Interview and Introduction by MysteryPeople Contributor Scott Butki
Allison Leotta has done it again: she has crafted a fine mystery while also schooling us about the status of campus assault in this country. Leotta puts her former profession into play in her series about Anna Curtis, a federal sex crimes prosecutor.
For this, the fifth book in the series, Leotta wanted to tackle campus rape at a prestigious Michigan university. She drew inspiration from real cases, showing the struggle of Title IX activists fighting for change, the effect of technological change on the area, and the length those in power will go to protect their own and keep from the public the severity of the problem.
While the reader can learn a great deal from Leotta’s latest, information comes across from the page in a way that does not detract from the story, nor its excitement and drama. As always, it’s a great story. I encourage you to check out this or the other stories in her series. You can start with any book.
I was lucky enough to get Allison to agree to another email interview with me. She and I last talked for her previous book, A Good Killing.
“I want my books to be first and foremost page turners – a fascinating place for the reader to spend a few hours. But along with entertaining, I do want to educate. My own favorite learning has always come from good novels. And some of the statistics about campus assaults are jaw-dropping.”
Scott Butki: How did you come up with this story?
Allison Leotta: I was captivated by a news story about a lovely young student who disappeared from a nearby college. She was missing for several days, and I found myself thinking about her all the time — hoping and praying she was okay — and wondering what might’ve happened, who could’ve taken her, was there any way this could have a happy ending? Those thoughts were the first seeds of this novel.
SB: Were you planning from the start to write a book about a sex crime on campus since that is such a hot topic these days?
AL: I’ve been mulling it for a while, tossing around ideas for a couple years. My editor, Lauren Spiegel, thought this was the right time, and I think she nailed it. There’s an important national conversation going on about campus sex assaults – the nature of the problem and the possibility of solutions – and I’m glad to be a small part of it.