Men in My Town

ReviewYourBook.com awards 5 Star Rating to Men in My Town, stating, “Incredible. Put this on your reading list!”

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009: ReviewYourBook.com awards Men in My Town their 5 Star Rating, stating, “Incredible. Put this on your reading list !”

Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com

In Lincoln, Rhode Island, 1974, fourteen-year-old Keith Smith was raped and beaten. He broke out the rear window of the vehicle and memorized the license plate. While he did not know the man that victimized him, he could identify him. Smith was constantly looking back, terrified that Ron Kohl was coming after him. The men in town kept their families safe by learning everything there was to know about Ron Kohl.
Kohl does not deserve to be called a human. He is a monster. On more than one occasion, he served prison time for sexually assaulting young boys. He owned an adult bookstore.

The plot of Men In My Town is built on actual events. The Feds were following him everywhere he went. Then, his business partners were doing the same. Eventually, a plan was set in place, a plan that involved a brutal beating and death for Kohl. The author lived through the nightmare of rape and beatings. He lived in fear. The scars are still there. The murder of Kohl has never been solved.

I cannot begin to imagine the fear Smith has lived with for years. His writing style is superb. He clearly states the events. He allows the tension to slowly build to the climactic death of Kohl.

ReviewYourBook.com issues Men in My Town 5 Stars: Incredible. Put this on your reading list!

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

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Lincoln native finds healing in suspense novel

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on April 24, 2009

 

 

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The Blackstone Valley’s Neighborhood Newspaper

By JON BAKER

PAWTUCKET  —  It was about 1 p.m., Thursday – as he maneuvered his blue 2002 Mercedes convertible up Route 95 and over the Connecticut line into Rhode Island – when the emotion hit Lincoln native Keith Smith like a “ton of bricks.”

“I literally breathed a sigh of relief when I hit the first mileage marker,” he chuckled. “I knew, with my book out there, I didn’t have any secrets anymore. It’s the first time since 1974 where I was back in my home state, and I didn’t have to hide anything.

“It was a freeing moment; I had a smirk on my face, and I definitely felt a change as I drove,” he added. “I left Lincoln, and the Blackstone Valley area, in 1982, but now I’ve got this feeling of victory. I survived all of it, and the secret’s dead. I’m still alive, and I’m thriving.”

Smith – now 49 and a self-described “family man” to wife, Rebecca, and two children residing in Princeton, N.J. – decided to make the trip not only to visit family and friends in his hometown but also to promote the March 16 release of his suspense novel “Men in My Town,” one inspired by actual events.

It involves an assailant who abducted, beat and sexually assaulted Smith on March 1, 1974. That predator, in mid-August 1975, was found fatally beaten on a Providence street, and no one has ever been arrested for the crime.

In The Times’ conference room later Thursday afternoon, Smith – formerly a Merrill Lynch vice president before being laid off from the Manhattan firm on Jan. 22 – revealed how he came to write the 18-chapter, 107-page book.

“First, it’s a great story worth telling; you’ve got a local kid who gets abducted and raped by a known pedophile, and the suspect gets beaten to death while no one gets charged. It’s better than TV,” he said. “Second, this was something I wanted to share with people I love, people closest to me, my longtime friends and relatives. “And, third, it’s to break the silence on male sexual assault, and to offer hope to those who still suffer in silence,” he added.

**

Fact is, that dismissal from Wall Street wasn’t the worst thing ever to happen to Smith. At age 14, then a Lincoln High sophomore, Smith reported to a youth hockey team meeting at his coach’s barbershop on Front Street. When the session ended, about 6 p.m., he decided to hitchhike home, rather than trekking the four miles.

“He was a total stranger, and I never saw him before in my life,” he stated. “I was ‘thumbing’ home, he pulled over, and I got in his car (in the novel, a purple AMC Gremlin) on Front Street. I told him to drop me off at Hartley’s Pork Pies on Smithfield Avenue, but he didn’t. He drove right past. I later asked him to stop at the old Fairlawn Lincoln Fire Department, but he drove right by.

“At that point, he wasn’t saying anything, and I knew I was in trouble,” he continued. “He took a right on Grafton Street, near what is now Brooksie’s. I tried to jump out of his car, but the door wouldn’t open because it was rigged. I did notice that his license plate number was written on the back of his inspection sticker, and I memorized it.

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Call Photo / Butch Adams

Following the assault, the attacker stopped at a strip mall on Higginson Avenue, across from the old Lincoln Lanes, and Smith fled, but not before shattering his rear windshield with a rock. He claimed he wanted police to be able to better identify who had caused such mental and physical anguish.

As Smith ran home, about a half-mile away, he panicked when he saw an approaching vehicle, scurrying under a parked car, a move he later deemed crazy and dangerous.

Finally, he reached his house, but doesn’t know exactly what he said to his father, Albert, or older brother Brian. Understanding by his behavior something was seriously wrong, they took him to the LPD. Police arrested the suspect – whom Smith called Ronald Kohl in his book – the following day, but he later was released on bail.

**

The following September, in 1974, Smith discovered he suffered from a blood disease called ITP, and spent a month at now-Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket.

“Simply put, I had a low platelet count, and platelets make your blood clot,” he said. “My immune system, for some reason, recognized them as foreign.”

For decades, only seven to 10 people knew his secret, and he decided he wanted to change all that.

“In December 2007, my platelet count was dangerously low again; it was 7,000, and supposed to be at 300,000, so I was missing 98 percent of my clotting factor,” he said. “Doctors (at the Princeton Medical Center) literally had 24 hours to get it up to 40,000, or I’d run the risk of a spontaneous brain hemorrhage or stroke. I thought I was going to die, and that’s when I started writing more.

“Parts of this book had been written over the previous few years as messages I wanted to leave to my daughters – I’d call it a journal,” he added. “I wanted to make sure they knew what happened to me, but also how important Dr. Mario Giovanni Baldini, Memorial’s chief of staff, had been to me.”

He spent six days at the center, and – upon his release – began experiencing heightened nightmares of his race against his attacker.

“They had to do with me being under that car, trying to hide; how I was going to get away without him seeing me, killing me,” he said, pacing the floor of this conference room. “There were two secrets addressed in this book; the first was the abduction and being raped by this man, and the second was this guy was beaten to death.”

“I don’t know who did it; that’s the ‘novel’ part of this book,” he continued. “As I wrote, I thought as he must have, about his actions, his involvement in the pornography business, his life, and also who killed him. That’s all fiction …

One night, in September 2007, I jumped out of bed, screaming for help. Rebecca knew what was going on, as I had told her my story early on in our relationship. She told me I had to talk it out with a counselor, and I did. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

He always knew why he remained silent, but the counseling helped him deal with it.

“I was embarrassed and ashamed; I mean, I was 14,” he said, still walking the length of the conference table. “In my opinion, there are two kinds of sexual attacks – those familiar, done by people known to the person; and those unknown. The first group suffers from a violation of trust, and has serious inability to trust anyone. They don’t feel safe in their own homes. The second, in my case, suffer from a fear of random violence.”

“There’s a big difference,” he added. “As a 14-year-old boy, I came to realize the world wasn’t a safe place. My peace and tranquility in my teenage world had been destroyed by a horrific act of criminal sexual violence.”

**

Just six months ago, he compiled his notes and wrote around them, finally achieving his goal approximately two months ago.

After three weeks on the market, Smith has sold about 200 books, though he’s received numerous e-mails from people as far away as England and Germany about excerpts published online.

“One person asked me if I would change anything that happened if I had the opportunity: My answer was ‘No,’ and here’s why: In my heart, I believe he (suspect) was murdered because of what he did to me. I also explained that if it didn’t happen, he would’ve been free, on the streets, and he would have grabbed another kid from my neighborhood. Some other kid may not have been as lucky as me.”

“I lived through my night of terror, but others may not have,” he added. “I really believe he would’ve progressed to the point of killing his victims … Because of what happened to me, he was beaten to death – with a fractured skull and a broken leg – and, with him dead, he no longer has the ability to harm anyone else. What I went through was a small price to pay.”

He now serves as a Trustee of a non-profit organization called PEI – Kids in Lawrenceville, N.J., helping those who suffer deal with similar traumas. “What I want from this book is for other people who have suffered in silence to gain the strength to help themselves,” Smith said. “They need to share their stories with the people they love. I never pictured myself being an author, but I hope my story gives others strength, comfort, peace and hope. Writing this has been therapeutic. “Others need to know it’s OK to let it out.”

**

Men in My Town, published by BookSurge, is available for $14.99 on Amazon.com and as an “e-book” download for Kindle.

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on April 22, 2009

 

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The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.  

Men in My Town by Keith Smith.  Available now at Amazon.com.  Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

Men in My Town Reviewed on Amazon.com

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on April 22, 2009

RIVETING
(Linden, NJ) 
Men In My Town is a powerful story of a young boy’s trauma of being sexually abused and the scars that have remained with him to this day. It combines a vivid sense of memory, unique observational skills about life in Rhode Island in the 1970’s and an all consuming urge to survive in the midst of great fear. Keith’s story is a painful representation of what it is like to be sexually abused and how the forces of revenge expressed in violence can emerge from a shaken community. It takes a great deal of strength and courage for anyone to publicly share what is like to be sexually abused at a young age. Keith exhibits both qualities in a literary manner that draws you in immediately at the start of his book. Once you’re reading the book you won’t be able to put it down until you are at the last page. It feels like you have left this world and have been placed right next to Keith as he describes an almost unspeakable journey filled with horror,emotional trauma and violence. What emerges in the end is what President Kennedy once wrote about. Profiles in Courage. Keith’s story is a profile of courage. It is not too often that you get to encounter such bravery in a book. This is your opportunity to do so. Buy the book.

THOUGHT PROVOKING
(Staten Island, NY)
Men in My Town is an intense and emotional story. The power of the story is in its message. By sharing his story, we get a glimpse into Mr. Smith’s life and how he handled the storms in his life with the help of a few men who he knew he could count on. The book will make you think about what’s important in life; it will challenge you to look at people in a different light. The book will pull dozens of emotions from you. I recommend this book to every person, no matter, age, gender, race, religion, personal interests or circumstances. The story is entertaining and inspirational.

A RAW, STARK, VIVID, UNFORGETTABLE STORY
(Freehold, NJ)
“Men in My Town” grabs you right from the start and does not let go. Mr. Smith does a fantastic job of bringing the reader in, his storytelling paints a picture that is raw, stark, vivid and unforgettable. From his horrific ordeal to each characterization of the men in his town you are made part of the story. You can feel Smith’s anxiety and fear and the anger of the men for what has happened to “one of their own” but their love for Smith and their sense of protecting the community is what drives them to do what many would consider unthinkable. This is a story that as Mr. Smith says “had to be told” I am glad that he did. I too remember a time when your neighbors were your friends and everyone looked after each other sadly for the most part that no longer exists. I dare you to put this book down after starting, I for one could not.

VIVID AND CHILLING STORY OF SURVIVAL AND JUSTICE
(Jacksonville, FL)
Men in My Town is a story that needed to be told; it is a story of a boy’s courage to face his accuser and live to see justice. It will be an inspiration to others who have been abused and need to take action against their abuser. It is a well-written and quick read, but one that you think about days later.

A VERY GRIPPING STORY FROM THE START
(Los Angeles, CA)
Men in my Town is a gripping story of a young boys life suddenly changed one night and how some men bring justice for him. I found it hard to put down and had to finish it to see what happened.

A POWERFUL, COMPELLING, DISTURBING MURDER MYSTERY WRITTEN BY A GIFTED STORYTELLER
(Princeton, NJ)
Men in My Town is a bold and fresh story of the complex relationship between a half-dozen men and how their lives, choices, and actions play a part in a 34 year old unsolved murder. It’s an insider’s glimpse into the street hustle hiding in the peaceful suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island complete with gamblers, bookies, car thieves, petty criminals, organized crime, hard-working honest men and a murderer or two. Smith creates beautiful shades of gray in a black and white world of right and wrong and introduces you to a time and place where people blindly look the other way when the end justifies the means.

MEN IN MY TOWN – A CAPTIVATING, WELL WRITTEN STORY OF SURVIVAL AND COURAGE
(Baltimore, MD)
This book is a captivating story from start to finish. It illuminates the horrible reality of child-male sexual assault – a topic that MUST be brought to the forefront of public discussion. Smith is courageous, talented and inspiring. A must read for all those concerned with child welfare, Rhode Island…and every other aspect of this fantastic story.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com

An Introduction to Men in My Town

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on March 4, 2009

I recently finished writing Men In My Town, a novel based on the true life story of the abduction, beating and rape of a 14 year old boy and the unsolved murder of his rapist.  The story is set in the boy’s suburban hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island where he was raped in 1974 and the gritty city of Providence where his rapist was brutally beaten to death in 1975.       

It’s a true story of someone getting away with murder.

This fact based crime novel focuses on the boy’s relationship with several men in his hometown, men who are important to the boy, men who look out for him, men that protect him, good men who occasionally do bad things. 

There’s Uncle Mike, a powerful and well-connected bookie, tied to the boy through a family relationship spanning three generations. 

There’s Kevin, a fulltime tow truck driver and part time car thief who handles “special situations” for Uncle Mike. 

We meet Bobby, a perpetually unemployed gambler who loves to bet the ponies at Lincoln Downs, living high when he wins and living scared when he loses. 

We’re introduced to Dennis, a tailor and volunteer fireman, who is as comfortable with a handgun strapped to his inner left ankle as he is with a fireman’s Scott Air Pack strapped to his back. 

We learn the rapist is a serial pedophile, owns an adult bookstore, was recently convicted on federal charges of distributing obscene materials, did time in prison and never wants to go back. 

We learn the recidivist child molester is being watched by the Feds, by his business partners and by men from Lincoln, including one who spoke 15 words that sparked 30 years of silence.

Why did I write Men In My Town? Because no other author could deliver more insight, passion and understanding of this boy’s experience and his relationship with the men who are his protectors. I can say this because Men In My Town is my personal story, a story told from my heart, about the emotion, fear, guilt and horror I experienced, and the silence I’ve maintained since I was abducted, beaten and raped on that dark, cold winter night in 1974. 

__________________________________________________

Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. 

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Available now at Amazon.com

Email the author at MenInMyTown@aol.com