Kumpe’s new novel mimics real life drama, with a twist

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By Kenny Mitchell

Local author and Tribune columnist Pam Kumpe has wrapped up her six-book collection that follows the life of a trouble making, yet loving hearted heroine, Annie Grace Kree. In an odd twist of fate, Kumpe now explains how the series mimics real life, using characters from her past and present, to tell a fictional story very closely related to truth.
We have all heard by now about The Golden State Killer of California, and how he was recently arrested. Well, that killer murdered Manuela Witthuhn in 1981. And she was Kumpe’s closest friend. This murder became part of a cold case involving more than 50 rapes and 12 murders, until the arrest of a 72-year old man, April 25, 2018. 
The news of this arrest came just as Kumpe completed her latest novel, the sixth in the series, “Unshackled Courage” where her protagonist, Annie Grace, solves the cold case of Texarkana’s Phantom Killer from 1946. 
Thus, fiction mimicking real life!
Kumpe told the Tribune recently that back in 1981, she said goodbye to her friend after work since she was moving inland to a new job in California. Her last words to Manuela were, “Let’s be friends for life.” And the next morning Manuela would be dead at the hands of the Golden State Killer.
Just like those who lost a family member or a friend when the Phantom Killer murdered and attacked, In the Annie Grace Kree Chronicles, Kumpe sets out to bring justice and hope to those left behind. So, in the novel, there’s healing—for the people in Texarkana. (Just like healing for Kumpe in the real world, now that Manuela’s killer has been caught.)
The book can be read as a stand-alone, but Kumpe hopes you check out the other five books in the Annie Grace Kree Chronicles. You’ll learn how Annie Grace was kidnapped by her daddy, how she chased her past, and how she lived on the rail. How she longed for a normal family—who ate fried chicken and chocolate cake.
The premise for the novel series arose when Kumpe learned of the cold case from Texarkana, giving way to a fictional character, Annie Grace Kree. As the movie, “The Town that Dreaded Sundown” is filming—Annie Grace remembers the eyes she saw in a boxcar at the age of ten. And he’s the killer she’ll expose in 1976—thirty years later!
“Unshackled Courage” is releasing June 1st and introduces the reader to a woman riddled by nightmares—who’s set on becoming the investigator who’ll solve the case of the Phantom Killer. And somewhere along the way—she learns she’s a messenger of hope!
I have read all six of these books, more than once, and can personally say they are as riveting and interesting as any book you might find on the New York Times Bestseller list. You will find yourself racing on to the next page and chapter, tempted to fast forward to the end to see how Annie Grace survives, grows, and flourishes.
So I urge you, take a road trip with Shoelace and read for yourself how she finds her way home and solves the Phantom Killer mystery all at the same time. 
PamKumpe is available to speak locally, and you may find her books at www.pamkumpe.com. Or on Facebook, Pam Kumpe- Writing What I Live and See.

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