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Intelligence detective Gary Jenkins interviews a mystery and thriller fiction writer, Jode Millman about her research and writing process. In Ms. Millman’s recent thriller, Hooker Avenue, she was inspired by a true crime involving sex workers in the Hudson Valley of New York. She also had a personal connection to those crimes. During the late 1990s, eight sex workers disappeared from the mean streets of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and for two years, the police took little action to locate them. Finally, in September 1998, after one woman escaped from the attacker’s clutches, the john, Kendall Francois, admitted to killing the women, and he buried them in his home.
The perpetrator had solicited the women on the steps of Ms. Millman’s law office. Naturally, these heinous crimes and the lost lives of the victims haunted her.
I wanted to discover whether Hollywood has perpetuated the early 20th Century stereotype of sex workers as boozy, broke, and burned out. She wanted to break through the Hollywood image of a sex worker and depict these women in their true form.
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