Friday, March 17, 2017

A True Crime Cold Case Historical Novel By Larry and Carolyn Watts.
See Blog Post Updates to Book.
Dedicated to the Billnitzer family. May Detective Martin Billnitzer rest in peace.

"A Powerful Example of the True Crime Genre at its Best. The authors are the real deal at putting the reader right in the room. A story of evil in a place you would never look."  -- H. L. O'Neal, Former Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement

Foreword: In the early 1950's a narcotics scandal rocked the Houston, Texas, Police Department. One officer was dead with two gunshots to 
the heart and a nasty laceration on his head. The death was ruled a suicide. Another officer was sent to prison for selling heroin back to those he arrested. A captain was fired and a police chief lost his job. Dr. Julius McBride went to prison for supplying that police chief with codeine illegally. High profile federal narcotics agent George White came to Houston and challenged the locals, from police chief, city attorney, mayor and district attorney, to every officer he thought was dirty.
This story is a fictional account of those events. Its focus is on two men. Martin Billnitzer was the detective who was killed with two shots to the heart. Within hours his death was ruled a suicide. Bill Pool was a police officer who first reported the possibility of a narcotics scandal to federal authorities. His career in Houston was ruined. Both men's careers were cut short, their service dishonored, and their lives all but forgotten in the annals of Houston's history.
Considerable research was completed on the project, including interviews, reading old newspaper articles and books about some of the participants and obtaining a copy of the federal narcotics agent's personal papers from Stanford University libraries. Where gaps in the story existed after our research, we added fictional accounts of what may have happened. However, the names of most participants are real and much of the story is factual. Italicized quotes from documents were taken directly from letters, notes, or newspaper articles with the exception of the quotes reported from a recording by George White of Dr. Julius McBride and his wife, which are fictional.
It is important to note that much of the story is told by a retired officer, Buck Nichols. Nichols is one of the few characters in the book who is fictional and the story he tells is derived from research, with missing information being created by the authors' imaginations as to what might have occurred all those years ago...
Martin Billinitzer's family still mourns what was done to their loved one...

We're traveling back to the 50s to learn a story of a courageous young police officer who gave his life in the service of his city, Houston...

But recognition for that service was ruined when, within hours of being shot twice in the middle of police headquarters, Detective Martin Billnitzer was officially declared to have committed suicide and the case was never investigated, merely closed and filed away...

Even though official forensics records would show that it could not have been a suicide...

But there were others who cared about that death...and, even now in the present, in 2016, a book has been written to show the research that has been done and compiled into the book Dishonored and Forgotten, to try to clear Billnitzer's name and service record. Unfortunately, the case remains cold.

At the same time, another young cop agreed to work with the FBI, which resulted in a major narcotics scandal in the Houston Texas Police Department. He was forever fired and was continuously discredited thereafter. Some of those involved were convicted; most were not. One affected was the Chief of Police who was asked to resign. His doctor was convicted. There was no evidence that they were involved in the major scandal, but they were guilty of falsifying drug records...the doctor used another name to cover the Chief's addiction...

Everything blew up and started what was to later happen when a small group made a drug bust and confiscated a large amount of drugs. At police headquarters, as the group was making out their reports, a lead officer came in, took the drugs and indicated to the group that he'd handle the package. The group decided to continue to complete their reports--to protect themselves... 

The drugs were "sold back" to the local drug lord...

Interestingly, the actual facts are molded into a fictional story that is begun with Jason Billnitzer deciding to try to gain closure for his father who was now close to death. His father was Martin Billnitzer's brother, who had not once stopped thinking about what had been done to his brother's reputation.

Readers will follow the events of what has been factually gathers, and the authors hav used one fictional character, who is now in his 80s, who is sharing what he remembered. Actually, this fails somewhat in that it is highly unlikely that a round-table discussion could reveal so much. 

On the other hand, the choice does allow readers to follow a story which is easily read. Much of the setting of the three main characters is at a local cafe or other eating place, which allowed the writers to smooth out transitions and break up the story because of its complexity. Because it is fictionalized, I included the Foreword in my article to show the type of research done. While this is not a true research of the events, giving no documentation whatsoever, it does bring what happened to the attention of the public at this time. And since the murder case was never solved, I believe the efforts of the authors in attempting to spotlight how just one man's murder can be hidden, and ignored, while the family and all those involved are crushed with that individual's undeserved dishonor, is a very important contribution to all of us.

This is not a book to read because of the outcome. It's a fictionalized True Crime story into which it is not easy to sink and expect a satisfactory ending. But if you enjoy books in the True Crime genre, this certainly deserves your attention! It would be wonderful to see that this book raises sufficient interest to have an official "cold case" opened by the Texas police, wouldn't it?!!! 

Do check this one out!


The authors teamed together writing this fictional account of historical events surrounding a police narcotics scandal...Carolyn, a counselor and specialist in school psychology, has written several read-and-learn-together books for children and parents. This is Larry's seventh work of fiction. 
Visit there websites at

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