The Devil’s Cinema in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — It is perhaps fitting that the American leg of The Devil’s Cinema book tour ends near Hollywood, where filmmaker Mark Twitchell had tried for so long to succeed prior to his bizarre descent into becoming the “Dexter killer.”

The US tour has taken me from east to west, from New York City to interviews with media outlets in Cleveland, Colorado Springs, and finally, Los Angeles.

The Devil’s Cinema became the #1 true crime book on Amazon.ca during its first week of release, and the reaction to the story as my tour entered these US cities has been the same as it was in Canada.

Disbelief comes first, then questions.

And more questions.

Some have trouble believing the Dexter connection, and it’s not until I tell them about the “kill room” that they accept just how closely this real-life case is linked to the fictional television show.

(Note: Of course, the creators of Dexter should take no blame whatsoever for this crime, which is a point I’ve made several times during US radio interviews and within the book.)

But I fear all this focus on Dexter may have some readers wrongly assuming the book is only about this one pop culture connection to a real-life homicide.

The Devil’s Cinema is not just about Dexter. This chilling story has so many twists and turns that I know a general audience will also find fascinating, even those who have never heard of the show.

With its connections to Facebook, online dating, police detectives, Star Wars, modern marriage, suburban life, Gen-Xers, even high-stakes financial investment, there’s bound to be something in the book to interest everyone.

In Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Peter Tilden, host of KABC’s late-night, rapid-fire radio show, broadcast from Santa Monica to listeners across California and nearby states.

He was fascinated with the psychology of Mark Twitchell, who had spent many years in the Midwest prior to launching his filmmaking career and later becoming a convicted murderer.

Most of his questions were aimed at uncovering possible warning signs in Twitchell’s past that I may have learned during my year of corresponding and interviewing him.

Many are uncomfortable with the idea that killers can blend into the crowd and live in stealth among us. How can someone with a schoolboy haircut, a wonderful wife and new baby, go so far off the rails with no one noticing until it is far too late?

I believe the book answers a lot of these questions and it’s wonderful to see that the first wave of readers are satisfied and fascinated with my account on the entire story and its impact on everyone’s lives.

Last week, a reader told me they had never before considered reading true crime but still gave it a shot after hearing about it on the news.

That same reader has now reported back upon finishing the book, saying how much they loved the story and are now recommending it to their friends, hairdressers, and even their own mothers.

This kind of feedback means so much to an author. We toil away in our writing caves for years and by the time the book is published we’ve read the manuscript so many times that we honestly can’t predict what the public will think.

It’s such a relief to see that the initial critics and first readers are both giving it amazing reviews.

Anyway, I’m about to head off to LAX for my flight home to Australia.

It’s been a very busy and interesting few weeks on this initial North American tour. And I’ll be sure to post a few more thoughts about the entire tour when I get settled in back home and recover from my jet lag.

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