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Suspense Thriller Fiction by John T. Cullen

Jean-Thomas Cullen writing as John T. Cullen

=  Lethal Journey: Gaslamp Thriller  =

1892 Dark Suspense Based On True Crime. This is a noir period thriller based closely on my nonfiction, scholarly analysis (120 footnotes) titled Dead Move: Kate Morgan and the Haunting Mystery of Coronado (see: Café The Reading Room, my nonfiction playground).

True Crime and Ghost Legend: Beautiful Stranger. The story of the Beautiful Stranger at the Hotel del Coronado, across the bay from San Diego, is arguably the strongest ghost legend in the area. On Thanksgiving Day 1892, a stunning young woman, traveling alone, registered at the Hotel Del under the phony name Lottie A. Bernard. After five days of acting increasingly strangely, she was found dead of a gunshot to the head on the back steps of the hotel, following a literally dark and stormy night of raging wind and ocean waves. Her story was immediately picked up by the Yellow Press of the day, and became a national sensation on the internet of the times: the telegraph. Until I published Dead Move, nobody had a clue who she was, or why she died. Rumors of scandalous affairs with men in high places abounded. The nation was breathless. The death certificate, oddly, has two names on it, and other mysteries abound. Time passed, and she is remembered only as the famous ghost of Room 3327 in the Hotel Del.

Secrets Hidden In Plain Sight (SHIPS). I took a part-time job as a shuttle driver at the Hotel Del years ago, and studied the case of the Beautiful Stranger. In Dead Move, I was able to construct the first plausible theory in over 120 years. I figured out, in excruciating detail, that the entire matter was a blackmail attempt gone horribly wrong. The owner of the Hotel Del, in 1892, was John Spreckels—one of the wealthiest men in the country, based largely on his father's sugar plantations in Hawai'i. As I see it, a ruthless grifter named Kate Morgan (mistaken for the dead woman) dreamed up this plot, and used a young, 'ruined' shop girl from Detroit named Lizzie Wyllie to threaten Spreckels. Also in the plot was John Longfield, Lizzie's factory foreman. What Kate probably didn't realize was that, at that moment, John Spreckels was in the White House with old family friend President Benjamin Harrison, negotiating desperately against a Republican-corporate takeover of Hawai'i. Spreckels could not afford a breath of scandal, so his agents in San Diego created a massive coverup that has endured to modern times. The facts are all there, hidden in plain sight if one will study a little true history and ponder on it.

Noir Thriller, Based on True Analysis. Lizzie Wyllie, the Beautiful Stranger (in contradiction to traditional stories that the B.S. was Kate Morgan) died a sad and lonely death. She is the quintessential Victorian Fallen Angel come to life. It is truly a woman's story, and our hearts ache for the poor girl. Now, in Lethal Journey, I have dramatized the entire, heart-rending truth that does not require slogging through over a hundred footnotes and intricately detailed analysis. As people often say about my fiction: "I can already see the movie." I'm thinking of modern movies like The Illusionist and The Prestige set in the late 1800s, or gaslamp era.

NOTE: I have written two books on the subject of the 1892 True Crime and famous ghost legend at the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego. One, a nonfiction scholarly analysis, is Dead Move: Kate Morgan and the Haunting Mystery of Coronado, which is found under Café Okay (being nonfiction. The fiction (novel) is Lethal Journey, which (like Dead Move) can either be purchased separately or bundled 2-for-1 in a nice fat volume titled Coronado Mystery (E-book of Coronado Mystery) (Print Edition of Coronado Mystery: Coronado Mystery)

Amazon Kindle e-book Edition Lethal Journey: Legendary 1892 Gaslight Mystery: True Crime & Ghost Story at the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego

Amazon Quality Paperback Edition (6x9") Lethal Journey: Famous 1892 Gaslight Mystery: True Crime & Ghost Story at the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego

Barnes & Noble. You can order a print copy at B&N online or order in a B&N bookstore. NOTE: this is not Lethal Journey but Coronado Mystery, which combines 2-in-1 Dead Move (scholarly analysis, nonfiction) and Lethal Journey (novel, 1892 noir, closely based on Dead Move). Economical combo.