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Publisher's Summary

In 1968, during Albert Lepard's fifth escape from a life sentence at Parchman Penitentiary, he kidnapped Lovejoy Boteler, then 18 years old, from his family's farm in Grenada, Mississippi. Three decades later, still beset by half-buried memories of that time, Boteler began researching his kidnapper's nefarious, sordid life to discover how and why this terrifying abduction occurred.

In Crooked Snake, Boteler pieces together the story of this cold-blooded murderer's life using both historical records and personal interviews - over 70 in all - with ex-convicts who gravitated to and ran with Lepard, the family members who fed and sheltered the fugitive during his escapes, the law officers who hunted him, and the regular folks who were victimized in his terrible wake.

Boteler reveals his kidnapper's hardscrabble childhood and tracks his whereabouts before his incarceration and during his jailbreaks. Lepard's escapes take him to Florida, Michigan, Kansas, California, and Mexico. Crooked Snake captures a slice of history and a landscape that is fast disappearing. 

These vignettes describe Mississippi's countryside and spirit, ranging from sharecropper family gatherings in Attala County's Seneasha Valley to the 20,000-acre Parchman farm and its borderlands teeming with alligator, panther, bear, and wild boar.

©2019 University Press of Mississippi (P)2020 Tantor

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An amazing book.

Albert Lepard was considered an escape artist by the press because of his many escapes from Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi. He was legendary in my hometown in the Mississippi Delta, especially since he visited the town during a couple of his excursion away from the prison. You don't have to be familiar with his story to thoroughly enjoy this book. It is the story of a very poor, illiterate man who longed for a better life, but made one tragic mistake that sent him to prison for life.
This book is probably categorized as a True Crime story, but it is much more than that. The research that went into this book has resulted in one of the best human interest stories you will ever read.

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