“What Happened in Craig” by Leland E. Hale


Leland E. Hale
Epicenter Press (2018)
ISBN 9781941890226
Reviewed by Robert Leon Davis For Readers Views (10/18)

I selected this book, “What Happened in Craig” by Leland E. Hale, mainly for three reasons. The first, it is a true event and I’ve never read about it anywhere.  Never saw it featured on the top networks or reported by any broadcast media outlets. Now I realize that Alaska, which the city of Craig is located in, is not connected to the lower 48 States. Alaska and Hawaii are sort of out there; meaning much of their news tends to be localized. But later I learned by reading this book that The New York Times and People Magazine did do a report on this sad event.

The second reason I chose “What Happened in Craig” was the fact that eight people, including two children and a pregnant mother, were murdered – without a conviction!  The boat was in fact burned, and the bodies were later recovered and identified.  So, because I never read the story, I was curious.

The third reason is that I asked myself since the author is not the detective that actually investigated the story, what could he or she offer that would be different or somehow unique. Not in a distasteful or in a rude way, but in a positive way. In fact, I said to myself, maybe he’s the killer; as it’s been known that murderers sometimes love to interject themselves in an investigation…lol (yes, I’m a critical thinker). But let me be clear, I know the author is innocent, as when you read about the evidence, etc., it’s obvious. His position I share – who done it?

Briefly, in September 1982, a shipping vessel called the “Investor” was burned completely in the little village of Craig, Alaska. Eight people died. The authorities originally thought the fire was an accident; but upon boarding, all they found were bullet-ridden bodies! Now an arrest was made, but that person was eventually exonerated and freed.

First, the book is very well written, meaning that the author obviously and clearly thought through the narrative. I personally did some research on the basics of the story and he was correct with those facts. After all, if the facts are skewed, why continue reading. Secondly, the author presents some additional evidence, not found in my research, that supports some of the facts he details. I’m impressed by that.

Now the deep part. I’m a former police officer and investigator, and I have some knowledge about the importance of research! This book caused me to do my own research through various entities and through the Freedom of Information Act. The author clearly did his homework, as his narrative presents facts not easily attainable by me and my many contacts.

My conclusion is, this author’s narrative, along with his meticulous research, and in my opinion new clues, is so compelling, that maybe the Craig Alaska Police Office should consult with him. They might even consider reopening the case and have him on as a consultant. The author brings some substantial conclusions in this gripping narrative.

I’m naturally pretty critical of these types of books, but I couldn’t put down “What Happened in Craig” by Leland E. Hale. Very well written and informative. The author could probably write a good “who done it” fictional book as well. This book is a keeper on my shelf. A must read. 5 stars!

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