Kathryn Eastburn, Writer

Books: Click on titles for reviews

From the Southern Foodways Alliance, a celebration of southern food.
"Why would a boy who never harmed a soul fall under the spell of another, believe he was part of a foreign cell, and kill his friend to prove his obedience and loyalty? And how do we, the civilized members of an advanced democracy, restrain our impulse to treat tragically misguided adolescents as adult miscreants? Kathryn Eastburn addresses these questions in a riveting true story, told with clarity and honesty. Simon Says is a quick read that leaves you sadder and wiser." —Frank Ochberg, M.D., Chairman Emeritus, The Dart Center for Journalism, and originator of the "Stockholm Syndrome" concept
"An affectionate, even loving portrayal of a tradition of song and community by a journalist who came to take a quick look—and ended up staying—to feed her `heart's hunger.'" —Buell Cobb, author of The Sacred Harp: A Tradition and Its Music

Simon Says: A True Story of Boys, Guns, and Murder (Da Capo Press, 2008)

"Kathryn Eastburn is an exceptional writer, capable of describing indescribable acts with startling dramatic flair and clarity. She writes with great compassion for both the victims and perpetrators alike caught in their heartbreaking webs of dysfunction, fear, and love. You will be reminded of In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter, the Columbine massacre and Virginia Tech ... This is an important book, a powerful story, and an insightful warning that cannot be ignored."
--John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War

"An intricate study of the triple homicide...[Eastburn] has been able to peel away layers and layers of courtroom proceedings and psychological underpinnings to expose the complex personality of Simon Sue... This is an amazing and totally riveting story... With imagery equal to that created by Golding in "The Lord of the Flies," or Conrad in "Heart of Darkness," Eastburn opens the door into this hidden and macabre underworld that existed under the nose of respectability in Colorado Springs."
--Summit Daily News

"Eastburn does an impressive job of tying together the odd facts about this case as it limps along for three years... Eastburn diligently follows the story to completion and questions how these teenage boys got tangled in a drama that ultimately led to three needless murders. For fans of true crime, Simon Says fits the bill."
--Aspen Times Weekly

"Eastburn gives equal time to victims and killers alike in her book Simon Says, a real and gritty look at what happens when violence comes to a small town... Smart and engaging writing...[Eastburn] takes a deep look at why children kill... painstakingly pieces together the events, thoughts and emotions behind one of Colorado's most violent and disturbing crimes. Simon Says doesn't give the reader any hope in humanity, it just reveals the slight difference between humans and monsters."
--Vail Daily

"Grade: A...Pros: The author weaves a gripping tale out of a complicated investigation...Cons: There's not much to dislike in this can't-put-down read."
--Rocky Mountain News

"Kathryn Eastburn knows Colorado all too well. Her work explores the darkness beneath the surface of a place that has grown too fast, that has lost touch with its roots and its sense of community. This is a haunting tale, told with great insight and compassion."
--Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

"Kathryn Eastburn, a newspaper reporter who covered the court proceedings against the boys, tells this tragic tale with clarity and compassion. Her narrative, culled from official records, direct observation and interviews, is swift, compelling, and without a hint of sensationalism. This look at darkness, dysfunction, and human detritus needs no manufactured thrills... Eastburn relates some truly chilling moments... With Simon Says, Eastburn reveals wounds that may never heal. There are also open questions, doubts about guilt and innocence, and the conflicting stories of the participants. We may never have the answers, but this predatory tale reminds us that there are monsters, and they are very human. That's reason enough to tell the story."
--Santa Fe New Mexican

"Not only is this longtime local journalist's writing crisp and engaging, but she follows the twists and turns of the "Guffey murders" tale down several roads worth following... Eastburn has a knack for the telling detail... The story is sad and gripping, and it feels as if it is being told by a neighbor."
--Colorado Springs Gazette

"Tautly written and is as exciting as a crime novel. The book is at its best when Eastburn shows how the murders affected the families of those involved, both the victims and the perpetrators."
--Galveston County Daily News

"The prose wrapped around this true story is excellent, and Eastburn manages to keep tension acute while describing a four-year period, much of it involving the ponderous legal system. That's a tough chore with an audience more attuned to the seemingly quick solutions presented on 'Law and Order.'"
--Denver Post

"[Eastburn] uses both her reporting skills and her sensitivity to get inside not only the lives of the victims, but also the minds of the boys who committed the murders, and the families devastated in the aftermath... Eastburn brings us inside Grimes' world leading up to the crimes... The story will give you much to ponder...It may be only through examining such stories that we begin to understand how they can happen, and maybe how we can help prevent them from happening in the future."
--Colorado Springs Independent

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