Art by Ralph Steadman
Columbine: A True Crime Story
a victim, the killers and the nation's search for answers

In Bookstores April 1, 2009

Ten years after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve classmates and a teacher, Columbine remains the world's most iconic school shooting.

Columbine: A True Crime Story, a victim, the killers and the nation's search for answers is the first book of investigative journalism to tell the complete story of that day, the far-reaching consequences, and the common denominators among school shooters across the country.

Jeff Kass was one of the first reporters on the scene and has continued to cover the story as a staff writer for Denver's Rocky Mountain News.

He has broken national stories on the shootings such as leaked crime scene photos, and the sealed diversion files of the killers. He has also reported the story extensively for the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, and U.S. News & World Report.

The result of ten years of research and exclusive information, the book reaches into fundamental American themes of violence, racism, parenting and policing.

Concluding with the tale of the tattered police investigation and how one of the most controversial victims' families faces down a modern American tragedy as the cameras roll, Columbine: A True Crime Story is a classic in the tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner's Song.

With exclusive cover art by renowned artist and cultural commentator Ralph Steadman, and photos from the archives of the Rocky Mountain News, which won the Pulitzer Prize for its Columbine photography. Foreword by distinguished historian Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

From the back of the book:

"We've heard all this before. We're tired of hearing it now. Why go back to Columbine again? But there are a lot of people who haven't heard all this."
Hunter S. Thompson, American literary icon and author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

"Even in the midst of tragedy we've seen the best, the best there is to see about our nation and about human nature."
Former President Bill Clinton from his words inscribed on the Columbine Memorial

"A decade after the most dramatic school massacre in American history, Jeff Kass applies his considerable reporting talents to exploring the mystery of how two teens could have planned and carried out such gruesome acts without their own family and best friends knowing about it. Actually, there were important clues, but they were missed or downgraded both by those who knew the boys best and by public officials who came in contact with them. An engrossing and cautionary tale for everyone who cares about how to prevent kids from going bad."
Ted Gest, President, Criminal Justice Journalists

Advance Praise:

"Columbine was the kind of tragedy that defined a genuine breakdown of social cohesion in the late nineties. America and guns go back a long way, as Hunter Thompson used to remind me- and demonstrate. But this was a lack of imagination, a cold assessment of cause and effect, devoid of compassion and the action of severely damaged psyches which could never have been introduced to the ramifications of consequence. Unfortunately, these kids have had many role models, filmic but very real demonstrations from A Clockwork Orange onwards on which to base their ideas. I reckon that the senseless motive for violence heightens the sick thrill of the act."
Ralph Steadman, gonzo artist, cultural commentator, and author of The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories: Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson, and Me

Jeff Kass - Author
(photo by Barry Gutierrez)

"'Could this happen here?' The day after Columbine I was asked that question from parents, faculty, school administrators, students and police officers in Aspen. Columbine: A True Crime Story answers all questions about the killers, the families, and victims of one of the most iconic school shootings in this nation's history and more."
Bob Braudis, Sheriff, Pitkin County, Colorado

"Kass has created a tour-de-force explaining not just Columbine, but the roots of all teen violence - not just an accounting of facts, but a sordid, painful, and in the end, hopeful tale that draws us in and won-t let go. It will remain with you long after the pages become dog-eared and weathered."
Paul Dobransky, M.D., Psychiatrist and first responder to Columbine

"Jeff Kass comes closer than anyone in explaining this national tragedy that is Columbine. His discussions with Hunter S. Thompson in the kitchen over the years revealed his depth of research and wisdom of this complex story, which he finally unmasks, a decade later, in Columbine: A True Crime Story."
Anita Thompson, wife of the late Hunter S. Thompson, and author of The Gonzo Way: A Celebration of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Selected photosfrom the book:

(photo by George Kochaniec Jr.)

(photo by Chris Schneider)
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