A native of Hyannis, Sherman is the bestselling author of eight books including A Rose for Mary, Animal: the bloody rise and fall of the mob’s most feared assassin, Bad Blood, Black Irish, Black Dragon, Boston Strong: a city’s triumph over tragedy, and The Finest Hours, which Disney Pictures has made into a feature film scheduled for release later this year.

“I’ll be taking the audience on a spine-tingling journey through four of my bestselling books,” Sherman said in an email interview from Washington, D.C. where he was speaking at the National Crime Museum. His book, Boston Strong is now on display at the museum in a new exhibit on terrorism.

“We’ll go on the hunt for the Boston Strangler, uncover the FBI’s devil’s deal with the Boston mob, and learn the inspiring stories behind the Boston Marathon bombings and The Finest Hours,” Sherman said in a preview of his talk here next week.

While some of his books are about crime and criminals, Sherman resists being categorized as a crime writer.

“I don’t consider myself a ‘true crime writer,’” he says. “My most famous book, after all, is about a Coast Guard rescue. My next book concerns the Cuban Missile Crisis. I am more focused on story rather than genre.”

Sometimes, the stories are personal. A Rose for Mary (also released as “Search for the Strangler: My hunt for Boston’s most notorious killer”) is about his effort as a Boston TV news producer to investigate the 1964 killing of 19 year-old Mary Sullivan. Sullivan was believed to be the last victim of the Boston Strangler. She was also Sherman’s aunt – his mother’s sister. She was killed before Sherman was born.

In his book, Sherman takes readers through the original criminal investigation of the case, which was declared solved based largely on handyman Albert DeSalvo’s confession to all crimes attributed to the Boston Strangler.

But Sherman’s family never believed DeSalvo killed Mary Sullivan, which prompted Sherman to take a fresh look at the case years later. He reveals in his book that he believes he knows who killed his aunt, and it was not Albert DeSalvo. So when in 2013 DeSalvo’s body was exhumed and DNA testing linked him to the killing of Mary Sullivan, no one was more surprised than Casey Sherman.

“I was surprised, as previous DNA tests had identified another possible killer,” Sherman says. “My only goal has always been closure for my mother. So many questions still remain in that case.”

Sherman’s 2009 book The Finest Hours (written with Michael Tougias) tells the true story of the Coast Guard’s daring and heroic rescue after two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, broke up during a raging nor’easter off the New England coast in February, 1952. Disney picked up the motion picture rights to this compelling story and recently completed filming.

“The Finest Hours was filmed here in Massachusetts in 2014 starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Eric Bana and Holliday Grainger,” Sherman says. “Disney will release the movie worldwide on October 9.”

Sherman’s latest book, Boston Strong chronicles the Boston Marathon bombing from the Tsarnaev brothers’ years leading up to the bombing through the life-affirming stories of recovering victims, while also giving voice to those who lost loved ones.

Boston Strong is a tribute to the survivors of this tragedy,” Sherman says. “Their collective resilience continues to inspire me. I was humbled by the opportunity to write their story with my co-author Dave Wedge.”

Casey Sherman will expand on these stories and more next Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Savings Bank Theater at Wakefield High School, 60 Farm St. Wakefield, MA. Tickets are available at Smith’s Drug Store, 390 Main St. Wakefield, MA 01880 or at the door on the night of the lecture.

[This story originally appeared in the March 23, 2015 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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