Thursday, December 12, 2019

Santa Claus Bank Robbery ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Review & Giveaway!

SANTA CLAUS
BANK ROBBERY
A True-Crime Saga in Texas
by
TUI SNIDER

  Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: December 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos

Scroll down for Giveaway!


When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running - with loaded guns in hand!

But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress.
This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning!

Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion.

Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?




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HALL WAYS REVIEW:  Upon finishing Santa Claus Bank Robbery, which is the third or fourth of Tui Snider’s books I have read, I think she could write about the history of cement mixing, and I would have a blast reading the details.  Tui has a gift for making her stories feel like she’s written them just for you. For those of a certain age, reading Santa Claus Bank Robbery is reminiscent of getting letters from a newsy friend or relative who is inspired and passionate about a new project. Tui is all over every page – and that’s a good thing.

Santa Claus Bank Robbery is a very quick and engaging escape into West Texas history. I read it on a short plane ride (and missed the drink service! Drat!). Though the focus is on the bank heist, all the surrounding details give readers a vivid snapshot into the people and attitudes of 1920s Texas. Aiding the descriptions of time and place are black and white photos, many taken by the author, of newspaper headlines, people, buildings, and even sketches that complement the text and provide a second level of interest and authenticity. Again, these snippets remind me of what was inevitably included in the envelope when my nana would send me a letter. (Nana always made sure to underline the parts she wanted to emphasize from the newspaper clippings she sent. You know, in case I didn’t get the point.)

“By the mid-1920s, the state of Texas experienced
three to four bank robberies every single day!”

What’s fun about SCBR is that much of the meticulously researched information given to readers is the result of legwork, not bookwork – though there is plenty of both.  Tui’s personal observations and conversations with people in Cisco, Texas, and beyond are what separate the book from purely scholarly or journalistic accounts of historical events. In fact, what seems to be a side mission of SCBR is debunking A.C. Greene’s book, published in the early 1970s, written about the robbery and events surrounding it. It appears that for reasons forever unknown, Greene fictionalized – even sensationalized – some elements in his story of the heist and intentionally hid pertinent facts from the readers. Tui doesn’t hide her frustration with the author and content of that book, which she feels misleads readers. (I will admit that my curiosity is piqued, and Greene’s book may experience a sales boost, thanks to Tui.)

Speaking of curiosity piqued, how about that book cover? The noose is a spoiler, and upsetting, sure.  Because of the cover image, I knew what was coming but I was shocked all the same by to whom, when, and how it happened. Equally shocking is the aftermath and what was considered the norm less than one hundred years ago.

The author’s casual, between-friends writing style is the perfect choice for a book like this that is as much about the people of the times as it is about the main event. The personal touches – like Tui’s mentions of a friendly local dining experience one day and a downright chilly response from some locals another – are what make reading Santa Claus Bank Robbery feel intimate. There are some scattered typos, but nothing detracts or distracts from the story or the author’s enthusiasm to tell it. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next from Tui Snider.

Thanks to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.  

Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel.

Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TV, Coast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.


◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER  
◆  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  ◆  GOODREADS  ◆
◆  INSTAGRAM  ◆   YOUTUBE  ◆
 --------------------------------------- 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
 GRAND PRIZE (US only)
Signed Paperback +$10 Amazon Gift Card
+ Thank You Post Card
2ND PRIZE (US only)Signed Copy + Thank You Post Card
3RD PRIZE (International): Kindle eBook
  December 12-22, 2019
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12/12/19
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12/14/19
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BONUS Review
12/15/19
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12/18/19
BONUS Review
12/19/19
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12/20/19
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4 comments:

  1. Haha! As a woman of a certain age, I miss getting those newsy letters! Well, I still get them sometimes from my dad. And it made me laugh when you mentioned your Nana's letters. My grandkids call me "Nana Tui." Thank you so much for spending time with my book and writing such a thorough review! :)

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    1. It is truly a pleasure! Thanks for sharing your books with us.

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  2. Loved your review! I felt the same way about her ability to make her writing seem like a conversation. I loved her interactive research as well. As a daughter to a hobbyist genealogist, I can truly appreciate the legwork Tui did to make this book happen :)

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    1. Wow, I'll bet! She does serious research and I don't think a lot of people realize it's more than using the Google. Ha!

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