posted on: 3/6/2017
Join the Dover Public Library on Tuesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. for a look at the shocking shooting in Colebrook, New Hampshire, which took place 20 years ago. This year marks the 20th anniversary of that day in August 1997, when a 62-year-old carpenter named Carl Drega murdered four leading citizens in the little town of Colebrook, in Northern New Hampshire.
People all over the state remember being shocked that day. But the news accounts in Time, Life, Newsweek, the New York Times and more only scratched the surface of an event that had a 25-year prelude, the plot twists of a novel on the day itself, and a poignant aftermath that lingers to this day.
Carey has devoted 13 years to researching the incident, and last fall the University Press of New England published the result. "Carey skillfully leads readers up that day, and past it," says Booklist in its review of "In the Evil Day" — "creating a gripping portrait of not just the murderer but also an idyllic time, hurriedly erased by shocking circumstances. Carey's tension-filled report of a small town's terror is portrayed with surprising love, bittersweetness, and hope, resulting in a beautifully written and enthralling true-crime tale."
Aside from its historical and literary interest, this is a program that allows us to see how our attitudes towards gun violence (and stories about such) have changed over the last two decades. And of course it's a story that cuts close to the bone for any New Hampshire town. What happened in Colebrook can just as easily happen elsewhere — unless we remember.
"In the Evil Day" is Carey's fourth book of literary nonfiction, and it was excerpted last summer in Yankee Magazine.
Richard Adams Carey grew up in Connecticut and is a 1973 graduate of Harvard University. He worked odd jobs, taught for 10 years in the Yup'ik Eskimo villages of western Alaska, served on the board and as president of the New Hampshire Writer's Project, and is now on the faculty of the MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction program at Southern New Hampshire University.
His essays, journalism, and short fiction have appeared in Yankee Magazine, Alaska Magazine, Country Journal, New England Monthly, the Boston Globe Magazine, Hunger Mountain, the Massachusetts Review, and many others. He is the author of "Raven's Children: An Alaskan Culture at Twilight" (Houghton Mifflin, 1992), "Against the Tide: The Fate of the New England Fisherman" (Houghton Mifflin, 1999), "The Philosopher Fish: Sturgeon, Caviar, and the Geography of Desire" (Counterpoint, 2005), and "In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town" (University Press of New England, 2015).
"Raven's Children" was honored as a New York Public Library Book To Remember, and "Against the Tide" won the New Hampshire Literary Award for Nonfiction.
The program is free and open to the public. For more information call the Library at 603-516-6050.