1960s Austin Gangsters invading BookPeople

Join us at BookPeople Monday, March 23, 7PM. At long last we’ll be presenting my new book “1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital.” The big story about the Austin underworld during the tumultuous sixties — the Timmy Overton Gang, Hattie Valdes, criminal lawyers, gamblers, bank burglars, gamblers, and the thug life… it’s all told right here in this new book. The Facebook event is here. We also made it in Michael Hoinski’s Texas Monthly/New York Times column “Six Must-Attend Events.” We’re No. 1 with a bullet! Cool.

Monday night, I’ll play a couple of songs, read a couple of pages, do a short interview with our MysteryPeople host, Scott Montgomery, and sign books. Refreshments will be provided.

Six Must-Attend Events: March 20-26

THE STATE’S TOP OFFERINGS, FROM GANGSTERS IN SIXTIES-ERA AUSTIN TO BRONCOBUSTERS IN PRESENT-DAY HOUSTON.
FRI MARCH 20, 2015 2:15 PM
Jesse Sublett, true crime author, novelist, musicianTimmy Overton, center, flanked by Texas Rangers, being led from federal court, in Austin on May 17, 1967. He had just been arraigned for threatening federal witnesses in addition to the many other charges already pending against him and his pals.
COURTESY OF JESSE SUBLETT

AUSTIN

Gangsters’ Paradise 
It is quite possible that had it not been for the arrests of brothers Timmy and Charles Overton, two of Austin’s most notorious gangsters, Charles Whitman may have never opened fire from the University of Texas Tower on that fateful August day in 1966. The short of it, which the author-musician-artist Jesse Sublett will likely expound on during a hometown reading of his new book,  1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime that Rocked the Capital , boils down to a poker game. The Overton brothers cleaned Whitman out during a game in 1961, while Whitman was a freshman at UT; he settled his debt in the form of a $400 check but promptly cancelled it, ticking off the Overtons and forcing Whitman to start carrying a .357 magnum for protection. The heat died down when the Overtons were arrested in Dallas, in 1962, for robbing tony homes in Highland Park. “This saved Charlie’s life,” Sublett said. The book follows the exploits of the brothers along with Jerry Ray “Fat Jerry” James and their cohorts in underground crime and vice. Sublett came across the story while researching the murder of his girlfriend, who was killed in 1976 and whom he chronicled in his 2004 memoir,  Never the Same Again: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Gothic. “They never pulled a million dollar score, but they were voracious and prolific—safecracking, bank burglary, prostitution, drug dealing, gambling, counterfeiting, you name it, 24/7,” Sublett said. “And they changed Cadillacs more often than you’d take a suit to the dry cleaner.”
BookPeople, March 23, 7 p.m.,  jessesublett.com

Jesse Sublett, novelist, nonfiction author, essayist, musician, artist, Austin character

Published by History Press, March 9, 2015

 

 

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