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Carl Vonderau Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Murderabilia (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Carl Vonderau is a crime mystery author best known for his debut thriller “Murderabilia.” Vonderau had a very normal upbringing in Cleveland where he lived with his parents and sister in the suburbs. Things got interesting when he went to San Jose State University to study music and then to Stanford where he graduated with a degree in economics. After graduation, he worked in banking and during the course of his career spent time working in North Africa, Canada, and Latin America. While he spent much of his career in banking, his love for books showed ever since he was in elementary school. He had very strict parents that forbade him from watching TV once he was finished with dinner and hence he had to do with reading in his room. He was soon enjoying the ghost stories that would have given a scare to every other kid in his elementary class. However, he never became an author until he decided to take a break from banking and penned “Murderabilia” in 2019. According to the author, writing makes it possible to synthesize the different aspects of his life that include money-making and charity work. When he is not working in banking, he is a partner at San Diego Social Venture Partners an organization that offers grants and expertise to local nonprofits to thrive and build capacity.

Vonderau continued reading right up to adulthood and it is this reading habit that would later manifest when he decided to write thrillers. Carl Vonderau’s family were members of Christian Science and he draws a lot of inspiration from this background and his time in banking. Starting out on his journey towards becoming a published author, he attended night and weekend classes before he penned “Murderabilia” under the guidance of the author of the bestselling novel “The Deep End of the Ocean” Jacquelyn Mitchard. He had worked in banking and in several countries and hence he felt that he would be more comfortable setting his novel in that world. Moreover, his recent responsibilities in banking had involved high net worth clients and he always wondered how many secrets he could access as a banker. He then researched the lives of real-life victims and serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Charlie Manson, the BTK Strangler and the Happy Face Killer. He also researched the lives of children who had to live with the shame and guilt of their fathers getting arrested for such heinous crimes.

Carl Vonderau has totally upset the cart when it comes to serial killer narratives. The genre is full of tales of monstrous predators who have terrified and fascinated readers in all manner of media. As such, many consumers have become numb to the beauty of serial killer stories. To get a story to resonate it has to look at crime in a new angle and do something different and special. This is what Carl does in his debut novel as he follows the family of a serial killer who is hugely impacted when their father is finally arrested. It makes it even worse since they never had an inkling of the activities of their loved ones. The result is a chilling, poignant powerful and original thriller. The lead is a frightening serial killer who stars in a tale and becomes the glue that holds together the entire story. But what really enlivens the novels is the focus on character as the Polly and her husband are caught up in the turmoil. Vonderau shows a gift for prose and for character development as well as place as he sets his novel in a variety of places; from a dingy prison in Illinois, a diner in San Diego and the banks across California, all of which he makes come alive.

”Murderabilia” by Carl Vonderau is the story of a serial killer named Harvey Dean Kogan who was arrested and imprisoned three decades ago after killing thirteen women. But what had made him more famous were the carefully taken pictures he took of his victims that he then sold to fans. These photos would then come to be known as “Murderabilia” and kicked off a whole new genre of art. With so much attention on the family, his wife had left town and moved to California with their 13-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. However, they lived in fear of someone finding out that they were the family of the infamous serial killer. In the meantime, William has grown up and established a successful career in banking while Poly is a restaurateur. William is a married man with two children but then they get thrown a curveball when someone discovers their secret. Even worse he is committing murders very similar to that of his father Harvey Kogan, intending to frame him for them. To keep his family safe and clear his name, he may have to ask for assistance from his father, the man he had kept a safe distance from for most of his life. In “Murderabilia,” the author uses his gift for characterization and prose to transform the conventional serial killer story into a powerful and haunting tale.

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