Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Excerpt of The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw in Outside Magazine

The current issue of Outside Magazine includes an excerpt from my new book on The Barefoot Bandit. Outside published the first national magazine story on Colton Harris-Moore, and caps their coverage by running part of the book where Colt steals a plane in Indiana and, incredibly, flies it to the Bahamas, beginning a whole new round of chase-and-escape to add to his outlaw tale.  

Due to magazine space constraints, the 4,500-word excerpt is condensed from an 18,000-word section of the book. It includes much of the wild action--the crash landing, several boat thefts, and the final chase--but book readers will have to wait just a little longer to get the full story. One of my favorite anecdotes that we had to cut out was how a Bahamian on Harbour Island had such a strong premonition that he was going to meet Colt on a certain night that he texted a local police sergeant, asking what should he do? That was just a few hours before Colt arrived at his dock, Walther PPK in hand.

Book readers will also get the complete story of how I managed to make it all the way from Washington State's San Juan Islands to the Bahamas (and to the right island, while all the media were on a different Out Island) in time for the final boat chase and showdown.

Shameless plug: Read the Outside excerpt now, and then pre-order The Barefoot Bandit from your favorite bookseller.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bandit Bookshelf

Nice post from Bookish, a blog for readers and book lovers, about picks for stocking the outlaw section of your home bookshelf. Happily it includes a new book along with some great classics...

Bookish Blogs Outlaw Reads

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Coldfoot Bandit?

MSNBC/AP Mountain Man Bandit

The AP has a story about a Grizzly Adams Bandit who's scaring the hell out of residents out in Utah. Like the Barefoot Bandit, this guy Goldilocks in unattended cabins--breaking-in, eating their food, rifling through their stuff--but unlike Colt, he also drinks their booze and often does damage, spraying the cabins with bullets. Part of his MO is that he also destroys religious objects.

This guy has been at it for five years without getting caught. The photo they got that the FBI hopes will identify him, was captured by using a game camera usually set up by hunters or biologists to record big, skittish animals. The same technology was used by the police to try and track Colton Harris-Moore on Camano Island. Unlike the Coldfoot Bandit, Barefoot was able to avoid the cameras.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Social Bandit, Social Media

It's interesting that the academic term for what Colton Harris-Moore turned out to be is “social bandit.” Those who study outlaws call them social bandits, aka outlaw heroes, because for one reason or another, a segment of society gets behind the bandit and roots for him.

Hero in this context is not a value judgment: No one is equating crooks with real heroes like some cops, firemen, soldiers, and so on, are. The term hero in this context is because some people live vicariously through the bandit’s adventures and see them as getting revenge for them against a system or power that in some way has been unfair.

Social bandits include everyone from Robin Hood to John Dillinger. Robin Hood is held up as the pure example. Colt, obviously, was no Robin Hood. Dillinger was also held up as an outlaw hero by some even though he and his gang killed cops and innocent bystanders. Colt was not on that extreme, either.

Colt was easy for some to root for because he didn’t hurt anyone. And even though he stated no philosophy, some people began to see him as striking out against the various things that they, too, wanted to rebel against. Colt was an exciting, camera-ready avatar for those who wanted to strike back at grown-ups, the police, school, local government, rich people, investment bankers, authority, shoe manufacturers… whatever they had a problem with, Colt was out there fighting against it for them. The Great Recession was as fertile a backdrop for Colt to spring up out of as a social bandit as the Great Depression was for Dillinger.

Social media then played a huge role in spreading his story and fame far quicker than any other outlaw hero in history.

And now the related plug: In advance of the release of my book, The Barefoot Bandit (which will be in bookstores on March 20, but is available for pre-order now) I’ll be launching a new website (more about that very soon), and I have already put up a Facebook Author page. Both will have lots of content related to the book such as photo galleries, videos, links, maps, updates, interviews, etc, acting as the “Special Features” to the book. This blog will then mesh with the other social media stuff.

So if you’re on Facebook, go to . I’ll be adding more content frequently.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Colton Harris-Moore Makes the Travel Channel

It's not "America's Great Escapes" or "Fugitives Pick Their Favorite Restaurants To Go," but the Travel Channel has a new show in its first season called "Hidden City." A couple of months ago, it's host, crime-fiction writer Marcus Sakey, and his crew came to Seattle to focus on the Emerald City's most enduring criminal mysteries.

Marcus is an experiential reporter, so he tried to play guitar with a grunge band to look into Curt Cobain's death, and then he turned to Colt's case and actually tried to take off and land a Cessna. Very cool idea, which Seattle DJ (and owner of the first plane Colt stole) Bob River and I were going to do: rigging up Bob's replacement Cessna with cameras and having me try to "steal" and fly it... that is until my publisher got wind of the idea and nixed it because I wasn't done the manuscript yet. Probably smart on their part.

Anyway, Marcus's production company apparently didn't have the same qualms. As part of the story he also sat down with me in an Orcas Island coffee house to talk about the story. It's another one of these where the interview lasted an hour, but I have absolutely no clue if I'll be on for five seconds or maybe a full three minutes, and I don't know which part they'll use... I do know that the director mentioned I used the word "balls" too many times...

So, check out Hidden City tonight on the Travel Channel at 9 EST. We still don't have television out here at the cabin, so someone send me an email and let me know how it goes.