INFAMOUS Ships Free!

$ 17.99 USD

INFAMOUS A new northwoods true-crime novel from James Brakken, Bayfield County’s award-winning author! A Great Depression-era bank robber turns kidnapper & becomes the FBI’s Public Enemy #1. INFAMOUS is a thrill-ride you won’t want to put down! Brakken’s best historical fiction novel yet! • Based on 1938 press reports, FBI files, & court documents. • Set in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. • Written for adults but fine for 12 & older. • Over 60 illustrations & photographs. • A “must-have” novel for every cabin bookshelf & home library. • Wisconsin State Sales Tax Paid by the Author.

INFAMOUS A new northwoods true-crime novel from James Brakken, Bayfield County’s award-winning author!    

A Great Depression-era bank robber turns kidnapper & becomes the FBI’s Public Enemy #1.  

INFAMOUS is a thrill-ride you won’t want to put down! Brakken’s best historical fiction novel yet!

Based on 1938 press reports, FBI files, & court documents.

Set in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

Written for adults but fine for 12 & older.

Over 60 illustrations & photographs.

A “must-have” novel for every cabin bookshelf & home library.

Wisconsin State Sales Tax Paid by the Author.

Here’s a preview of the Seadlund novel. More excerpts will be added soon.

 Infamous: The Crimes of John Henry Seadlund

©2019 James A. Brakken


I work for the Minneapolis Star. I cover crime.

One October afternoon in 1937, I walked through the doors of Crosby-Ironton High School in northern Minnesota to scour up background details for a story. The subject? A criminal named John Henry Seadlund. I wondered what had happened—what turned this regular kid to a life of crime. It was ten past four. Only Johnny’s former teacher and I remained.

“Johnny Seadlund?” she said. “Oh, he wasn’t a bad kid. And his life growing up on the Iron Range wasn’t bad either. He loved playing hockey. His coach told him he could make a career of it. And, sure, he preferred reading comic books to doing his homework, but so did other boys.”

“Was he smart?” I asked.

“Well, he didn’t graduate at the top of his class but he graduated. Nineteen twenty-eight.”

“I met him in St. Paul,” I told her. “We talked quite a while. He said you were his favorite teacher.”

“I’m surprised he even remembered me, although I’ve always been a close friend of his mother, Delia. We talk about Johnny often.”

“So, what do you think turned him to a life of crime?”

“Like most of the boys on the Iron Range, Johnny found employment in the mines,” she said. “But when the stock market crashed in ’29, all the Minnesota mines were affected. Like thousands of other employees, Johnny and his father, Paul, lost their jobs. Depressed, Paul started drinking heavily, adding to the family’s money problems. Then, in ’33, Paul was found dead in his car. Carbon monoxide poisoning. The coroner called it an accident but the family knew better. His death really threw Johnny for a loop.”

“Is that when he turned to crime?”

“No. But while out hunting for rabbits or squirrels, anything for the table, he ran across a man way back in the woods hiding out in a deserted cabin. It turns out he was a bank robber named Tommy Carroll.”

“A member of the Dillinger gang,” I said.

“Yes. I suppose to Johnny, this crook was a big shot. The two of them struck up a friendship. Not long after, they held up a filling station outside of Duluth.” “That was Johnny’s first crime? Sticking up a Twin Ports gas station?”

“Yes. But one thing leads to another. Next thing you know, Johnny robbed a Van’s Diner in Brainerd. He got caught but escaped from the county jail a week later. Well, that meant he couldn’t go back home. He had no money, no car, only the clothes on his back. I think he felt cornered. Destined to living a life of crime. That’s when he made his way to Chicago.”

“To meet up with Tommy Carroll again?” “Yes. What that gangster taught Johnny we’ll never know. You see, the police shot and killed Tommy Carroll.” “I know,” I said. “They shot him in the back while he was getting his girlfriend fitted for eyeglasses. I’ve written articles about the Dillinger gang. Hoover’s G-men shot down Red Hamilton in St. Paul in April and Tommy Carroll in Waterloo a month later. They got Dillinger in July outside of a Chicago movie theater. Homer Van Meter was shot in St. Paul in August, then Charles Mackley in September in Indiana. Baby face Nelson was gunned down in Illinois in November, not long after Harry Pierpont died in a Columbus, Ohio, electric chair.”

“I suppose Johnny learning about all those Dillinger hoodlums getting killed must have knocked him for a loop,” she said. “He stayed out of trouble for a while. Then, in May of 1936, the Milltown, Wisconsin, bank was robbed at gunpoint. A month later, the bank in Eagle River. Both, they said, by a daring, good-looking young man, working all alone. And the description fit Johnny Seadlund to a T. In August 1936, he stuck up the Peoples State Bank at Colfax, Wisconsin. Then, in January1937, he robbed the First National Bank at Shakopee, Minnesota. I can’t imagine the police won’t capture him.”

“Oh, they’ll get him, all right. Bank robbery is now a federal offense. Hoover’s G-men will hunt him down just like they did the Dillinger gang.”

“Yes. I suppose you’re right,” she sobbed. “His skills playing hockey might have won him fame. Now he’ll be infamous for his crimes. If only he hadn’t met that thug, Tommy Carroll. That’s what you must include in your story. That’s what your readers need to realize. Parents must help their children understand the importance of staying away from such characters. Tell your readers that.”

“I’ll do what I can, ma’am. I appreciate your help. And thanks for your time.”

On the way out of town I passed the site of the mine Johnny worked in. As I drove by, I imagined an honest young man with a good job right up until the stock market crashed, then turning to crime, changing his life forever. What happened to John Henry Seadlund had happened to others. It could happen to almost anyone.


Make a free website with Yola