An award-winning former crime reporter with the Columbus Dispatch, Robin Yocum has published two true crime books and six critically acclaimed novels. A Brilliant Death was a finalist for both the 2017 Edgar and the Silver Falchion for best adult mystery. Favorite Sons was named the 2011 Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense by USA Book News. His short story, The Last Hit, was selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2020. His latest book, The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, was released by Arcade CrimeWise in 2021 and was a finalist for the Dashiell Hammett Award for best mystery. He grew up in the Ohio River village of Brilliant and is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where he received a degree in journalism, which kept him out of the steel mills and prevented an untimely and fiery death.
The Sacrifice of Lester Yates
Lester Yates is the notorious Egypt Valley Strangler, one of the country’s most prolific serial killers. Or, is he? Yates is two months from his date with the executioner when Ohio Attorney General Hutch Van Buren receives evidence that could exonerate him. But Yates is a political pawn, and forces exist that don’t want him exonerated, regardless of the evidence. To do so could derail presidential aspirations and change the national political landscape. Yates’ execution will clear a wide political path for many influential people, including Van Buren, who must battle both the clock and a political machine of which he is a part.
A Brilliant Death
Amanda Baron disappeared in a boating accident on the Ohio River in 1953. While it was generally accepted that she had died when a coal barge rammed the pleasure boat she was sharing with her lover, her body was never found. Travis Baron was an infant when his mother disappeared. Now in high school, Travis yearns to know more about his mother. With the help of his best friend, Mitch Malone, Travis begins a search for the truth about the mother he never knew. The two boys find an unlikely ally in an alcoholic former detective. The information the detective provides about Amanda Baron is indisputable—and dangerous. The boys piece together a puzzle lost to time and the dark waters of the Ohio River. They know how Amanda Baron died, and why. Now, what do they do with the information?
In this prequel to The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, fifteen-year-old Hutch Van Buren and his three closest friends are hunting for arrowheads when an altercation with a troubled seventeen-year-old leads to his death. The boys become ensnared in a web of secrets and moral dilemmas. One-Eyed Jack, a local ne’er-do-well and child molester, is convicted of the murder while the boys maintain their silence. Three decades later, Van Buren is a prosecuting attorney and running for Ohio attorney general when he learns that he and his boyhood friends aren’t the only ones with a secret. One-Eyed Jack is out of prison and, facing new charges as a sex offender, attempts to blackmail Van Buren in exchange for his silence. Van Buren must decide between his political career and the duty of the office he swore to uphold.