Back in 1966, the day before Judy and I were to move to Austin, where I'd be attending grad school at The University of Texas, a guy named Charles Whitman got on top of the 27-story Tower and opened fire on people all over the campus and nearby streets. The event brought The Open Square a brief moment of notoriety, and I went out and found a copy as soon as I read about it. It was a Gold Medal Book, after all. How could I go wrong?
The notoriety stemmed from the fact that in Ford Clark's novel, a college kid named Ted Weekes climbs up into a tower with a magnum rifle and opens fire. That's about where the similarities end, however. Clark's novel is about a lot of other things: a city manager who thinks sex is dirty, hiswife, a cop named Ashton, and the small town held hostage by the gunman. It's a nice picture of a time and a place, the way a lot of Gold Medals are. You've probably never heard of it before. I know I haven't seen it mentioned, or if I have, it's been many years. It's truly a forgotten novel, but it's certainly worth a look if you ever run across it.