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Book Nook: Poison Girls, by Cheryl Reed

During the early 1990's a crime reporter for the Dayton Daily News named Cheryl Reed was investigating the crack cocaine epidemic that was underway during that period. Reed was able to interview some young women who were using crack. Reed had been assured by the local police that she would not find any users of one particular race, young white girls, that they simply did not exist in Dayton. Their claims were dubious. As Reed was in the process of disproving that theory a tragedy took place; one of Reed's interview subjects was murdered and this naive young reporter suddenly found herself in a really bad situation.

Some years later Reed was working as a newspaper reporter in Chicago when there was a significant surge in drug overdoses. Some of the victims of a lethal heroin blend known on the street as "poison" were young women from affluent families. Unbeknownst to Reed at the time she was assembling some of the story lines of what would eventually become her first novel, "Poison Girls."

The author has taken some elements of her experiences in Dayton and Chicago and woven them into a compelling mystery novel that will have readers teetering on the edges of their chairs. Reed writes with a "ripped from the headlines" force that comes from her many years as a journalist covering street crimes. And as further evidence of this story's raw power, right after we recorded this interview the 1990's tragedy in Dayton that provided the original seed for this tale was back in the news again. You can't make some of this stuff up. Cheryl Reed has done a superb job of weaving autobiographical details into a surging work of fiction that has stunning twists, and graphic violence, all written in a former star reporter's steady prose.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.


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Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.