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Book Launch with True-Crime Writer, Buffalo Native Catherine Pelonero

Book Launch with True-Crime Writer, Buffalo Native Catherine Pelonero

Posted: November 3, 2017

True-crime writer and Buffalo native Catherine Pelonero will launch her latest nonfiction book at the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State on Tuesday, November 7, at 6:00 p.m. Absolute Madness: A True Story of a Serial Killer, Race, and a City Divided recounts the story of Joseph Christopher, who was known as the .22-caliber killer during his murderous rampage in Western New York in 1980.

“We are really pleased to welcome Catherine Pelonero,” said Daniel DiLandro, head of archives and special collections at E. H. Butler Library. “We invited her to speak as part of the Buffalo State Butler Library Archives Charles Rand Penney Lecture Series, and, when the date of the book’s publication became clearer, we decided to merge the talk with the book launch.”

Pelonero has appeared on A Crime to Remember on Investigation Discovery, It Takes a Killer, Fox Files, and Murderous Affairs after writing the New York Times true-crime best-seller Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequence. The book recounts the notorious 1964 murder of Genovese, which is remembered for the witnesses who neither went to her aid nor called for help.

“I never intended to write about true crimes,” said Pelonero. “I began my career as a playwright and studied with Manny Fried in Buffalo. But I became interested in the story of Kitty Genovese, and the book I wrote is the book I wanted to read.”

Discount on Books for Law Enforcement Officers
Pelonero’s late father, Salvatore Pelonero, served as a Buffalo police officer for more than 30 years. “Growing up in the world of law enforcement has been very helpful,” she said. “I’m very comfortable talking to police officers, and they’re comfortable talking to me. We understand each other.” The book is dedicated to her father, and any officers who attend the November 7 talk will receive a 15 percent discount if they choose to purchase the book.

“Even though my father passed before I started writing this book, I feel that he helped me write it,” said Pelonero. “When I interviewed people involved in the investigation of Joseph Christopher’s murder spree, so many of them remembered my father.” The book is dedicated to him.

Much of Pelonero’s research on the investigation was done in the archives in Butler Library, and Pelonero is grateful to DiLandro and Linda Webster, the archives clerk. “The Courier Express collection at Buffalo State was a vital source for many of the newspaper stories and photos, she said. “Archival information gives depth to a true story and makes it much more compelling. To me, as a narrative non-fiction writer, archives are absolutely essential.”

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