Thursday, July 8, 2021

DNF: "I, A Squealer" by Richard Bruns

 DNF: I, A Squealer by Richard Bruns, 2018, 9780983166559.

I first heard of Charles Schmid when Megan Abbott and Sara Gran ran the fantastic but short-lived Abbot Gran Medicine Show. Schmid was the Pied Piper of Tucson. In his early to mid-twenties he lived off his parents in his own house. He was the sketchy guy who hung around with teenagers. He hosted parties, supplied beer, and had sex with underage teen girls.

Schmid murdered three girls and the murders were something of an open secret among the group of teens and Schmid's pals. Schmid dumped the murder victims in the desert and took a few people to visit the girls's corpses. Schmid, being a nutbag murderer, was able to scare those people into silence. 

Bruns was 19 and 20-years-old, one of Schmid's grave visiting pals, and was also dating a younger teen girl. Schmid threatened Bruns and the girlfriend. Schmid, young and clueless and probably not too smart, thought the path to follow was to "stay quiet and protect my girly-friend". Bruns turned into an obsessive and controlling boyfriend and then into an obsessive and controlling ex-boyfriend. 

Bruns would walk up and down the sidewalk in front of the girl's home. He'd park his car up the street and stare at her window. The girl did not want him around. The girl's parents did not want him around. The police did not want him around. Bruns got away with an almost round-the-clock "surveillance" until a restraining order led to a conviction and Bruns being sent to Ohio to live with a relative.

I stopped reading this about 20 pages before the end. Schmid was a murdering nutjob and Bruns was a stupid 20-year-old with a hard-on for a 15-year-old. A shitshow of idiots and morons who built up their own little bubble with Schmid a larger than life boss, and Bruns - to my eyes - trying to play out a hero role.

I got sick of Bruns's bullshit and quit the book. 


1. Bruns wrote this in 1967, shortly after the events. His family found the document and published the work. 

2. Bruns ended up telling the police - I, a squealer - after being sent to Ohio and worried for the girlfriend.


Todd Mason said...

The degree to which this inspired the film RIVER'S EDGE is probably greater than minor.

Gerard Saylor said...

I was thinking of RIVER'S EDGE as I wrote up my notes, but I never saw the film. I remembering reading a newspaper review of the fil and being way too creeped out by the plot.