My journey with the written word began very early in life. The first book I read (devoured actually) was Charles Franklin’s, The World’s Worst Murderers, published in 1965. Since I was only ten, it wasn’t the kind of book that should have interested me, but it did. And despite having to stop occasionally to ask my mother the meaning of a particular word or two, within two weeks I closed the book with a distinct sense of regret.
A little later, my interests broadened from true crime to history – especially that part of history pertaining to armed conflict- and in the summer of 1972 I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and walk the battlefields of both world wars. I even had the chance to conduct a lengthy interview with a former French commando – Laurent Casalonga – whom I’d met by chance at the Trianon Palace Hotel just outside of Paris. But I never lost sight of true crime, and I found myself returning to it again and again. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I’d be writing books about these very interesting and egregious life events. All that would come later.
After spending many years in the Christian ministry (I’m still a pastor with a robust counseling ministry), and at the age of 40, I published my first book, Shattering the Myth: Signposts on Custer’s Road to Disaster. The book sold well, although it was a relatively small press run, and it garnered some good reviews, most notably from The Louisville Courier-Journal, and by the late Civil War historian, Brian C. Pohanka, and Ret. Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore, coauthor of the book, We Were Soldiers Once…and Young. As can be expected, I was very pleased with the response, both from reviewers and the public. Completing the Custer saga, in June 2013, my book, Custer’s Road to Disaster: The Path to Little Bighorn, was published by Globe Pequot Press.
But it was my second book, in 2009, that allowed me to enter (and placed me on a firm foundation within) the genre of true crime, when The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History was published by McFarland & Company. This led to numerous radio programs and contacts from documentarians here in the United States and the United Kingdom, and portions of it also appear in the college textbook, Abnormal Psychology: Clinical Perspectives on Psychological Disorders, published by McGraw-Hill in 2012. The book was well-received by the public from the moment of publication, and as a relatively new writer at the time, it was exceedingly gratifying to receive some really great reviews from my peers. What follows are some of these reviews:
“Despite the multitude of books about Bundy, The Bundy Murders offers fresh material and ideas about Bundy’s predatory movements. Well researched and highly recommended, for Bundy scholars and true crime fans alike.“–Katherine Ramsland, author of The Human Predator and The Devil’s Dozen
‘Insightful, well researched, and well written…highly recommend[ed] for any true crime reader, or any reader wanting to know more about Bundy or about deviant personalities. In fact, this book should be required reading for any student of psychology or criminal law.’–Psychotic State.com
‘Unearths new and horrifying evidence of other murders and graphic new details about the most notorious and fascinating serial killer of all time…provides the most in-depth examination of the killer and his murders ever conducted…a must-read for all true crime fans.’–Dan Zupansky, author of Trophy Kill: The Shall We Dance Murder and host of True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers in True Crime History
‘The Bundy Murders is scholarly and yet, at the same time, compelling and mesmerizing. Couldn’t put it down. This is crime writing at its very best!‘–Gary C. King, author of The Murder of Meredith Kercher and Rage
‘Kevin Sullivan has delivered a precise, knowledgeable chronicle of the life and death of America’s most recognizable serial killer. This highly accessible study gives context to the details of horror unleashed by the unfinished soul we know as Ted Bundy.’–Ron Franscell, bestselling author of The Darkest Night and Delivered from Evil
‘The touchstone of accuracy and insight…never before revealed information on the grisly crimes of America’s most notorious serial killer…required reading for anyone interested in serial killers in general and Ted Bundy in particular.’–Burl Barer, Edgar Award winning author of The Saint: A Complete History in Print Radio Television and Film
While we’re speaking of reviews, here’s a few for my biography of George A. Custer that was published last year:
“He rose to the Army’s pinnacles at age 23, earning him the endearing title “boy general”. But Mr. Sullivan says there’s more to it than high rank at young age. George Armstrong Custer’s boyhood – impetuous, rash, carefree, even rebellious – never disappeared, molding the icon’s battle successes and failures, most notably his last hurrah at the Little Big Horn. Was it all foreordained? A provocative read, this road to disaster invites you to be the judge.” Richard Allan Fox, author, Archaeology, History, and Custer’s Last Battle
“Kevin M. Sullivan has written the best biography ever published about George Armstrong Custer and a page turner to boot! Unlike other books about GAC that just concentrate on the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sullivan starts literally at the Boy General’s birth, taking him forward through childhood and into adulthood. He shows how his personality was formed, making the final debacle inevitable. He also treats Custer with the respect he is due as a great soldier who if he hadn’t perished in his late 30s might have gone onto a very successful political career. So if you want to get an entirely new perspective on an American icon, read this book!“–Fred Rosen, author, Lobster Boy
“In this laudatory history, true crime writer Sullivan (Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders) traces the short and parabolic life of George Armstrong Custer from his inauspicious start at West Point, where he finished last in his class, to his inglorious end at Little Bighorn, where he and over 250 of his men were killed by a force of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. While at the military academy, Custer demonstrated in nearly every way possible his lack of qualifications for leading men into battle—his academic marks were abysmal and he routinely racked up nearly enough demerits to warrant expulsion, yet his “boyish antics” made him popular with classmates. Nevertheless, the Union needed every officer it could wrangle for the impending Civil War. During the conflict, Custer seemed to reinvent himself—he married and proved to be a strong cavalry leader—but it was not for his successes that he would be remembered. After the war died down, another kind of civil war sprang up, this time in the West against the Indians. Sullivan’s roadmap of Custer’s life and demise is succinct and serviceable, but it’s a well-worn path and the scenery will be familiar to anyone who’s walked it before. Photos and map.”
“A wonderful introduction to the ‘Boy General’ but those well familiar with Custer will also find much of interest. Sullivan provides a pleasing writing style to take us from Custer’s beginnings to his end, with fascinating vignettes along the way. Should find space on the shelves of anyone enthralled by the Custer story and the Great Plains Indian Wars.”
–Jeff Barnes, author, The Great Plains Guide to Custer
I’ve also spent time in the trenches of investigative journalism, unearthing long-forgotten (and exceedingly bizarre) homicide cases, some of which were published in Snitch, a weekly print newspaper, originally running in five states, where I was a contributing writer. Some of you may remember the online site In Cold Blog, a very popular “stop” for true crime readers, and my work has appeared there as well. In all, I’m the author of nine books.
And now, writing for WildBlue Press, I have a number of tomes lined up that I know you’re going to enjoy. My first one out the door will be a reissuing of my book, Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders, with Kentucky Bloodbath, a collection of bizarre homicides, soon to follow. And coming in 2015, you won’t want to miss my next biography, as it’s a tantalizing tale of long-range murder, tentatively titled, The Sniper.
On a more personal note, I’ve been married to the most wonderful woman in the world for the last twenty-eight years (thanks Linda!), and we have two children and five grandchildren. It’s also nice that, when it comes to love, grandchildren are like children, but without all the constant work, lol! Naturally, I also love reading (when I have the time) and, between eBooks and hard copies, I often have as many as three books going at one time. We also love traveling, and especially our road trips. There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road with someone you love and leaving the “regular” world behind you. Talk about making memories!
Lastly, watch for my blogs here at WildBlue Press. I’ll be blogging regularly about my books, and about whatever is on my mind and yours! Feel free to comment and ask questions, and I’ll make every effort answer them all. And of course, we’ll have a lot of fun along the way!