As was just announced in Publisher's Marketplace, I'm delighted to tell my readers that after months of protracted negotiations and interest by several publishers, I have signed a contract with Kensington/Citadel to write a book on the Rebecca Zahau death case.
I've been following this case since the very beginning, when Rebecca was found dead in the back yard of her multimillionaire boyfriend's mansion in Coronado (featured above), known as the historic Spreckels Mansion. Rebecca was allegedly found hanging from a second-story exterior balcony of the 1907 home, owned by pharmaceutical magnate Jonah Shacknai.
Here was the announcement, which was carefully worded to give readers a taste of what's to come, but leaves room for discovery as I continue my years of research into this complicated case.
"True crime: Co-author of HUNTING CHARLES MANSON Caitlin Rother's JUSTICE FOR REBECCA, about the death of Rebecca Zahau, found hanging -- naked, bound and gagged -- from her multimillionaire boyfriend's balcony in Coronado, CA; authorities said it was a suicide, but in 2018 a civil jury held the boyfriend's brother responsible; new, exclusive details help to unravel the mysterious, symbiotic fatalities of Rebecca and her boyfriend's son, to Michaela Hamilton at Kensington, for publication in spring 2021, by Peter Rubie at FinePrint Literary Management (world)."
The research is going well. I've recently learned some things I wasn't expecting, which, of course, will only make this book better.
The tentative pub date is May 2021, or sooner if I can get it done faster. But it takes a long time to research and write a complicated book like this one--it's trickier without a resolution in criminal court--and then another year to get it out in print, so hang in there, I promise you it will be worth the wait!
This one will be a nice trade paperback, which is larger and easier to read than my previous mass market paperbacks with Kensington/Pinnacle. It will be book number #14 or #15, depending on when the book on the San Diego Zoo's Frozen Zoo comes out.
For those who are unfamiliar with this story, Rebecca Zahau was found hanging naked, hands tied behind her back, ankles bound, and a gag in her mouth.
Authorities (the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, aided by state Department of Justice agents) ruled it a suicide. Her family, many experts AND a civil jury, all said it was murder. The jury found the boyfriend's brother, Adam Shacknai, responsible for her death last year. He says it was suicide too.
I'm already getting some great interviews with people you haven't heard from before on TV or elsewhere, so I'm pretty excited! I believe there is still much to be revealed in this case, and many questions to be answered. This is my goal, and this is my challenge.
My plan is to find the truth, no matter where it takes me, and get as close to it as I can. I have no agenda, I'm not taking sides, I have no horse in this race, and I want to hear all sides from all parties. But clearly there would not be interest in this case if it wasn't so controversial, and if so many people did not accept the official finding that this was a suicide. Some people, including Dina Shacknai, also challenge the official finding that her son Max's tragic fall, two days before Rebecca died, was an accident.
When I talked to folks at the Indie Author Day at the Coronado library this weekend about my upcoming book, one fellow author asked me, "Oh, the mansion murder case?" She asked for the pub date so she can get it on the calendar for her book club to read!
But do you see what I mean? In the past eight years since Rebecca was found dead, I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "Are you going to write a book about the Coronado mansion murder?"
What do you think? If you have any tips or leads or want to share information with me about this case, please contact me at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading!