Professionals and fans provide book reviews of Don Lewis’ novel, Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak.
by Jane Smith, Journalist
Staff Writer for the Meadville Tribune, Meadville, Pa.
“Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak” by Don Lewis, former Crawford County District Attorney, is every bit as good as “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow or other detective novels. Told in a quick, matter-of-fact fashion, it is the story of a man charged with the murder of his wife.
Sandwiched between the beginning and ending is the story of Farm Conklin, a convicted wife beater who has served two years for nearly killing his wife during a domestic argument.
Upon his release from prison, Conklin goes home to his wife. Three weeks later, she is found strangled. Conklin’s fingerprints are on the belt found around his wife’s neck. Clumps of his hair are found in a hairbrush on the floor and some of his hair strands are found underneath her fingernails.
Conklin is charged with the murder. He hires JD Banks, former district attorney and now criminal defense attorney, to defend him.
Lewis weaves a story of intrigue, which keeps the reader guessing right up to the end.
Through the eyes of Attorney JD Banks, Lewis takes the reader from the beginning when police are notified about the death, through the investigative steps taken by the police and the defense attorney’s office to the trial.
But “Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak” encompasses more than the story of Conklin. It delves into some side stories which complicate the investigation and keep the reader guessing.
Was the husband the real killer? Was his wife killed by somebody she was having an affair with while he was in jail? Or, was she strangled by her boss to prevent her from giving potential damaging business information to the authorities?
Those are but three of the suspects in “Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak.” Several more are thrown in with an expert touch and believable motives.
Although the setting is “Manchester County, Pa.,” the reader glimpses Lancaster County. However there are traces of Crawford County.
Having covered criminal trials as a reporter for more than 25 years, I can vouch for the realistic approach Lewis takes in his writing. That makes the book particularly appealing.
For anyone who enjoys a good detective story, “Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak” will be a real page-turner.
Former Crawford County District Attorney Publishes Murder Mystery
By Jane Smith
CNHI News Service
12/11/05— Nearly a decade later, former Crawford County District Attorney Lewis has added a new title to his resume — published author.
“Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak” is a mystery set in a small town in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country, which is rocked by murder when Farm Conklin, recently released from prison, is arrested for the brutal killing of his wife, Lorraine.
The novel is centered around that murder and is powered by the conflict between a ruthless prosecutor, the young and ambitious C. Norman Locke, who 10 years earlier had left his hometown of Philadelphia to become a big fish in a small pond; and the dedicated J.D. Banks, the respected and experienced defense attorney who firmly believes in the innocence of his client.
The weaving of the story’s diverse threads leads to an explosive trial and a surprise ending, Lewis said.
The story starts three years after Conklin’s conviction on charges that he committed a serious assault upon his wife. Three weeks weeks after his release from prison, Lorraine’s body is found in the bedroom of their small Cape Cod home in rural Manchester County. Farm is arrested and hires the county’s most respected and experienced defense attorney, Banks, to represent him.
As the trial begins, the evidence against Conklin appears to be of overwhelming strength. Yet, as the trial progresses, other suspects, viable to the defense team, arise to complicate the plot. Still more ammunition is supplied when, during the trial, the defense team uncovers inconsistencies in the prosecution’s evidence.
Before the case is solved, the plot is complicated by the exposure of governmental corruption, the illegal activities of Lorraine’s boss, the entrance of organized crime figures from Philadelphia, a suicide, and two more murders.
For those not familiar with Lewis’ name, he served as district attorney from 1980 to 1983 after being assistant DA for six years.
He then accepted a position as managing assistant U.S. attorney in Erie, Western District of Pennsylvania, and in 1985 was invited to join the staff of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa where he successfully prosecuted numerous major drug-smuggling cases.
He was also cited for excellence by the U.S. Justice Department for his work, in cooperation with the Tampa and St. Petersburg police departments, on the successful prosecution of more than 100 street cocaine dealers.
In 1988, he resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to return home to Crawford County and became a criminal defense attorney.
Lewis was born in Pittsburgh, graduated from North Catholic High School in that city, and completed three years of college before he enlisted in the U.S Army.
In 1964-65, as a sergeant, Lewis he served with distinction in Vietnam as a radio operator on an A-Team (Detachment A-214) with the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group (Green Berets). Upon returning home from the war he finished his undergraduate work at Waynesburg College and then entered and graduated from law school. He has recently retired after 31 years as a criminal trial lawyer to devote full time to his writing.
Mr. Lewis’ second novel, “Dark Covenant,” a murder mystery, will soon be released. A third novel, also completed, is currently being edited for submission to a literary agent. He is currently working on a fourth novel, “The Iron Cross,” another murder mystery.
He and his wife, Sheryl, live in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Copyright © 1999-2005 cnhi, inc.
The Meadville Tribune
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Jean Shanley, Staff Writer
Oh, I wish I could be in two places at one time.
It’s not too often I wish I were two people. Actually, I never do; I just wish I could be in two places at the same time. Today is one of those days.
Saturdays are special days for me. I spend part of the day with my granddaughter most of the time – and usually don’t think twice about the other places I could be.
But today, I really wish I could be in Erie and in Meadville at the same time.
A few years ago I read a mystery which I totally loved. It hadn’t been published yet, but the writer graciously agreed to let me read the manuscript before publication.
I was as enthralled with the book as I was with Scott Turow’s “Presumed Innocent.”
Today the author, former Crawford County District Attorney Don Lewis, is returning to Meadville to do a book signing downtown – celebrating the publication of the book after all these years. I’d really like to be there if for no other reason than to say hello to Don and celebrate his success with him. It isn’t everyone who gets a book published.
But, my granddaughter still is thrilled when I arrive on Saturdays and brags to her neighbor that “my grandma comes every Saturday to play with me.”
So, she gets top priority.
Being a twin, I am often asked if I ever tried to play a trick on someone and pretend to be my sister.
I could ask my sister to do that for me today – except both my granddaughter and Don Lewis know each of us well enough that we wouldn’t fool either one.
I hope he knows I’m celebrating his success and looking forward to reading his next book. I just hope his next book signing isn’t on a Saturday.
I’ve finished reading “Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak” and wanted you to know how much I loved it.
Stacey Breneo, Meadville, PA
As one who truly loves to read, I enjoyed both of Mr. Lewis’s books. I had a hard time putting them down until I was finished with each one. I am really looking forward to the next one!
Charles Mitchell, Pittsburgh, PA
I really enjoyed reading your mystery books, especially in the winter time. It was nice to be able to sit by the fire and read a book such as yours. “Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak” was my favorite thus far, and I am looking forward to more books to come. I believe that this book should be made into a movie some day. Thanks!
Erin Griggle, Elwood City, PA
I have to say that I read “Satan’s Boot Don’t Creak” in about three evenings. I couldn’t put it down!!!! I read it again a year later and once again stayed up too late reading until I finished it! An excellent read! Looking forward to reading more from you!!!
Janet, Erie, PA
I just finished reading Satan’s Boots, and I can’t tell you how impressed I was! The plot, the action, character development, diaglogue– it was all first rate. I really enjoyed reading it, and I think it’s as good a legal mystery as anything else out there; as good as anything by Grisham or Steve Martini. All those years of legal work must have taught you to organize you mind. And it probably didn’t hurt your imagination any either!!
Art Tripp, Mississippi
Great book — Satan’s Boots — so I hope your third book is very close to being released! You certainly have the talent for writing. Most captivating with lots of twists and turns and I loved them both.
Keep on writing. . . and thanks for sending Satan’s Boots.
Ginger Pitts, Pittsburgh, Pa.
I finished your book yesterday. It was great!!! I couldn’t wait to get back to it each time. Outstanding job!
Bob Meinert – Private Investigator, Pittsburgh, Pa.
It was great!!! I really didn’t know what you had in ya until I read the book. Can’t wait for the next one
(Larry Silvis, District Magistrate; Mercer County, Pa.)
What an opportunity to meet Micky Spillane and to have it come out so well. I’m pleased for you! It was a nice touch that you were able to take your wife along to enjoy the moment!
I just finished reading your book and I am most impressed! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it and, once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. I love to read a good mystery and techno-thrillers and have consumed many great novels over the past years.
I particularly like books which are written surrounding a specific character and which follow that character’s exploits from one book to next. I hope you have such plans for JD Banks and Max! The book would make a great TV mini-series or a full length movie for that matter.
Thank you again for sending the book and for the personal inscription. It is one which I will treasure and which will remain in my permanent library! I am looking forward to your next publication.
Best personal regards,
Bill Fussner – Sun Lakes, Arizona
I just want to let you know that I am half-way done with your book. I just can’t put it down. Keep on with your writing. I really am enjoying the book. Congratulations.
(Sheriff Robert Stevens, Crawford Co. Pennsylvania)
Hey big guy,
I got your book in the mail yesterday and finished it @ 2:30 a.m. this morning. Really nice work! I’ll have to get you to sign my copy sometime.
Hope all is well.
Jeff Downing, Assistant US Attorney, Tampa, Florida
Good job! I couldn’t put your book down. I became involved with your characters. It was informative and fast paced. You got me at the end with the surprise perp. Can’t wait for your next book.
Carol Good, Retired District Magistrate, Linesville Pa.
I recently finished your new book and enjoyed it a great deal. It is a good read and you put a little bit of O. Henry at the end. Short chapters make it easy to start and stop and it only took me about a week of bed time reading. Is there some amount of autobiography in your story?
Chris Decker, Arizona
Great book! Jim and I both read it and couldn’t put it down. We didn’t guess the ending either. We got a kick out of all the character’s names and the way you tied in places of interest around here. Bet you’ve had tons of positive feedback. We look forward to any future releases.
Judi & Jim Haylett, Linesville, PA
The book was very hard to put down, each chapter held your attention and kept you in suspense to the very end. It was as if you were there among the characters of the story. There are many surprises that await its reading!
Rodger Nydes (Retired Pennsylvania State Police Officer), Linesville, Pa.
I am anxiously awaiting your new book!!! I finished Satan’s Boots in record time–could not put it down!! It was a great read! Tom, my husband, must read it–he is involved in other reads for now–but I know that he will enjoy it too!
Joan Howard, Pennsylvanian and Grand Dunian!!
Myrtle Beach, SC
Don Lewis is an old, old friend , I’ve known him since the ninth grade. The best way to describe him is to say he is one of those characters you meet only a few times in life. So when he asked me to read his book, I thought what if I’m disappointed and don’t like it. I worried about what I would say if that was the case. Well, that wasn’t a problem at all. I loved it. I finished the book in two nights, a record for me .
I highly recommend Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak; I can’t wait for the next one.
Vince Miller, Pittsburgh Pa.
Ding, dong, dang it!! I was right in the middle of a Louis L’Amour novel and I made the mistake of reading the first chapter of Satan’s Boots Don’t Creak! By the time I get back to L’Amour, I’ll have forgotten what I’d read. Aarrgghh!! Ha-ha.
It looks great, Don. Congratulations are in order!! I know I’ll enjoy it. I’m already enjoying it.
I’m also grateful for your signing it. That makes it special!! I’ll cherish the book.
Charlie Griggs, Meadville, Pa.
Is “inspiring” too strong a word? After I shook the distraction that my buddy was behind all the entertaining story-filled words, I got lost in “Satan’s Boots…”
Is it OK if I’m proud of you for this enviable achievement?
I’m so happy I can tell you I loved the story; loved the colorful language, the lively dialogue exchange, and loved connecting with the recognizable landmarks you referenced.
Seriously, “Satan’s Boots” is brilliant!
Proudly, your friend,
Joe Casale Jr., Scottsdale, AZ
WOW… OK I just finished the book….It was crazy!!! I can’t believe the ending!!!! That was some truly magnificent writing there. I read over half of it today once it started picking up speed it didn’t stop… the end came as a real shocker.
I looked it up on Borders.com and it was there and the readers gave it 5 stars….AWESOME!!!!
P.S. I think I am finally calmed down enough to go to sleep!!! You can’t just roll over after that ending and go to a pleasant nights slumber!!!
Marla Hall – St. Christopher (Kits) West Indies
I hope your book signing went well. I enjoyed the book very much. Read it in 2 days and thought it was better than many I have read from NY Times best-selling authors.
I hope it sells.
Mike Gannon – Pittsburgh, Pa
WOW!! It was great! Congrats are surely in order! I loved your book. Let me know when the next book is coming out and I’ll be one of the first in line to get it.
Charlie Griggs, Meadville Pa.
I had surgery last week and, having sometime off of work, I finally had a chance to read your book. Couldn’t put it down. Excellent. Please let me know if and when your next one is available.
Rich Marasti – Pittsburgh, Pa.
I LOVED your book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a huge murder mystery reader and can now say I am a proud owner of one of the first drafts of this book and a signed copy of the published version. VERY well done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s the kind that is difficult to put down. I cannot wait until the next one comes out.
I am SO proud of you…great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s fabulous, Don.
Laura Walls, Meadville, Pa.
I received the book on Wednesday afternoon and finished it on Friday eve. I am a slow reader but I couldn’t put it down!!! Have to read every word! WOW!!! What a read!! I loved it and can’t wait for the next one.
Jack Pivirotto, Sun City, Arizona
I have a good friend here in Sun City West, who loves mystery novels and loaned her my Satans Boots. Well, let me tell you — she is a new fan of E. T. Lewis and has written a review for the book. She is now starting on Dark Covenant. She will also be a good ambassador for your novels. Haven’t had a chance to present your books to the library yet and hope you send the book marks for both novels so we can pass them out. Going to the Pa. Club Xmas dinner on Dec. 3rd and hope to be able to introduce you to them.
Last week I realized that I had not read your book. So, I started it. I read about 2-5 books a week depending on the time of year. I mainly read mysteries and westerns and I think I know good writing when I see it. Your book was not just good but excellent. I literally read until it was finished and it is now on my wife’s short list. Excellent job! I hope that you consider writing other books with J.D and Max. I have already recommended the book to friends and am looking forward to your next book.
Jim Hoy, Leesburg, Virginia
Your book arrived in the mail on Saturday. Thanks for autographing it. I have you to blame for taking up all my discretionary time between Saturday afternoon and early this morning. Quite an intriguing story. It was an addicting read – well written, good character development, lots of drama, very engrossing, many surprises. Well done!
Larry Domencic, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Bravo!!! Congratulations on the book, again! I am so thrilled for you and knew that the day would come to celebrate your success. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t put the book down. I am so excited for the next book!
I continue to wish you much success – PLEASE, keep writing!
Sammi Vennare, Pittsburgh, PA
I have a friend in Sun City West Arizona that loaned me Satan’s Boots. What a great book! Can’t wait to read the next one. Keep them coming.
A satisfied reader.
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