"A riveting crime novel.... This is a superior roman à clef." Publishers Weekly starred review
In 1955, small-town girls flock to Minneapolis for work, love, and adventure. But Teresa Marie Hickman, from Dollar, North Dakota, is a special case—beguiling, promiscuous, and on a chilly April morning dead by strangulation along an abandoned streetcar track in a sleepy Southside neighborhood.
Terry Hickman was three months pregnant when she was murdered. Was the unborn child’s father her killer? Could the killer have been, among the many men drawn to her “like bees to honey,” Dr. H. David Rose, a middle-aged dentist who admits he was with her the night she died? There is no forensic evidence or credible witnesses tying him to the crime. Yet the police, including a pair of obsessive investigators with lethal secrets of their own, decide that a Jewish dentist would be a good bet to get them a conviction. Dr. Rose’s tumultuous trial and its shocking aftermath will transfix the Upper Midwest as few cases have.
Inspired by actual events, the tragic, bizarre, sometimes darkly comic tale is recounted from the perspectives of the victim’s hapless sister, a war-scarred homicide-squad detective, a sinister cab driver, a callow reporter who, like Terry Hickman, looks for love in the wrong places, and the enigmatic dentist himself, uncertain until the end whether he’s a killer or not.
“W.A. Winter turns the known bare threads of a true crime event and trial in mid-50s Minneapolis...into a masterful work of narrative fiction.... The human drama of the crime, the investigation, the trial, and the aftermath are laid out with mesmerizing precision.”
Geza Tatrallyay, New York Journal of Books
"If [James] Ellroy moved his cops to the Midwest, you'd have The Secret Lives of Dentists. Hits like a Minnesota winter, cold and hard. You'll love it."
Rick Ollerman, author of Mad Dog Barked
WHO IS W.A.WINTER?
C'est moi, William Swanson, a Minneapolis journalist and author. I use the pen name to help differentiate my crime fiction from my journalism, and, OK, because I get a kick out of having a separate identity.
I was born and raised in Minneapolis, attended the University of Minnesota, served with the 4th Armored Division in Germany, and over more than a half-century worked for newspapers, wire services, and magazines in Germany, Mexico, and the Twin Cities.
I have also written three true-crime books, three "Midwestern noir" e-books, and, now, The Secret Lives of Dentists. My next novel, My Name Is Joe LaVoie, like its immediate predecessor inspired by a sensational Minneapolis crime, will be available next year.