Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Gitchie Girl by Sandy Hamman and Phil Hamman

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Gitchie Girl

Gitchie Girl: The Survivor's Inside Story of the Mass Murders that Shocked the Heartland by Sandy Hamman and Phil Hamman
Print and e-book, 165 pages
Published January 11th 2016 by eLectio Publishing

A terrified voice cried out in the night.

"Who are you? What do you want?"

The sound of snapping twigs closed in on the five teenagers enjoying an evening around a glowing campfire at Gitchie Manitou State Park. The night of music and laughter had taken a dark turn. Evil loomed just beyond the tree line, and before the night was over, one of the Midwest’s most horrific mass murders had left its bloodstains spewed across the campsite.

One managed to survive and would come to be known as the “Gitchie Girl.” Harrowing memories of the terrifying crime sent her spiraling out of control, and she grasped at every avenue to rebuild her life. Can one man, a rescue dog, and a glimmer of faith salvage a broken soul? This true story will touch your heart and leave you cheering that good can prevail over the depravity of mankind.

Through extensive research, interviews, and personal insight, the authors bring a riveting look at the heinous crime that shook the Midwest in the early 1970s. Written from rare, inside interviews with the lone survivor, who broke nearly four decades of silence, this shocking yet moving story will not soon be forgotten.


A percentage of profits from Gitchie Girl go to the lone survivor of the murders as well as the Council on Sexual Assault & Domestic Abuse.

My thoughts about Gitchie Girl ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—'Had it been a movie, dark notes from a lone violin would have begun playing as soon as the man glanced away from the road to watch his wife, who was applying her frosted lipstick while gazing into the visor mirror.' 

The events in Gitchie Girl took place in 1973, only about an hour from where I live now. I didn't live here back then and I was not at all familiar with this brutal story. Reading this account of what took place back then was shocking to me. It is heartbreaking to think that there were people who would do this kind of thing to innocent young people. They were just a group of five friends, out having a good time. The three brothers committed such cold-blooded, senseless acts, basically just for the fun of it.

Gitchie Girl is a very well written book by the husband and wife team of Phil and Sandy Harmann. As I was reading it, I couldn't help thinking about the strength and maturity of this thirteen year old girl, whose life was utterly changed on that one fateful night. One part that struck me and showed her maturity, was the accuracy of the composite drawings of the three men and how closely they matched their actual pictures. Sandra's life could not have been easy after living through this and I cannot even imagine what it would have been like. What a strong, brave person she was and still is.

On a side note, the day after I started reading this, I found out that the authors will be holding a talk at my local library. The event will be later this week and I plan to be there to hear more about this fascinating story.

About the Author

Phil Hamman

Phil Hamman is the author of three nationally published books: Under the Influence, disOrder, and Gitchie Girl (co-authored with his wife, Sandy.) These fast-paced, true stories have proven popular with teens and adults.

As a high school teacher for 30 years, Phil has been committed to working with teenagers with difficult behaviors such as conduct disorders and oppositional defiance. He has spoken extensively on the topics of anti-bullying, positive peer choices, setting goals, and reaching out to others.

Connect with Phil and Sandy


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