Chesterton Tribune

Book on 1933 plane crash here due out this June

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Chicago author and novelist Bryan W. Alaspa is relieved that his latest book will finally be available to readers this June, because the journey to get there has been a long and twisted one.

His book Sabotage: A Chronicle of the Chesterton Crash is his latest work of non-fiction and true crime. To complete the book, Alaspa had to go places he’d never ventured before, according to a statement released on Monday.

“This was my first time filing a Freedom of Information Request with the FBI,” Alaspa said. “But I ended up with over 300 pages of reports that gave me insight that was just not available anywhere else I turned for information about the crash. I had reports signed by Melvin Purvis and J. Edgar Hoover that outlined suspects and investigative tangents that agents had to follow to try and find the culprit. It was fascinating.”

The crash occurred on Oct. 10, 1933. Commercial passenger flight across the country was still a relative novelty and a United Airlines plane carrying seven people exploded over Chesterton while en route to Chicago. All seven on board died and, it was later discovered, a bomb containing nitroglycerine had been placed on board. The FBI was called in, but a culprit was never found.

“I felt like this was a story that needed to be told,” Alaspa said. “No one knows about it and people think that terrorism is a new thing. Back then, they didn’t even call it terrorism. And even the people who lived in Chesterton at the time said they had heard it was bootleggers trying to assassinate a U.S. Attorney. However, the notes from the FBI show that there were other potential suspects and theories.”

The book is complete and now being edited. Alaspa has decided to release the book under his own imprint, a first for his non-fiction and true crime books. He plans to release the book for Kindle, Nook and e-reader users this June. If the book is a success, he may release it in print down the road.

“I got information from people who lived through the event, most of them as children who remembered being taken to the crash site,” Alaspa said. “It was a remarkable experience writing this book and I hope I do justice to the victims and the people of Chesterton.”

Alaspa has written these works of fiction: The Ballad of the Blue Denim Gang, The Vanished Child, Dust, RIG: A Novel of Terror, Gone, Sin-Eater: Book One, After the Snowfall: a Thriller, MYTHOS: A Thriller, and Sin-Eater: Book Two—Destiny.

He has also written these works of non-fiction: Ghosts of St. Louis: The Lemp Mansion and Other Eerie Tales, Chicago Crime Stories: Rich Gone Wrong, Chicago Disasters, Forgotten Tales of Illinois, and Silas Jayne: Chicago’s Suburban Gangster.


Posted 4/17/2012