||Texas still feels the pain inflicted by Kenneth Allen
McDuff, despite the relentless efforts of law enforcement officials to
solve his crimes and bind up our wounds. The BAD BOY FROM ROSEBUD is
an impeccably researched, compellingly detailed account of the crimes and
the long search for justice. Gary Lavergne takes us directly to the scenes
of the crimes, deep inside the mind of a killer, and in the process learns
not only whom McDuff killed and how -- but why. This is classic crime reporting.
Dan Rather, Anchor, The CBS Evening News
This exhaustively researched tale of one of Texas' most notorious murderers, Kenneth McDuff, makes for gripping reading. More significantly, however, Gary Lavergne's portrait of unalloyed evil -- and of the criminal justice system's failure to protect us from it -- is a sobering reminder of any free society's vulnerability to the bad seeds scattered amongst the good. A fine, dismaying work.
Robert Draper, Writer at large, New York Times Magazine
Despite the gruesome subject matter, Bad Boy From Rosebud is an excellent study of the motivations behind the transformation of the Texas criminal justice system. For those who consider Texas too harsh, the story of Kenneth McDuff goes far in explaining the thinking of Texas politicians and law enforcement.
Richard Hall, Texas A and M International University, for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.
Gary Lavergne's careful work makes Bad Boy From Rosebud stand out... In writing of McDuff's life and crimes, Lavergne handles an ugly story with taste. This book could have been handled sensationally, but Lavergne chose the high road... While obviously disdainful of McDuff (don't look for any argument that McDuff was bad because no one hugged him as a child), Lavergne does what has to be doneto tell the story with a clear sense of respect for the families and friends of McDuff's victims.
Mike Cox, for the Austin American-Statesman. Mike is also a free-lance writer, a winner of the Violet Crown Award, and the author of seven Texas-related books.
Gary Lavergne provides a fascinating account of McDuff's killing sprees and how a dysfunctional criminal justice system released him to kill again. Anyone who questions the wisdom of the death penalty or why we need tough criminal laws, needs only to read this book.
Ken Anderson, Author, Crime in Texas: Your Guide to the Criminal Justice System, and District Attorney of Williamson County, Texas
Gary Lavergne of Cedar Park follows up A SNIPER IN THE TOWER, his impressive recounting of Charles Whitman's murder spree, with this exhaustive and emotionally exhausting examination of a bestial serial killer. The details make for grim reading, but ultimately Lavergne shows how the ill-conceived paroling of McDuff led Texas to overhaul its criminal justice system. Readers, prepare to shudder.
Anne Dingus, in a review for Texas Monthly
Gary Lavergne tells McDuff's story in rich detail, putting it into the historical context of the upheavals in Texas' criminal justice system during the seventies and eighties... Despite its flaws, Bad Boy From Rosebud, is the best kind of true crime writing. It tells a ripping good story and also addresses larger issues.
Mary Willis Walker, author of several novels, for The Texas Observer
This book delivers three nightmares. First, there is Kenneth McDuff, serial killer. Then there is the State of Texas institutional carelessness that let him out of prison to run amok and slaughter some more women. And finally, there is the State of Texas solution that is worse than the original problem. Read Gary Lavergne's textbook about how one monster convinced a state to create its own monster.
Charles Bowden, Contributing Editor, Esquire, and author, Juarez: Labratory of Our Future
In his latest work, the author relates the bizarre tale of Kenneth McDuff... As is evident, this is not just the story of another serial killer. It provides insight into the criminal subculture in which such a person operates as well as an unnerving examination of a dysfunctional criminal justice system which is unable to keep a convicted multiple killer off the streets... Bad Boy from Rosebud is a gripping and, often, downright scary account of a modern Texas outlaw.
Don M. Coerver, Journal of the West
It may have taken seven years to find McDuff's victims,
but it will take much longer than that to get this unbelievable chilling story
out of your mind. Gary Lavergne keeps the readers attention and the reader
turns each page with anticipation. This book is an excellent true crime read.
Gary Lavergne succeeds in giving us an inside look at one of the most savage killers in our history, and at the same time exposes the failure of our criminal justice system.
Gary Cartwright, Senior Editor, Texas Monthly
Lavergne, author of A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders, displays his mastery of details in chronicling the life of what some law enforcement officials term the most vicious rapist-murderer in the annals of Texas crime. As Lavergne meticulously records the efforts of officers trying to stop McDuff, you are swept into and become part of their long, dogged, and oftentimes frustration investigations.
Charles D. Butts, for San Antonio Lawyer. Mr. Butts is a criminal defense attorney and a former Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney. He prosecuted Kenneth McDuff in 1966.
Kenneth McDuff personified not only evil, but how a corrupt parole and prison system turned a monster loose on an unsuspecting public. Gary Lavergne chronicles how it was possible for one man to cause a massive overhaul of the Texas criminal justice system.
Robert Riggs, Peabody Award Winning Investigative Reporter, WFAA-TV News, Dallas, Texas
The story of Kenneth McDuff's career in crime is horrific, so bad, in fact, that the reader may have to take breaks from what surely qualifies as both an exhaustive and exhausting examination of one man's depredations and their effect on the Texas criminal justice system... The examination is the work of an expert... Details of the McDuff story move beyond the conventional true crime genre as Lavergne shows how the man's misdeeds came to illustrate all that was wrong with the Texas system of parole and probation.
Mary Kate Tripp for the Amarillo Sunday News-Globe
McDuff was executed on November 17, 1998. In Lavergne, he's found an author capable of grasping the horror and brutality of his life and that of the subculture from which he sprang.
Stephen Goode for Insight, a supplement to the Washington [DC] Times
Lavergne's descriptions of McDuff, his crimes, and the trouble the minions of justice had in putting him away... are the stuff of a book in which many a chapter ends with a cliff-hanger that impels the reader into the next. McDuff's monumentally cruel, breathtakingly brutal antics may make even the most hardened true-crime fans sweat.
Mike Tribby, in a review for Booklist
Gary Lavergne has done a superb job in telling the story of McDuff... Bad Boy From Rosebud reads like a crime thriller. It is a masterful piece of writing and research... I recommend that if you are interested in learning more about crime and criminal behavior, get a copy of Bad Boy From Rosebud.
Jerry Turner, Columnist, Tales from Early Texas
Bad Boy From Rosebud is a book that, once begun, will hold the reader's attention... This is a fascinating book to read although it is not a pleasant experience... Lavergne [is] a peerless writer dealing with contemporary criminal studies.
Chuck Parsons in Parson's Pickings for the Cow Country Courier