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A Criminally Good Read

What books are on your nightstand this winter? Dusty classics that prime you for Mr. Sandman’s arrival? Dreamy fantasies of imaginary paradise? Farcountry Press may have just the thing for a chilly North Country evening in the latest addition to its Bedside Reader Series.

Joe Connelly, North Creek resident and author of the bestseller Bringing Out the Dead), says Adirondack Outlaws is “as much fun as a three-week spree after robbing the stagecoach,” This is a book that’s “witty, savvy and full of local history that Grandma didn’t tell the kids,” according to Ellen Rocco, North Country Public Radio station manager and host of Readers & Writers on the Air. Or, as David Schmid puts it, “an entertaining romp through the dark side of the region’s history.” He sure knows the subject matter—he’s the author of Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture.

Niki Kourofsky—sassy raconteur, poutine promoter, michigans maven, Adirondack Life senior editor and North Country native—is an award-winning writer with a gift for finding the gritty sagas and weird tales from our own backyards. Adirondack Outlaws is the result of a busy year of digging, sifting and scribbling to unearth stories of true crime in these pastoral parts.

Adirondack Outlaws wasn’t the result of sending proposals to agents or seducing publishers. And it wasn’t exactly the luck of the draw. Instead, Kourofsky relates, “An Adirondack Life subscriber way over there in Montana—at Farcountry—read my piece ‘Adirondack Outlaws,’ which was published in our June 2012 issue. Then there was an email asking if I’d like to write a book. It was perfect timing, because they were looking to expand into the Northeast.”

The subject matter clearly appeals to her. One favorite is “Albany” Jim Brady, who organized the band that blew the Keeseville bank’s “burglar-proof” safe in the 1870s, getting away with a fortune. He was a big-time bank robber, given to fancy dress, who pulled jobs all over the Northeast—and even slipped out of Sing Sing. But what finally took him down were some silk handkerchiefs: Right after his Adirondack foray he was caught lifting the fripperies in New York, then got in a ungentlemanly scuffle with cops, trading bullets and lobbing at least one umbrella into the fray. Kourofsky says, “It was funny that such a smooth operator was taken down in such an ignoble way. I really enjoyed the little morsels of absurdity that pop up in many of the stories, like the lady detective who tried to entrap a suspect in a Lake George trolley robbery with a season of bar-hopping and unchaperoned overnights in hotel rooms—he was never convicted, but he sure had the summer of a lifetime, thanks to the government’s kind loan of a good time companion.”

On February 1 at 1:30 p.m. Kourofsky is the featured Cabin Fever speaker at the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake. Or, if you’d like to join the author to celebrate the launch of this new book, there’s a gathering at Lake Placid’s Northwoods Inn on February 8 beginning at 3:00 p.m. But if you’re on the lam or stuck in the slammer and can’t get your autographed copy in person, you can purchase the 144-page paperback for $14.95 plus tax and shipping at www.adirondacklife.com.

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A Criminally Good Read
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