Butcher of Dreams

Butcher of Dreams

by Kay Williams, Eileen Wyman

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940011077081
Publisher: Calliope Press
Publication date: 08/11/2010
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 554 KB

About the Author

As well as a successful author, Kay Williams is a professional actress. She earned her Actors Equity card in San Francisco where she played many roles, including the title role in Miss Jairus, Cybel in Great God Brown, Rosalind in As You Like It, and Amelia in The House of Bernarda Alba for the nationally famous Actor’s Workshop. She was with the Pittsburgh Playhouse for two years, and from there moved to New York City, living in a 6-floor walkup (a women’s residence that provided free breakfast!!) while she made the rounds. She was hired by the Jackson, MS Theater Center to replace Mercedes McCambridge as Regina in The Little Foxes and stayed on to do several other plays including originating the role of Queen Elizabeth I in a new play, Masquerade, that opened off-Broadway. She has also acted in TV shows and in movies, but finds stage acting more challenging and rewarding. A lucky break landed her a job with a prize-winning independent filmmaker and that gave her flexible hours to audition and rehearse. She was cast in a number of new off-Broadway plays (it was an exciting time for theater in NYC). When acting roles began to dry up, it seemed natural to gravitate to writing, and she’s surprised to find she doesn’t miss acting all that much (although she still has occasional nightmares of being onstage and not knowing which play she’s in). A big plus with fiction writing is: you can play all the characters! The author’s move into the crime-ridden, sleazy Hell’s Kitchen of 1977 provided the catalyst for the award-winning thriller, Butcher of Dreams, co-authored with Eileen Wyman. Kay’s wide ranging acting credits and theater experience gave focus to this character/plot driven mystery that centers around the struggling 42nd Street repertory theater where much of the action takes place. Kay’s years with the filmmaker gave her production credits for two films, respect for the courage of independent filmmakers, and took her to the Cannes Film Festival, where for a month she shared a villa overlooking the Mediterranean with cast and crew. She traveled with the filmmaker to Leningrad in 1991 where she received the idea for The Matryoshka Murders. Anything could happen here, she thought, in this city at this desperate time (just a few months before the USSR broke apart). Eileen Wyman, Kay’s writing partner, helped organize photos and notes collected from the trip, and together they drafted a plot and wrote this thriller that begins in Russia and jumps across an ocean to New York City. Eileen, known to friends as Jo, an amazing, talented woman, tragically passed away on Sept. 6, 2013, just after The Matryoshka Murders was completed, but before the book was published. She is deeply missed by family and friends. Kay is also a co-author of the comic romance One Last Dance: It’s Never Too Late to Fall in Love, started by her journalist father Mardo Williams, and finished by her and her sister Jerri Lawrence. One Last Dance has won several awards, including an Ohioana Award (to Jerri and Kay) for writing and editing excellence. Coming next (dedicated to Jo) will be a series: New York City, Collected Letters, 1956-57: Were We Ever That Young?, the hilarious, heart-breaking and hair-raising adventures of two starry-eyed girls from the Midwest (Kay and Jo) who arrive in New York City with big dreams of success. Part Two will be San Francisco, Collected Letters, the Sixties.

Eileen Wyman (May 25, 1930 - Sept. 6, 2013) Eileen (known to her friends as “Jo”) studied Fine Arts for two years before transferring to Ohio State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Radio/Television. Her first love was comedy, and she spent her life learning the art and craft of it, filling file box after file box with her bon mots and wry, pithy descriptions. She raided this gold mine when she and Kay began writing their thrillers together. Eileen crafted jokes for speech writers and comedians, humorous fillers for various magazines, and captions for cartoons. She could come up with a witty retort at the snap of a finger. She was a writer of short fiction. She edited many books and film scripts. She wrote additional dialogue for films. During her long career, she held a variety of jobs to make ends meet: television traffic clerk, classified ad-taker, third grade teacher, social worker, gal Friday for an independent filmmaker, and human resources administrator. When Manhattan Plaza ("The Miracle on 42nd Street") became available to artists in June 1977, she moved in. At that time, the neighborhood (Hell’s Kitchen) was very scary, and considered one of the worst areas in New York City for crime. It eventually proved to be the catalyst for Butcher of Dreams, a suspense/thriller about the theater, which she co-wrote with Kay Williams. The book has won several awards and was adapted by the two women into a screenplay. Several years ago Eileen was diagnosed with COPD, which severely affected her mobility and stamina, but she never lost her quick wit and her compassion for others. She persevered with her writing and editing. She loved to collect cartoons (her standards were high) to distribute to friends and neighbors; she loved to find funny pictures to write her own captions on. Before her death in 2013, she completed (with Kay) The Matryoshka Murders, a political/historical thriller that opens in Russia, with filmmakers competing at the 1991 Leningrad International Documentary Festival, against the chaotic backdrop of a disintegrating USSR.

What People are Saying About This

P.M. Carlson

"Smart, tough, talented, sensitive Lee Fairchild is just the kind of woman who can successfully manage and act in her own off-Broadway theatre. She can cope with the seedy streets of New York in the 1980's, and can juggle the many needs of her gifted but tormented co-workers with the vision of great shows. But Lee is emotionally vulnerable because of her husband's recent death, and when a ritually mutilated body is found in her theatre she must fight her way through a bewildering mesh of loves, fears, egos, myths, and blood to discover the truth that will save her theatre and herself. Full of authentic gritty detail about off-Broadway in the 1980's, Butcher of Dreams will keep readers turning pages."--(P.M. Carlson, author of CROSSFIRE)

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you can't figure out "who dunnit" by page 30... let's just say this was by far the worst "mystery" I've ever read and I've read a lot in the past 45 plus years.  Very Predictable ending.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I was pulled immediately into the tension of the mysterious and frightening events. The behind the scenes life of the theatre and the complex personalities who staff it create a fascinating setting as the mystery develops and the suspense becomes unbearable. Suspicion as to the perpetrator builds in many directions and I found myself wanting to talk to the lead character, Lee Fairchild, to advise her. Eventually I succumbed. I ignored the world around me and read to the end nonstop.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Butcher of Dreams is a terrific read. The authors eloquently fulfill the requirements of the classic mystery: grisly crime, many suspects, edge-of-your seat suspense. The setting for the novel is an abandoned Hell¿s Kitchen burlesque house in the 1980¿s where a fledgling Off-Broadway repertory company is rehearsing for their first show, a perfect venue for the bizarre events that ensue: strange accidents, grand larceny, Aztec curses, ritualistic murder. I was drawn to Lee Fairchild, the likeable main character & the theater¿s administrative director. Her quirky but believable professional colleagues with overblown egos & murky pasts add intrigue and momentum. That a psychopath seems to be lurking amid the company only intensifies the mix. An edge-of-your-seat reading experience, well-written & precisely crafted. Highly recommended!