Fans of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and John
Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will
embrace Poe Ballantine's Love and Terror on the Howling Plains
For well over twenty years, Poe Ballantine traveled America, taking
odd jobs, living in small rooms, and wondering the big whys. At age
46, he finally settled with his Mexican immigrant wife in Chadron,
Nebraska, where they had a son who was red-flagged as autistic. Poe
published four books about his experiences as a wanderer and his
observations of America. But one day in 2006, his neighbor, Steven
Haataja, a math professor from the local state college disappeared.
Ninety five days later, the professor was found bound to a tree,
burned to death in the hills behind the campus where he had taught.
No one, law enforcement included, understood the circumstances. Poe
had never contemplated writing mystery or true crime, but since he
knew all the players, the suspects, the sheriff, the police
involved, he and his kindergarten son set out to find out what
might have happened.