Most Read
  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

    The post Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Summer Guide 2011

Killer prose

By day, he's a Detroit business writer. On his time off, Tom Henderson is a chronicler of the sensational, the lurid

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

Summer Guide 2011
  • In (the) heat The psychology, anthropology and politics of the summer fling | 6/15/2011
  • Juggalos in the mist A retreat to the wilderness turns weird in a heartbeat | 6/15/2011
  • Killer prose By day, he's a Detroit business writer. On his time off, Tom Henderson is a chronicler of the sensational, the lurid | 6/15/2011
  • Feed your head Detroiter lit-lovers share their summer reads | 6/15/2011
  • Life's a beach Summer highs to look forward to | 6/15/2011

His books describe hunters fed to pigs, DNA collected in a roller rink and a woman's body parts transported on her children's sled, but perhaps the most unlikely plot line in Tom Henderson's world is his entrance into true crime writing.

In 1999, one of the book world's more prominent agents called him looking for someone to write the story of a suburban defense attorney who had had an affair with a judge and then was convicted of killing his wife. Yes, the agent Jane Dystel, who repped Barack Obama's first book, called Henderson after a former colleague of his recommended him for the task. The case was so attractive to the publisher, they had the agent seeking a writer.

"It's an unreplicable model," says Tom Henderson, banking reporter at Crain's Detroit Business by day, author of books about some of Michigan's most notorious crimes by night and weekend. "Twelve years ago, Jane called me saying she was calling on behalf of St. Martin's Paperbacks True Crime Library and asking if I wanted to do a book. The odds of a freelance writer getting called by a reputable agent for a mainstream publishing house? Those are worse odds than winning the lottery."

But Henderson had lucked out and continues his streak, albeit on others' misfortunes, which he's sensitive to.

He's authored five true crime books since that telephone call. First he wrote A Deadly Affair, the story Dystel requested, the story of Mick Fletcher, the death of his wife from what he argued was a self-inflected gunshot wound and his affair with then-Warren District Court Judge Susan Chrzanowski. Then Henderson wrote Blood Justice, about a serial killer from Flint who stalked and sliced up women.

His third and most popular book was Darker Than Night, the story of two Detroit-area deer hunters who disappeared in northern Michigan, and a Michigan State Police detective's reopening of the case 20 years later to solve it (turns out they were fed to pigs). The hero of the story is Robert "Bronco" Lesneski, a Michigan State Police lieutenant who was reassigned to the East Tawas post and inherited the then 18-year-old case file. An unassuming guy, Bronco couldn't let go of this unsolved crime, and in his spare time spent years earning the trust of the only witness to the crime, who finally testified against the perps.

The fourth in his library, Afraid of the Dark, was the story of Mark Unger, the Huntington Woods man convicted of killing his wife in northern Michigan.

Now, just in time for summer reading, Henderson brings readers Blood in the Snow, narrating the investigation and trial in the death of Macomb County's Tara Grant, who was murdered by her husband, Stephen. In what was a well-publicized 2007 case, Stephen Grant made tearful public pleas for her return — after having killed her, dismembered her and distributed some of her body parts by sled at Stony Creek Metro Park, all the while lusting after the couple's au pair.

It's the third book about the case but it's also the only one that had police cooperation.

And that makes all the difference. For those metro Detroiters who remember then-Sheriff Mark Hackel's numerous, choreographed news conferences, Henderson's book offers behind-the-scenes insights. He crafts a story of the Grants' marriage, their relations with family members and later, displays how those personalities manifested themselves during trial preparation.

In all, it's a wild ride of a read that's still compelling for local readers who remember only too well the chilling story.

Henderson spoke with Metro Times about his latest book and his true crime writing.

Metro Times:
Do you have a favorite of the five books you've written?

Tom Henderson: I do: Darker Than Night. The evildoers were completely out of a Coen brothers movie. It was Fargo pre-dating Fargo. And there's a great cop in "Bronco" Lesneski. If I could make up people like that, I would be a novelist and make a lot more money. It's hard to say it's a fun book given the circumstances and families' lives being ruined, but it was kind of a fun book to do.

MT: Some of your books show clear guilt for the perpetrators and others are more questionable cases. Are those different in how you approach them?

TH: The ones I enjoy, if that's the right word, are the ones that are obviously seriously defective human beings who are doing bad things to other people and getting caught. Bad people, really seriously bad people, getting caught by good police work and getting put where they belong.

MT: How has the genre of true crime changed in the roughly 12 years you've been in it?

TH:The recession seemed to have hurt books sales a little bit and the whole getting away from print media. People don't seem to have attention spans any more. I think in general there are still big sellers in Tom Clancy and John Grisham and James Patterson. If you're down the food chain a little bit, I think what's happening is it's not that people aren't buying them as much it's that sellers of books aren't ordering them as much. I hope it's just a blip and it will come back.

MT: What are readers looking for in a true crime book?

TH: I used to read them before I started writing them. I think you're looking for a beach read or something to read on an airplane. They're looking for a sense of justice. True crime typically isn't done unless there is something that's really bad to make it book worthy. It also has to be solved. You want to know who the villain is and have an ending. You read it as if you're reading a novel, and you almost don't know how it's going to come out even if you do.

MT: What's the key to the research?

TH:If you can establish some relationship with the attorneys and the lead cop on the case. Getting the cops on board isn't always so easy, cops tend to not necessarily be enamored with reporters.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus