Thursday, March 24, 2011


Dear Patient Readers,

First, thanks to all who responded to my questions about your interest in Colton’s story. I received emails from people of all ages from places around the world. As I suspected, you all had very thoughtful and interesting takes. 

Second, it’s nice to see by the comments that your interest in Colton continues to translate into care about other young people in difficult circumstances. As I’ve said before, that’s been my biggest takeaway from all this.

Okay, book news: I’ve completed the manuscript. Right now it’s a shelf-bender at 600 pages. I’ll try to whittle that down some by the time it gets to the printer. At the same time, though, I’ll be adding pages to it because… The really big news is that my publisher has agreed to push back the pub date of the book until after Colt makes his way through the courts. To me, this is great news and something I’ve been lobbying very hard for. I appreciate Hyperion taking this step for a number of reasons.

Most basically, the book will now have an ending. Colt’s plea deals will, of course, make news, but then quickly disappear. I feel a book on this subject should have a long shelf life, and so it has to tell what happens to him in the justice system. One option was to do the hardcover now then update for the paperback, but I didn't feel that would be fair to the folks who bought the hardcover.

Most worrisome for me, though, was the idea that the book could come out while all the legal wrangling was still going on. Colt hasn’t been convicted of anything since the charges that sent him to Greenhill in 2007. It’s relatively certain that he illegally absconded from the group home in 2008, but who knows… his attorney may try the “alien abduction” defense.

Seriously… Colt has a talented lawyer defending him. The Federal and local prosecutors have the law and all the evidence gathered by numerous county, state, Federal and even international law enforcement on their side. I hope that the negotiations result in fair sentences (at this point it sounds like Colt will face both Federal and Washington State sentencing). There is, of course, still a chance this could end up in a trial or two. I would not want any information in my book to become involved in any Sixth Amendment (impartial jury) issues. It’s been sensibly argued by both sides in previous court proceedings that pre-trial publicity can be prejudicial to both the defendant’s and the People’s cases. Yes, I’ve already written about Colt and some of these events during the last few years, but not in anything like the depth this book goes into.

So, I apologize that the book will be delayed. But at least from my point of view, it’s a good thing and a big relief. It will probably cost some sales, but there are much larger issues at play here.

Colt will be sentenced this spring or summer. I’ll cover that, add it to the manuscript and then Hyperion will release it. The uncertainty of the legal timing means we can’t give a pub date right now. Whenever that is, though, you’ll get the most complete, factually correct book I can give you, one that’s fair to everyone involved in this complex and compelling story.