Jan 10, 2023 - News

Richmond's crime-solving reporter returns

"Dogtown" by Howard Owen. Photo: The Permanent Press/AP

Willie Black, a fictional, crime-solving reporter at a paper that sounds suspiciously like the Times-Dispatch, is back in bookstores this week.

What’s happening: Local author Howard Owen is out with the 12th entry in his Richmond-based mystery serial.

  • This one is titled “Dogtown” and sees Willie step in to solve a series of seemingly unconnected murders the city’s police department can’t seem to figure out, per a review by the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Owen, a former Times-Dispatch reporter, weaves in Richmond references throughout his work.

  • His past books have featured a killing at Scuffletown Park (“Scuffletown”), a plane crashing into Buddy’s (“Devil’s Triangle”) and — a recurring theme that hits close to home for us as former RTD reporters — the misery of never-ending budget cuts and layoffs at the local paper.

What they’re saying: “The thing about Richmond is there’s so many nooks and crannies where you can set a mystery,” Owen tells Axios.

What’s next: Owen says he’s already completed his 13th Willie Black book, which centers around a murder in Hollywood Cemetery.

  • And the series has been picked up by an Italian publisher, which has so far translated and released three volumes.

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