the little girl who got away, dani ripper, john lockeBefore changing her name to Dani Ripper, 15-year-old Mindy Renee Whittaker was kidnapped by Colin Tyler Hicks
and held prisoner in his basement. The Little Girl Who Got Away is the story of what happened to her, and how she
managed to escape. The book is graphic in nature. Preliminary reviewers felt it was too dark and the subject matter
offensive and inappropriate.


  1. Maryruth Barksdale says:

    Without having read any of the first book about Dani, it is hard to say if it is “too” graphic. But I have every faith in the world that when edited to John’s, I mean Dani’s satisfaction it will be a hit w/followers (of John Locke). LockeNut

  2. Be *extra* careful how you approach graphic descriptions with an underage character. Sadly, there are many US laws a *fiction* author can crash against; your publisher is saying no to avoid all liability. Depending on described circumstances, even that proposed cover image could prove fatal. -Steve

  3. I’ve voted, but really my poll response is a solid “maybe”. There are many successful books about a young victim who becomes heroine – the Millennium Trilogy comes to mind. Ultimately, the story must serve a purpose – to write horror (okay, a story with truly horrible acts) just for the sake of the horror, doesn’t make a book. I’m sure you’ve told the story well.

  4. John ~ In this book, you are telling the story of an experience I lived. I’m proud to say that not only did I survive,but I thrived and wrote a book that’s been at the top of my genre on Amazon since 2002. I struggled with the same issue: How much should I share with my readers? Would they be offended? Would it be too graphic? In the end, I decided to remain true to the title of my book, “The Truth About Rape” because anything less wouldn’t be … well … the truth. I was rewarded for this decision by an email I received from a reader who wrote saying that she had been prepared to end her suffering until she read what I had experienced and decided that if I could recover from it, she could. Even if she had been the only feedback I’d received, or the only book I’d sold, this would have been enough. I went on to become a therapist and consider it a privlege to be able to help others recover. Good luck with your decision; it’s a personal one, surely and either way, the decision will be the one that’s best for you.

  5. Have you read Jack Ketchum’s ‘The Girl Next Door’? This is an international best-seller and has been turned into a movie. The subject matter is the same if not worse than what you propose. Maybe you need to release this one under a pseudonymn, maybe even consider an indie publisher just to get it on the shelves etc? I would read it.

  6. How’s that traditional publishing world treating you? Same old, same old. Write the book you need to write. Pick up The Lovely Bones and read it. Alice Sebold managed to write an intriguing story filled with terror, sadness, and loss and not get bogged down with the naysayers. I believe a few in traditional publishing gave her a hard time as well. It’s brilliant.

    I’m sure yours is, too.

    Katherine Owen
    Author of Not To Us and Seeing Julia

  7. The scenes do not need to be graphic. Like Hitchcock, it’s the hint of horror that sells, no the gore. Show the consequences of the action and the reader will care about the characters. Eddie Jones

  8. As a rape victim, I probably won’t be able to read it, but every story should be told. I support you moving forward. It’s fiction and it sounds like it shows the spirit of a girl that still remained. It won’t stop me from seeking out what other books you may have. Just that one. 🙂

  9. Really? Is this a tease? If John Locke wrote it, I want to read it. Although if another person had wrote this, I do not think I would buy it, but I never thought I would like a western either. I just downloaded Call Me and it will be read very soon.

  10. Ronald Dahle says:

    Go for it, It is a dark world we live in.

  11. I might not read it having two young daughters, it would be upsetting. I do love your books and creativity and I believe many people with a stronger stomach would be interested to read her story.

  12. I fully understand the concerns of your publisher and others on your business advisory team; they are looking out for your interests as they pertain to your writing. What they may not see from their perspective is that your fan base has a powerful tool at their disposal. It is called “Freedom of Choice”. Yes we still have that here, who knew? As long as your plot description is sufficiently honest, your fans will then choose to either purchase the book or skip over it due to it’s disturbing, yet very real, content.

    So I say put it out there. I would be incredibly disappointed if readers judged you by the words that you write in telling a story. I also can not believe that any person who has even a moment’s conversation with you would believe you capable of any heinous act. Again my opinion.

    Tragically horrific acts are played out every day in our newspapers and the evening news and many would choose NOT to also read about the subject matter further but a story which portrays survival and fortitude can still warm the heart with hope.

    That’s all folks.

  13. Jacqueline Armstrong says:

    I think the important aspect of a book like this might be that the little girl survived, and what she survived, and that she got away. This would move the book from just talking about the dark graphic details of her imprisonment to one of strength and survival particularly in that off someone so young as a child. Often people live in difficult circumstances that are not pleasant but when they read even in fiction of people particularly a child’s strength in the face of the most difficult circumstances it can bring hope and inspiration to others.

  14. You could always “refer” to her kidnapping as back story in future novels. That way you still can reveal her history and not overwhelm your audience with to much overload on the subject matter.

  15. John, I can’t vote for two reasons.

    First reason: the way the “no” response is phrased, it’s a loaded question, so it will push readers in the direction of a “yes” response. Of course no subject is off limits. Remember “Lolita”? That was 50 years ago and it was published, became a classic and was made into a movie. So if your usual readers and your agent are recommending against publication of this manuscript, as a professional writer you may want to ask yourself why they are reacting this way. Where have you gone too far or where have you handled what is clearly delicate subject matter in a way that seems gratuitous or prurient or titillating? So the question might be: Would you read a book about this subject? That’s a straightforward question that will tell you where your readers fall.

    The second reason I can’t vote is that I haven’t read the manuscript so I can’t begin to tell you whether it is offensive or inappropriate. I can tell you that I’m a writing coach for a man who has written a book about child trafficking. It’s graphic and it’s very hard to read in places. And working together we were able to discern where the graphic nature of the content went too far, where it skirted awfully close to being too graphic in dealing with very sensitive subject matter. His book is going into production now. I think he managed to walk the fine line. And it is a fine line.

    Will be interested to see how this plays out, John.

  16. while I am certain the book could be graphic; Locke always finds an approach for his readers that make things turn out ok in the end. my vote, Dani should publish it…….

  17. Wayne Clark says:

    While I love your work I would not be entertained by a dark novel with graphic details of the abduction of a young girl. I like the Donavan action and humor.

  18. Your women are always different and most interesting. A critical element of the mystic of these women is how/why they developed into the character they are. Please give us the story on Dani as unsavory as it may be. Now is not the time to start being censored by your critics.

  19. John, I have found your other books interesting. They are obviously a completely different genre and I realize that. Will I enjoy this new one? I don’t know, but I am purchasing it to find out. And then I MAY decide to buy the 2nd. I am an adult and can handle mature content. If it’s too edgy, I will simply choose not to buy another of that genre. It would not keep me from buying the Creed or western series.

  20. For me it is all about the characters. If I care about them or wonder what is happening to them when I’m not reading, I know I have a good story on my hands.

  21. Scott Fedale says:

    Reality isn’t always neat or pretty. I’ve a recent fan but have already read six of your books. And I have every confidence that you’ll handle this very touchy topic in a manner that enables the reader to be immersed in the topic in a way that will leave the maximum impact.

  22. I have read two of John’s Donovan Creed series and the one thing I’ve learned to rely on is John’s implicit morality underlying his gritty, grainy tales. In this proposed novel, what we know at the outset (from the title) is that Dani got away. This undergirds her toughness and intelligence and yet we are pretty sure there will be in her a tender; wounded spot in the adult Dani that will be part of what drives her.
    My only concern is — from the artistic standpoint — whether the novels of the grown-up Dani Ripper might have a more dynamic core with the young Dani’s tragic life experience told in back story. Personally, I think they will.

  23. A.D. Jamieson says:

    When subject matter gets too close to a person’s shadow self, they can’t deal with it and avoid it at all costs. Their loss. They fail to grow by shutting out what they find reprehensible…( inTHEIR perception.)

  24. Sometimes events left to the imagination are more powerful than graphic descriptions. I like books that have the capacity for moving my imagination into places that the author never fully describes, but instead, alludes to, hints at, suggests and implies. It brings more reader participation, but is much harder to get right as an author. Stretch yourself by moving away from the pornographer’s approach of showing everything and engaging your audience’s participation in writing the events with you in their minds.

  25. To complex for a yes/no vote for me John. I actually think it might make Dani more interesting to have her backstory told in the rest of the series.
    And not knowing the exact content of “Little Girl”, I fear that you could be perceived as, somewhat like CSI:SVU, catering to both the public’s lust for the lurid.
    I think you take the higher ground and get lots of room for psychological exploration into victim trauma by having her have flashbacks, be in therapy, helping others and having her captivity and rape be ever-present in the background.

  26. If an author listens to an advisory or critique group, or to his or her agent, or a publisher, that author is not listening to his/her own heart. When you feel deeply about a subject, and write about it, you are allowing people to examine their own feelings. That is how great literature is created. No subject should be off-limits in my opinion. I have run into the same situation as you, John, and, wisely, ignored the advice and sold many books and gained even more readers because of my honesty and boldness. Stick to your own desires and write the best novel you can about anything in the world.
    Jory Sherman

  27. Publish it, I am writing a memoir and I showed a friend a part that is very controversial, an exposé of sorts, though given as opinion, but based on personal experience and gathering of facts, about someone universally liked. They said, why would you want to say such things? I replied, because it’s the truth. Not a popular truth, but a truth none the less. Even though your work is a fictionalised version, I for one would find it fascinating. If you manage to make fiction stranger than fact, your’re on a winner I feel. If you love the book, that’s all that matters at the end of the day. People make the choice to read or not.

  28. The trouble with asking us blog subscribers to give an opinion regarding this book is that we have not read any part of it. Are you simply looking for a back-patting and a yeah! Go for it, John!? You must ask yourself what is the point of your advisory council if you then do not take their advice, but want others to give their opinion who are completely ignorant of the contents? It seems to me you are simply looking for a thumbs-up or why else have your survey.
    You need to let more people read the story, or at least a part of it. You could leave a chapter or whatever of the story on your blog for others to read and then they can give an opinion; a chapter where the graphic creepiness is high. Then let them make up their minds. But be careful! Will people with a reasonable sense of judgment critique it?
    A further point. You want to push the envelope, you want something cutting edge, that’s fine. But you must ask yourself whether any part of your story is sensational rather than an integral part to the story. Sometimes a writer makes the mistake of doing one while thinking they are doing the other. What is it that makes yours creepy while the other stories on the same subject are not? I assume they are not.
    A final point. Sometimes people are very very set in their heads about things and possibly here it is simply that they cannot accept a story about a 15-year-old under the circumstances of the story. And sometimes a writer cannot see a simple way out of things because their nose is so close to the story. Would it really hurt the story to add a few more years onto her age? Would that not work just as well? And would that not change the perspective completely? Sometimes you have to stoop to conquer.

  29. “You can please some of the people some of the time… ” well, you know the way that goes. If you write your story to please everyone and dilute the plot with timidity you’ll have a weaker story. Why not write it with gusto and put a warning label on it for the people who can’t face reality. We always have the power of choice… Yes?

  30. It’s funny the movie industry has no problems with “offensive” stories – look at Hannibal stripping someone’s skin for a disguise. With a fair warning on the cover I don’t see why not. It will probably be a sensational hit, controversy will make others read it.

  31. With the way things are today and with the stories that have been out in the last several months about kids missing or being killed by parents or rapists, I feel it’s enough. Personally, I wouldn’t buy this book.


  32. Charles van Ouwerkerk says:

    It is essential that the retrospective book ‘The little girl who got away’ is published. Of course it is hard to say if the content is offensive, but like watching television you don’t have to watch a specific programme or read a specific book. Beforehand you also know what you’re getting into. And knowing your style of writing it really is essential for the series to come and develop.

    Keep up your very good work . Lots of success.Love your books.

  33. John, you have achieved a great deal of success with your Donovan Creed and Emmett Cowboy books – this is what your fans want to read – you have wit and humour and let’s face it, that has what has made you a popular author – along with the bizarre storylines as well!! There is nothing wrong with moving on and writing something different – I am sure the two “Dani” books are great – but personally I would feel you would be better placed keeping the momentum going with Donovan and his daughter than entering a territory which is always perceived as being “sensitive”.
    Stick with what has brought you success, and let’s get it on with Donovan and his daughter’s next adventure.
    Best regards

  34. One out of three girls (I am one of them) and one out of seven boys suffer incestuous assaults growing up. I am an editor, proud of my professionalism, but there are things I will never be able to handle. I don’t need the nightmares.
    Wendy Reis

  35. John,

    I would not read this book. The world is bad enough as it is without reading a story about a young girl going through this sort of ordeal.

    I’m a new reader of your books. I plan on buying more of them but I won’t buy the one about the 15 year old girl.


  36. Have you ever read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers? It was on the Best Seller’s list for a while. It’s about a girl that is sold into prostitution at the age of 5 and follows her through the rape and abuse of childhood until she finally escapes when she’s about 17 years old. It’s graphic at times and heart wrenching, but it is an amazing story and readers loved it! If the Dani Ripper story is about overcoming such things, I think readers will like it – even if it is a bit dark. Sometimes, the skeletons in our closets make us who we are and knowing them helps people understand us better. That’s just my opinion, though. Good luck and God bless!

  37. John to me and many others you’re a champion of the people. You’ve very generously shared your successful writing and publishing tips with millions and we all love you for it. However, I have to tell you, the only book I would ever buy about child endangerment would be non-fiction.
    I think if you publish this book you will have more enemies than friends and more opposers than supporters. Parents of missing children will be upset by it, children’s charities will be outraged and you will have a whole new following of undesirable people.
    Just my opinion, of course! Good luck with whatever decision you make. I know you have a big heart and it would never be your intention to cause people any distress.

  38. Thomas Linehan says:

    Nothing is too taboo. I like the way that you write and will read it no matter what it’s about. I’m interested in the way that you spin it.

  39. Chris Sherrill says:

    I’ll be keeping up with your pole. I’m struggling with a similar issue with a story I started many years ago and keep tabling for the reasons your council stated. One friend read the first chapter and refused to continue. He said he didn’t want to be reminded of such. Set in Mexico in the 60s, ‘Battered Angels’ is about a child sold into sexual slavery and prostitution and how she gains her freedom. There are no graphic depictions but the reader knows what’s going on. I’m trying to grow a fan base, and I wonder if by releasing the book I’ll be shooting myself in the foot.

  40. If the story is in you, it’s got to come out. Publish the book and let the chips fall where they may.

  41. Gary Miller says:

    If you let people know that the book is graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some, then it is up to the individual to decide if they want to read it.

  42. Pamela Taylor says:

    Yes, a controversial subject but should we bury our heads in the sand? I have not read any of the books written by those that have escaped capture. Maybe knowing that this is fiction makes it feel a bit safer to take in. Bad things happen and will continue to happen and stories will be written about them (I’m sure there’s already one in the works about the Penn State scandal). I’m just grateful that Dani was able to escape – unlike the girl in The Lovely Bones.

  43. I read for two reasons, because I want to be entertained and because I want to see words put together in a great way. I have dropped several books that were too disturbing and dark. One example is “The Child Thief” which is a highly acclaimed work. Real histories are compelling because we can identify with a living person. To create those same situations in fiction does not appeal to me. The only ones I can see choosing such tales would be those with vicarious interest in behaving that way. Perhaps Stephen King makes it work only because he uses the paranormal to give us some distance – but I no longer read him either.

  44. Asa Dickinson says:

    First I think you are doing the right thing with this poll. I will buy the book but will probably not read it right away. My personal life is such that I’m not ready for a dark book right now. But I want to have it to read when I am ready.
    That being said, I strongly oppose censorship of any kind. If you, the father (author), think this adds to the character and saga of Dani, then it should be released!
    Asa Dickinson

  45. This doesn’t seem like a series I will read.If it is the quality of his other work I predict it will find a loyal audience. I will certainly continue to read his other series.

  46. jenelle glanz says:

    It may be too graphic for some, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be published! If it sounds too graphic for me, I wont read it! I love your books, John! Jenelle

  47. As a writer myself, I would suggest that John follow his instincts. After this many books, surely they’re worth something.
    John Scherber

  48. Cindy LaFond says:

    I will read any of your series if they are as hard to put down as your Donovan Creed & Emmett/Gentry series. Please, please, PLEASE keep those going. Good Luck with whatever decision you make!

  49. All stories should be told. However, I, naturally, reserve the right not to read it and not to think poorly of the writer for having told a story.

  50. skip finley says:

    Sure some folks might like it–I’m not one of those. Would love some more Donovan Creed books though.

  51. John. As a reader of all genre of books, I’ve figured out that most graphic or violent scenes may be better if left to the reader’s imaginations. I just spent good money on a novel about the “violent old west” that was newly released and found it was page after page after page of violent scenes.I threw it away. What? Did the author not think I got the message? I was offended for two reasons:graphic or violent scenes are inappropriate if they are there to pique the reader’s sexual or violent fantasies and don’t further the story, and graphic or violent scenes are offensive if the writer appears to be “getting off” on his own self-indulgent fantasies. You tread the line on your novels so far. Just remember that sometimes less is more.

  52. I was hoping there would be a place to leave my opinion. One book on the subject works for me. It gives you info needed for background leading to the rest. Your email made me think of Criminal Minds a show I used to adore but have recently found them too dark and down right scary to watch. My thought on that is that the show is just constantly dark, darker and darkest. Your series won’t be like that. Will it?

  53. not my cup of tea

  54. Why not just move everything up a few years and make her 18. Perhaps she was ubducted at her 18th birthday party. With kids sexting nude photos of themselves underage, anyone who gets one is in possession of child porn.
    I personally think it would have been OK 15 or so years ago, but the awareness of child porn now, in my opinion, makes it a bad idea as originally concieved. I live in a very nice neighborhood and there are small children who live there as well. I am 65 and often I see them walking thier dog or playing and I want to wave or talk to them just to say hello and be “neighborly” as my mothere used to call it, but I keep going because someone might see it and think I am a child molester.
    Have you also condidered that the book itself might excite child molesters and perhaps even give them some ideas? Would the book be considered kiddy porn? Probably not according to the first ammendment, but it may damage your reputation. In several of your books you have eluded to sexual contact but never actually described it in detail.
    If you decide to publish it, why does it have to be graphic? You are a good enough writer to lead the reader to see between the lines. Perhaps that is an integral part of the story, but that is where I see the problem. As they say, the devil is in the details, which I think is the situation here. Why is the story better if she is 15 as opposed to 18 or 19?
    There are those of us who will buy and read whatever you publish but should it be purchased and read by someone who is not familiar with your entire body of work, I can see where they might get the wrong impression and the LAST thing you need is for it to go viral that you are a child molester or that you condone it.
    Thats just my opinion and I could be wrong… quote Dennis Miller.

  55. John, I have no doubt that it would be a ‘best seller’ but at what cost?
    If just one sick person read it and got excited over the graphic descriptions in your writing – great harm could come from it. I believe if
    you publish it with the explicit graphic wording, leanness will come to you and possible others, perhaps some child. Please don’t publish as you have it written. My best to you and your family. Regards, Lois

  56. Kathryn Maeglin says:

    I don’t think any subjects should be off-limits, but I voted no simply because I wouldn’t want to read it. However, I would defend to the death your right to publish whatever you want to publish.

  57. Ned Jordan says:

    The only way to to grow is by change. A very successful musician has been able to continue to share his art by constant change. True he lost some fans along the way but what really mattered in the in he is true to himself. I am speaking of Neil Young. One needs to take risks to feel complete. Publish the book and find who yur true fans are.

  58. It is my understanding that John has children as I do, and is writing a story not to be sick but to address a topic which is very valid in our world. I hope that all of John’s readers are adult enough to deal with it! More power to you John!!

  59. I would imagine that you gave consideration to making your character not 15, but 17 or 18 to eliminate at least part of people’s objections to it. I have never been one for censorship, so my opinion would be to put a sufficiently strong warning in front of it, offer a refund policy and let people make up their own mind if they want to read it.

  60. JIm Wagner says:

    Not having read any of The Little Girl Who Got Away it would be purely prejudicial to say whether it should or should not be published. But whether or not it should be published is not really the question. Would I buy a copy and by extension would enough people buy it to be worth the effort to publish it?

    From the poll teasers it sounds like it involves graphic underage rape, bondage and abuse, essentially kiddie porn. As such it would definitely not be of any interest to me.

    In “How I Sold…..” you pointed out your writing and marketing strategy
    involved writing for OOU. Not sure I’m OOY based on this book’s description.

  61. KATHLEEN Minnesota says:

    I know you’re probably set on a two-book series; however, perhaps you could combine the two so that what she becomes later in life has her history by telling it in flashbacks. I think most people want to read the story, but an entire book about what goes on in that basement might be a bit much in one sitting. As a woman who has experienced this very thing, I can tell you that knowing this poor girl makes something of her life later would negate the horrors of the basement.

  62. Sounds very much like J.A. Konrath’s situation when he was deciding whether or not to publish “Afraid”, and I’d say that turned out well enough. Give folks fair warning, and let them decide to read or not.

  63. Peter Sowatskey/Kindle says,
    I’m sure the story is gripping. Also, I’m sure the subject should be examined in minute detail. But, the shock value vs the authors image is not a financial plus.
    I mentioned a patrol I was on–Army Military Police–where we found a soldier hanging in a stairwell in Dachau, West Germany, 1960; and faces went tight and eyes glazed over. The people I was with weren’t faint of heart types. People generally like their shocks to come through a filter, like a clinical psych person who translates reality to abstract verbage.
    If you can’t picture yourself walking in the herion’s shoes there’s no affinity, and consequently no possibility of a shared reality.
    But that’s only me

  64. I buy holocaust books, but I rarely read them. I want to support people in their healing process. Real kidnap victims likewise have a healing process that may limit their ability to work while they heal. I understand why they tell their stories. We all have horrid imaginations about what these victims have endured. This is why we can sympathize with their healing process. I find it painful to deal with the real situations. I will not subject myself to the pain of a fictional person’s ordeal. Write what you want. Publish what you want. Just saying — I won’t buy it.

  65. Pat Fisher says:

    Let’s face it. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. The inspiring thing is how people survive and surpass the bad things that happen. No rain, no rainbow.

  66. Change her age. Then, it works. May have to change other details, but much less offensive.

  67. Chad Swayden says:

    Hello. Congratulations on writing a novel, especially one with difficult subject matter. Personally, I’m not in favor of publishing it. Maybe it’s because I have children and reading a story where they get hurt, I can’t do it. And maybe it’s also of the fact that violence or excessive violence is simply not needed to give chills to your readers. I think that giving the readers just enough and then allowing our imaginations to take over is more powerful than shocking us.
    I’m a writer, venturing out in the self publishing world and I appreciate you putting yourself out there. If your reading council is cautioning you, maybe there’s something there. You let them read the story for a reason…

  68. Pamela Morrison says:

    The Lovely Bones, graphic, and huge bestseller as well as a major motion picture. Timing of book could be tricky with Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Penn State all in the news.

  69. I agree, without reading it, it’s a blind vote, When i started reading Pillars of the Earth I almost put it down. I’m glad I made it through.

    I really enjoy your writing style and edginess, I’d just hate to see you get slammed, but “you play the game, you takes your chances” eh? I voted yes.

  70. I wish you had an Undecided button to vote. I’m really torn. The storyline is great but, as a woman, there are a couple things I CANNOT deal with–this particular taboo and physical abuse. If the actual details were buried and blurred in a cloud of euphemisms, I still don’t think I could block the visual in my mind. I have yet to see/read Silence of the Lambs for that very reason. Some events are just too stark. Still . . . intrigued by the survivor tale and her story of courage and growth.

  71. Candy Daoust says:

    I totally agree! Anything Mr. Locke puts out, in my opinion, is a hit!

  72. I write non-fiction about incest and other unpalatable topics(see Emotional Health For Emotional Wealth) but I think this work has a place. That’s why I said yes. I hate the world closing their eyes to the bad things that happen to some people.

    My only concern would be if it attracted any copycat kind of behaviour.

  73. I think that a book like this needs fair warning. But I think the reason many don’t want to see it is because it hits the major fear button for many people, especially parents.
    We all know people like this are out there preying on children, but do we want to read what they do, even if the heroine survived on her wits and overcame the situation?
    But since I am an author I understand you have a story you want to tell and that’s powerful because you don’t want to edit your creative process. Its a sticky wicket and my gut says, it might be better if it’s done in flashbacks so that the whole book is not the reader stuck in the basement with this poor girl.

  74. You know, I believe you need TWO versions. A made-for-Disney one for wimps like me that has the great storyline and none of the gory and stuck-in-your-brain-forever details and then one for mature adults that can handle the vividness. There. Problem solved. And I get to find out how the story goes!

  75. Let’s see. Your Donovan Creed novels feature a stone-cold government assassin that likes to test weapons on himself, Kidnaps and murders people as a social experiment and performs “rub-outs” for the mob judt to keep in practice. Emmett Love is a virtuous gun slinger that runs a brothel and is best friends with a crippled assassin and a witch. You always manage to put a positive light on your very flawed characters. I doubt you’ll let us down with this new venture.

  76. Mark Nagorka says:

    John, I think subject content is a very personal thing. While I voted that I would want to read the book, my wife would probably choose not to, and we are both avid readers of yours.

  77. The subject matter is important because it is very real. In my mind, whether or not this book is important to be published has more to do with any message of hope….what would Dani have done differently? What sparked her escape? What made her escape possible? If the book cannot offer answers to these questions then perhaps it is just horror for entertainment.

  78. Love your stories. Keep writing.

  79. First of all, I love all your books! You are such a gifted writer. I love the journey, and the twists your books take.
    You may actually have a powerful tool here in this new book. You have the power to help other victims who may be in the same situation outsmart their captor, and potentially save their own lives. Understanding what goes on in Dani’s head, and how she outsmarts her attacker, is important information that would be beneficial to anyone who is ever in this situation. . I strongly recommend publishing this book, not only as a story, but as a tool.

  80. I don’t see why this is any different than very explicit movies. people will see what they want and will read what they want. If it is offensive to some then they have the option to skip this particular book. I have my favorite actors yet sometimes I choose to avoid a certain movie if I think it won’t set right with me. John, you are a story teller and if this is a story you want to tell, then tell it. This is the problem I have with literary agents getting int he way of authors and publishers. The entire business is subjective and good works can be thrown into the slush pile simply because it’s not to the liking of the agent. I say let the individual decide what they wish to read.

  81. As a reader I can take the whole truth in any story. I love twists and turns and backgrounds with lots of details.However consider that there are real killers out there who sometimes for kicks use author’s detailed descriptions to figure out more ways to torture their helpless victims. Although you as an author are not responsible for their insane actions, THAT would still be a hard one to live with. Just trying to see it from all sides. Best of luck. That’s a rough spot to be in.

  82. John, I’m having a hard time voting yes or no. I don’t think it’s that black and white. I’m in a critique group and if three or more people tell me something about my books, I believe them and address their concerns. So if a number of people have told you your book is too graphic I would listen. However, having said that, it seems to me I’ve read fiction books about girls who have been kidnapped (I thought one of them may have been written by my friend Carol Davis Luce, but I can’t remember for sure). I don’t remember those books going into graphic detail, though. So perhaps instead of being too graphic you could hint at things. Or, perhaps if she gets away before he does anything sexual to her it wouldn’t be so bad. One caution though: You’ve said your books are meant to be fun and your readers are looking for that fun element–this book doesn’t seem like it would have that fun element and perhaps that alone would turn off your fans.

  83. John, I love your writing but I don’t think that this subject matter is going to serve you. Personally, it digs into a place that is just too brutal. I love knowing she got away and was a clever survivor, but we just had that huge expose of the young woman who lived through this and that was enough for me personally to hear of. Thanks for asking us. Phyllis aka cravinLOCKE

  84. Doris Campagna says:

    Without actually seeing a few paragraphs or pages, I’m unable to vote yes or no. In my opinion, it is possible to write about sexual or physical abuse (even of a minor) as long as the writer simply and briefly relates what events occurred. But if the writer lingers on the intimate details of the abuse, the reader will perceive it as inappropriately lascivious. As writers, we want to bring every scene alive for the reader, but judging from the negative responses you’ve received, I’d say you did a little too much “showing”, and not enough “telling”.
    I hope you do eventually publish The Little Girl Who Got Away. I’m working my way through the Creed books (just finished Now and Then) and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. I also have the two Westerns.

  85. I was too young to see the Sean Connery ‘Bond’ movies in the theaters. They were kind of like forbidden fruit. When they eventually came to TV I was older and still anxious to see the popular hero. My first impression was: this guy is cold, a little unfeeling. But I eventually saw that he tried to do the right thing and I grew to love the Bond character. My relationship with the Donovan Creed character is similar even as John upped the ante on Bond. He’s probably upped the ante on Dani too and even though I’m sure he’d do justice to the sensitive topic I probably wouldn’t get past the opening. Just a personal observation. I befriended a fellow author on a book tour stop who wrote a nonfiction account of his abusive childhood. Popular book but I just couldn’t read it.

  86. Scott Phillips says:

    John, your books consistently push the envelope and that’s why we love reading them. Insert a warning to the prospective reader that some may find the content disturbing. Let the reader decide whether or not to purchase the book. We can’t let the so called “politically correct” control what you choose to write and what we choose to read.

  87. I vote yes, because there’s always room for the “real” story. This is life and bad things happen. Who knows, a book like this could help others that have been there and been through that, or something similar, grow and come to terms, become something.

    Cheral (D.C.White)

  88. My concern is that this book will become incredibly popular not only with John’s regular OOU’s, but it will gain a new readership in the community of individuals who commit the crimes of kidnapping of young girls, rape, molestation, and murder (though obviously the murder, if attempted, isn’t successful in this story). Those kinds of twisted sickos will get off on it and it will fan the flames of their horrible desires. My opinion … that’s what you wanted, right John?

  89. I don’t like reading books as you describe this one, but I have to vote yes. To vote no would smack of censorship and that I could not condone.

  90. I would have to see the content to make a vote/judgement call on the book. Think of all the stories they show on TV on shows that we have all watched. I honestly believe the book could get the point across without being too graphic in the details. Think back to something simple as when a death scene on tv is faded to black but then the body is found by the police.

    That is just my opinion on the subject.

  91. No matter how horible the treatment of Dani, it will not be fiction. It will have happened to a child victim. Not what twisted murderous minds need. Abolutely no.

  92. Girl with dragon tattoo’ hunger games come to mind and I loved them. I have been reading a lot of serial killing books lately . Bring it on!!!! Wayne

    I have missed your words.

  93. Well, I’m still trying to decide. I just bought the book Call Me today and I am a huge John Locke fan but……that doesn’t mean I should automatically vote Yes. The subject matter Definitely Does disturb me. But at the same time I know after reading the book Call Me, I will want to know her story and I trust John Locke will have written the book as well as all his other books. I have read other books with graphic content that I didn’t realize was in them but was important to the storyline

  94. James Burgess says:

    Perhaps your advisers etc. never read J.D.Robb’s(Nora Roberts) series about Eve Dallas,a NY homicide Lt.. A very successful series of books.

  95. Bill Steinberger says:

    I love all of John’ books. Here is my concern; since all of your books are very graphic and specific (which I love) if this is in the same genre, I’m afraid of the voyeuristic bent that some readers may be into for the wrong reasons. I have experience with a young family member that makes this very personal so maybe I’m not the most objective, but this subject is fraught with many dangers. Good fiction is one thing, pedophilia and fictionalization of it it is another.

  96. Do it. No one would ever have heard of the excellent Vladimir Nabokov if he hadn’t published Lolita, which his wife prevented him from burning.

  97. Meghan Rey says:

    Having a 12 year old daughter I am not sure I can read this because this is my biggest fear. Would I pick it up and start reading it? More then likely yes because I Iove John Locke’s work. Would I finish reading it? I am not sure. I say Publish it for those people that want to read it they will, for those that don’t won’t

  98. If you write it, I want to read it…..nuff said!

  99. Dear John,

    First thanks for your ebook to writers–purchased, inhaled, found it most helpful!

    Now, my opinion on your LITTLE GIRL WHO GOT AWAY is not so much that “such things stories should never be written” but that who tells the story makes a difference. I find the book problematic for 2 reasons (neither of which is in your voting ballot):

    (1) By having the book be “By Dani Ripper” you are taking on the identity not of an adult female with a traumatic past, but of a raped adolescent who tells the story presumably in real time.

    (2) Yeah, I get an “Ick factor” response from the subject matter, and I have to say I didn’t read LOVELY IN HER BONES because it’s not a subject matter I’ll read about. But the author of that book was a woman who had written about an actual rape she suffered before she wrote a novel about a murdered teen. I think your problem is that as an adult male taking on the voice of a female victim, you are not so much telling a story that shouldn’t be told, as performing a questionable impersonation.

    I’m going to shut up before I start talking about other impersonations of damaged teens that went wrong (JT Leroy anyone)?

    Maybe you can pull it off, maybe you will actually gain readers from the controversial nature of the subject matter. But, speaking as an admirer of your accomplishments, I have to honestly say I would not admire this particular one.

    With a sincere Write On,

    Lynne Murray

  100. G. Scherphorn says:

    Dear John,

    There are countries in the world where people are killed for even reading sexually explicit stories about anyone under legal age.

    (Unfortunately, the world is full of pedophiles who get off on such stories and send them to the websites that specialize in sex stories. But even most of them, won’t take a story if any character is below the age of eighteen.)

    Human trafficking is another big problem–these monsters feed off of children who are forced into prostitution and drug use.

    You say you write to “entertain” your readers. The question? Who
    do you wish to entertain? And how do you want to accomplish this?

    The words graphic and fifteen years old put together greatly concern me, especially if this story is to provide entertainment. If you feel it is a story you must tell, leave the graphic details out of the story when the girl is only fifteen years old.

    My advice? Change the girls age to eighteen. This should eliminate the problems entirely. Still proceed with caution. I think your cautious approach is as good as it is wise.



    John, if you want me to do a quick rough edit, let me know. I have ghost edited a lot of stories with sexual content and still kept the author’s story intact. You can do this anonymously by contacting me
    at Velvet9. Once you bring the site up, type in Gigi into “search” and that will bring me up. I am grammargirl9. There is of course no charge either for joining V9 or for anything I might be able to do for you.

  101. II haven’t read the first book yet either, but I do not believe that with the past that she had, Dani’s story of escape can be avoided.Go for it!

  102. JW Cleland says:

    There is something frightening about the notion that a topic should be taboo for writers. Dialogue – even offensive dialogue – is important to understanding, and no one will be required to read it. Besides, I expect you’re savvy enough not to kill your career just to be colorful.

  103. J.P. Smith says:

    I agree that this could be viewed as a controversial topic but at the same time it is also a work of fiction. With all of the “stories” in the media today many of which are censored of the details and real truth, why not give the readers an uncut version of an imagined world and let them decide for themselves if they want to read it or not. By publishing a story where the protoganist is able to not only escape but also move past these horrors, it is also quite possible that this could actually have a postive effect on someone who has experienced a similar fate however tragic and felt isolated or afraid to share their own emotions regarding the painful memories.
    Todays society is scared of the world that they cannot imagine and there is a way to paint a picture of words in black and white that cannot be captured in mainstream media and because of this once it has been written many tend to believe that it is the truth and forget that this is only the work of one persons creative thinking and ability to express the unimaginable.

  104. John, this is a touchy and scary topic. Even as I was reading the premise my stomach was knotting up. The topic is a nightmare scenario for women and mothers. I believe I could enjoy the story and would enthusiastically cheer the heroine’s courage and eventual escape, but am quite concerned about the level of detail regarding her captivity. If this is handled well it could be a great book. BTW, I have not read any of your previous fiction books but did read your “How to” book for writers after receiving a recommendation from a friend.

  105. I definitely think that the book should be released. Writers should write to open people’s minds and not adhere to the so-called acceptable “norms.” Stephen Kind wrote very graphic novels. I think you should go for it and release.

  106. Three seconds… Name the most suspenseful movie scene of all time. The scene from Psycho (yeah, that one). Did we see Janet Leigh being stabbed? No.

    A truth that many modern writers seem to have forgotten is that the reader’s imagination is way better that anything they can write. A note to John Locke: Do this, and a hunt for clues to Dani’s past will devolve into JASS (just another slasher story). Remember your fan base — 50+, intelligent, professional, men and women with children, who want to be entertained. I hate censorship, but sensationalism pandering to the purulent becomes tedious and boring.

    Great title, by the way.

  107. jim spencer says:

    Life is often hard and more than often unfair. The individuals that read my works read to enjoy – to have fun. I would buy the book because I like his style. I might not finish the book if it is to horrific.
    Thanks – Jim

  108. Tuff Gartin says:

    My take on the 2nd book is that I think it is OK to write about disturbing matters, but I think you have to be careful how graphic you get. There’s a gray line there, that if crossed, becomes almost revolting and possibly nauseating, depending on the detail. I’m also a big Dean Koontz fan, and many of his books have dealt with some subjects that could be disturbing. But, instead of going into all the graphic details, he flirted along that gray line – giving you just enough info to know that bad things happened, without getting into the very specific details. For me personally, that line gets crossed if you start writing about graphic details that are sexual in nature. Too much of that starts becoming repulsive to me, and therefore keeps me from enjoying the book as a whole. John, you’re a great writer, and I have all the confidence in the world you’ll figure out that perfect combination of just how much to say in your book – enough to tell your story and get out the things you want to portray, but not so much as to be too offensive. You know as well as anyone that you can’t make everyone happy, and you are already used to dealing with the “risky”, so you’ve dealt with gray lines before. But this subject matter could be a “gray line on steroids” so to speak. It really depends upon just how graphic this novel is and what the subject matters are. Worst case – if you feel the book needs to keep the graphic detail currently in there – just market it as such, and let your faithful readers know that you are aware of the controversy this book may cause, and that the graphic nature of this book could turn some readers off, and yada yada yada…you are well on your way to getting that message out now with this poll. That way, your readers can decide if they want to delve into this latest work or not.

    Keep up the good work!


  109. John, I used a writing technique to get around this delicate situation in my eBook The Impetuous Army Brat. Mindy Renee’s story should be told. When it is, I’ll read it. I had my 16-year-old protagonist, Tammy Martin relate her intimate story of pregnancy to a new friend after she’d moved to another country. This author wanted psychic distance in revealing the details of Tammy’s sexual encounter. Rather than write active scenes as Mindy’s events unfold, distance yourself and let Mindy express her views in dialogue (or second-hand) of what happened. She will be able to put her own spin on this emotional time in her life. I think this technique gets the author off the hook when dealing with sexual events involving a child. John, thanks for the help I’ve gotten from you. /Paul D Bose

  110. Hi John, hope you are well. I’m a Police Officer up in the Pacific Northwest and have seen the horrific side of life, especially how victims suffer. Anytime a book which has a protagonist who empowers themselves to reach deep down and find that inner strength and courage to fight back and survive a terrible situation should be published. The subject matter may be too graphic for some, but readers should be focused on this strong young adult character who finds what it takes to survive. I hope that my children would do the same.

  111. You’ve said give your readers what they want. Is this what they want? Do we want to read about a young fifteen year old girl being kidnapped and God knows whats being done to her? How much of it can we stand to sit through? Is it a book more for you or for your readers? It goes beyond entertainment for me.

  112. John, I think that your true fans and people who loyally read your books would still read this book. I think some stories need to be told even if it’s fictional, I’m sure the things that happened to her in this book actually happen to kids out there, unfortunately. People need to not stick their heads in the sand and realize that there are really mean and nasty people out there and bad things DO happen. I would read your book. Thanks for sharing and caring enough about your fan base to send out this request.

  113. Censorship is never a good idea. Say what your instincts tell you to say. No book will satisfy everyone and it’s time we stopped living in a fictional world where taboos rule. If people want to hide from the real world, they can do it anytime they choose.

  114. I think as long as you focus on the victim’s POV, her courage, and her triumphant escape, it would be a great read. And, with your sequels, it shows what a woman can become even after such horrific events.

    Yes, it may offend some people (but all books do in some way). But, like it or not, this sort of thing does happen. To some, it may seem offensive and taboo. To others, it may be uplifting to see how Dani copes with her being held prisoner and what kind of woman she becomes.

    I love reading true crime. The subject matter in those novels is dark and twisted and it’s REAL! And, most of the true crime books I’ve read are not by people who write too many books. Adding the fictional aspect would make for a better read and might subdue the fears and disgust. When you know it’s real, you’re easily offended. When it’s fiction, graphic details are part of the norm. (Just don’t name your assailant John…Hehe…People might start asking questions.)

    If certain people think this subject matter may offend them, there’s an easy solution, don’t read it.

    I vote yes.

    (And I promise not to phone the cops to search your basement after reading it 🙂

  115. J. Daniel Marsengill says:

    I really enjoy your books and have many in my family reading them also. I vote that you write what you feel that you should write if you err you err and then move on like the rest of the world. My best life’s lessons are from really, really big goofs I am a retired singer and I faced many decisions like yours many times. We’ve got to grow but we also must entertain. I’m curious why you questioned the advise of your advisory group..These are the folks who care for you the most Be careful with that one. Good luck and best wishes for the holiday season. Daniel Marsengill

  116. sounds like a good time to introduce a nom de plume

  117. Don’t leave me hanging! Read this one in one night, loved the tie in with Donavon Creed 😉

  118. Please do not publish this book. Take my word for it. I have been a fan of yours from the beginning and I have bought every book so far, and am OOU. This is the wrong direction to take. Oh it will sell, and many pedophiles will buy it. Do you really want to provide fodder for pedophiles? Please, please don’t, if for no other reason than out of respect for those of us who have been victims. Thank you.

  119. Robert Griffin Jr. says:

    I enjoyed your book “How I Sold 1 Million Books in 5 Months” and came away with the idea that a major reason for self-publishing is avoiding agents or publishers requesting that you “soften” a character or plot to get published. You are an amazingly successful author. Go with your gut feeling and don’t let people, no matter how well-intended, tell you what to do. (By the way, I loved “Saving Rachel” and can’t wait to start “Follow the Stone.”)

  120. I can read a newspaper and be freaked out. I don’t want to buy a book to get creeped. With kidnappings and rapes in the news every day, it’s a little too close to home for me.

  121. jennifer finnegan says:

    i cant wait to learn how dani freed herself from the pscho who took her.

  122. If it really is some of your best writing, why don’t you publish it under a pseudonym. That way it doesn’t effect your current writing but you still how it does in the market.

  123. Ron Sarasin says:

    I was away for Thanksgiving so I read your second blog first. I wanted you to know I agree with your decision not to publish for all the reasons you stated. Especially the part about not smiling. I think that is the true test. If you are ot smiling, you probably will not like the resulting product.

    Keep smiling!

  124. i am glad that you are not publishing the book, i hate that kind of book . all of the books you have published so far, i have read and loved then all can’t wait for the next one, the price is fantastic love the price for the kindle edition, maybe you can use parts of the book in other books, i’m surre you can fit some of it in i love gentry and emmet please continue to make your books funny amusing and readable for all ages love you too peggy

  125. You’re doing the smart thing asking for feedback.
    I read one of your book and found it to be fun. I would
    never buy a book with this content so that
    would be a completely different niche audience for you.

  126. You should checkout the negative comments on this site and maybe have a rethink.

  127. Whohops. Just read Barry’s comment further down and signed off with his name instead of mine. Apologies for that Barry.


  128. Just curious to see how soon this mildly critical post gets deleted.

    Several readers have asked you not to repeat techniques of a questionable nature to sell more books. When can we expect to see a response from you John?

  129. Well, the bestselling UK book Sugar & Spice (also available in an American version) revolves around a serial kidnapper and abuser of young girls. It’s difficult to read and very disturbing in parts, but it also sheds light on a painful reality that has to be discussed to be understood and fought.

    Sugar & Spice is at the top of the charts in the UK.

  130. Tom jermyn says:

    Dear mr Locke , I had voted yes before I read call me and now that I read it I am even more intrigued to see what happened to dani years ago in that basement. I feel you should leave it up to your fans as wether they want to read the book or not. I bet even those who vote no will still read the book . Either way I enjoy all of your books . Thanks Tom Jermyn
    Long island new york

  131. Barry kemp says:

    John, I believe readers enjoy an emotional experience when reading – why else would they bother if that were not so. Obviously you will never make the descriptions so graphic as to shock or disgust your readers; they aren’t looking for that, they’re prepared to be saddened, heartsore, perhaps angry but in the end they want to feel the heroine’s relief when she escapes, they want to feel hersense of satisfaction when the villain bites the dust and rejoice with her, maybe even shed a few tears with her. Write for your reader John!

  132. The more I have thought about this I think you can intertwine bits and pieces of Dani’s past in the series of books that you will write. Instead of one book on the subject. Like they are doing on the show “Unforgettable” with Poppy Montgomery….

  133. Now that I’ve read Call Me; I would love to know what happened to Dani. Call Me was a great story…couldn’t put it down…love how all your series link together. You are a writing genius! Thank you John!!!!

  134. John,

    Are you now deleting critical reviews and manipulating the votes so that you can point to the number of YES votes as justification to print? You really are a one off..

  135. John: I like this reply. Instead of being graphic, let her have flashbacks. You may have to go back and make some changes here and there to keep the gist of the story, but it sounds like a good one and should not be abandoned.

  136. Dennis: There is always at least one disbeliever in the crowd.

  137. Angelo Radley says:

    Hi John. I think the problem is that it is written by a man. If the book had been written by a woman, like those in the examples given by others above, your critics would not have been as shocked.
    I personally would not read a book on this subject in any case and I voted “no”.

    Maybe you should try a book about a woman that kidnaps and tortures men for revenge…

  138. Renee Musick says:

    John, your a brilliant writer and I have loved every book. I voted yes, I want to read Dani’s story. Please ignore all the nos your fans will still read it I’m ALWAYS going to be one. Cant wait to read more of your books.
    Renee Musick

  139. Dear Renee Musick or should I say Dear Renee ME SICK?

    Have you any idea what you’re saying? Why would anybody want to read about a young 15 year okd girl being abused and mistreated in such a foul and viole nt way?. Who’s sick here? John Locke the writer, or Renee Me Sick for encouragin him to publish it. It’s gpoing to be gross , violent and grotesque.

    For God’s sake Renee get a life. Preferably a NORMAL one.


  140. Barry: Reasonable folks can disagree. John Locke is writing about the real world, not a fantasy where we all suppose everyone is pure and would never hurt a soul. I have had doped up criminals point guns in my face; interviewed serial killers at length; and investigated parents who treated their babies like footballs to be thrown across the room. If there is a horror that has existed in the criminal justice system, I have seen it. And, because of those experiences, I believe I am better able to cope with the world I live in.

    The more exposure to horrors such as that presented in John’s proposed book receive, the better off we will all be. If that young Mormon girl who was kidnapped a few years ago and held as a sex slave had been better educated in how to stand up for herself, she might have escaped when she had the chance. Have you ever asked yourself why she did not do so? There is an answer, and it lies in her own psyche and the education she did not receive.

  141. I think that John should have the freedom and the choice to put out whatever the hell he wants. That is his right, and of course, his decision. The real point that we’re all missing, is do I, or anybody else what to read it? If, your answer is yes, then by all means, read it. I think that there comes a point where your loyalty to an author is challenged because of content, and for me, this story is one of them. It certainly has been controversial, based on all the comments, and maybe that’s what John wanted. But, when it comes downs to what I would like to read about, I think I’ll pass on this one, and find something a bit more entertaining.

  142. Agree. That’ s me done on this.


  143. Obviously I was late to the voting party. I just read the blog post about your decision and your reason for not publishing it. I wanted to come back and say thank you. There are more than enough horrors and crimes against children in the real world. No need to provide predators with abuse porn. Keep smiling; it’s your internal compass. 🙂

  144. julie leisi says:

    Let me know when released

  145. Thomas Linehan says:

    I’ve already commented before, but I was in NY this weekend and I got talking about who John Locke is and the more I thought about it the more I realized what was happening. John you are really going to publish this, but wanted to create a buzz about the book ahead of time? Since you have mastered how to get your book out there to the masses i believe that you are getting ready for 2012 with a bang?
    Like to know if that’s the truth or if I’m way off base.

  146. Thomas: By all means, listen to those voices in your head. If John publishes this book, it will be a variation of what he has written with no graphic scenes. John Locke is what he seems. An honest man. Why would he want to piss off his millions of fans who have told him not to do it.

  147. Thomas Linehan says:

    Honest man yes, but he knows how to get to his readership. My guest is the book isn’t anywhere near as bad as people think. We’ll see what 2012 brings.

  148. Looks that way to me, too. If he is preparing to publish, John is a genius marketer. Of course, I already know that.

  149. John already sent out another blog saying he’s not going to publish the book and that was his final decision. He listed the reasons for not doing so in his post.

  150. The book was great, but I’d really enjoy the whole story.

  151. Norman Sears says:

    Lets hear the whole story. There are far worse books printed!

  152. John – I voted AFTER reading the post that said that you wouldn’t publish it. I admire you for looking at the votes and casting YOUR vote with your gut.

    I wasn’t voting for the “story” I was voting for your tone and your voice. It’s your writing and snarky style that has me hooked. I assumed that you’d lend your wonderful style to tell a story from the voice of a powerful woman.

    I actually thought that you’d gone into a new realm with Dani Ripper – a sort of female version of Donovan Creed. I love how you intertwined the stories and treated the crossover.

    If that’s a direction you are considering – I think I would enjoy that – I’d enjoy everything you write.

  153. John Taylor says:

    Having read all of your books and enjoying them immensely I am sure that you can handle this sensitive material and have it be informative and entertaining. Dani Ripper is a great character and I hope there will be more stories to come. What happened to her needs to be told if your going to develop the story line. – John

  154. Lucy von Glahn says:

    Not sure what your motivation is for this “poll”, but surmise that knowing would help me vote. If the book would solely be same as what Dani purportedly wrote (w/J as ghost) then I say there isn’t much…or enough there to tie to characters PLURAL. Not invested enough in Dani yet, I think, to want to read it, except as background or true crime…it could just be lurid details…unless it’s part of a larger storyline. Is that ALL Dani is? Is it vital to her character development? Do we really need to be in the Silence of the Lambs basement with her; privy to every ‘it puts the lotion on its skin’ & each detail of her private hell/humiliation? Will it contribute to our collective entertainment? Somehow doubt it’d be anything less than sensationalism…
    Still loving your writing…your loyal Lexington Lockehead!

  155. Yes, I think what happened to Dani would be a great story, maybe even draw Donovan Creed into the mix.

  156. B. Wilkat says:

    I voted against it–there’s already too many stories about deranged, sick, evil people who do unthinkable things to young girls, boys, etc. and I suspect that they often get there ideas from books, movies, and news reports. I do realize that in some cases a well written book may help others deal with the trauma they might have suffered in their lives, so this was not an easy decision to make.

  157. I believe there is no subject that cannot be covered in a work of fiction. But there’s ways of approaching it. Lolita is a masterpiece.

    I read the first book before TLGWGA – for entertainment.

    I’d have to wonder at myself if I wanted to read a graphic, blow-by-blow story of what a man forced upon a girl. It’s a kind of porn i have no interest in, particularly not that involving a child.

    Personally, if i come across a graphic description of rape and torture in book, it makes me think twice about the author. It makes me wonder just what entertains them – sorry.

  158. I wanted to answer Gerald Lane Summers, but i can’t edit my post above.

    You believe the ‘mormon girl’ who was abducted and used as a ‘sex slave’ would have escaped her attacker had she been exposed to graphic horror stories?

    I’m afraid the real-life graphic horror stories are all around us all the time. the details of what happen to girls every day are in our faces every time we turn on the news. It makes girls afraid, Gerald. Even if the girl got away, damage has been done to her.
    As a man, you don’t have the fear of abduction and rape. But it’s a fear every girl and woman lives with, and each story we hear just makes us more fearful and serves the attackers of the world.

    For the record Gerald, I’ve also had criminals put loaded rifles in my face. I have no emotional scars or fears from the incident – in the scheme of life it was truly nothing.

  159. Sam: Thank you for your comments. My point is primarily about educating people so they will understand what to do if something like this happens to them. I think there is too much censorship in the world, especially in our schools where sex education is still taboo and when provided, does not go far enough. That does not mean I think young people should getting their education by reading adult level graphic books. But consider what might have happened if the Mormon captive had read something about some other girl plotting how to escape, or had taken a class in self defense and knew how she should react in such an event.

    It is unfortunate that many families would rather their children be kept ignorant of the reality they live in, because the alternative would require them to actually explain the nature of sex and discuss the dangers of being take advantage of by strangers.

    I think John Locke has taken a step in the right direction with his request for readership opinion. When was the last time you saw something like that?

  160. I don’t believe in censorship. I would just prefer it if John spent his time writing more of the dark humour of Creed, rather than a book that I know I will not want to read. Selfish? I guess I am.

  161. Gerald – I agree totally with your last post. Education, self-defence classes, strong female role models – all those things are good and positive.
    Also strong, positive male role models are needed out there. Of the women I know who have experienced rape/molestation as a child – a few of those see all men as potential rapists/child molesters. Which is sad and very untrue, as the vast majority of men are decent people.

    On a different topic, wanted to clarify something I above. Gratuitously graphic depictions in a book will cause me to stop and ponder why the depictions are there – and while this doesn’t mean I’ll conclude that the author is weird, it does take me completely out of a story. And as a reader, I don’t like to be taken out of a story!

  162. Debbie Squeo says:

    Just finished Call Me! & LOVED it. Can’t wait for he next book. LOVE Donovan Creed & now LOVE Dani too!

  163. gary hudson says:

    Hey John some people think that the bible is too graphic with a subject matter that is too disturbing. You know like incest,torture drownding the population of the entire planet, murder fratracide, hell I haven’t even got to the book of Revelation. (there’s some really bad shit happning there) Release it, Don’t let critics, or would be critics smother your talent

  164. Thomas Linehan says:

    Just finished Call Me and it left me hanging. Be true to yourself and get the damn thing out there.

  165. I am certain that mr Locke has the smarts to make this book tasteful and not a pleasure cruise for the pervs

  166. Would like to know how she handled the situation. I was raped when i was 10 and felt powerless. I want to know how she got away.

  167. Wenda Kennedy says:

    No, the stories are not pretty — and I can say that from a childhood overwhelmed with first hand, daily experiences. The important part of this type of story is the personal courage and determination of the girl. She first has to find a way to escape; then, more important, she has to get up, brush herself off, and go on with her life — without falling into that pit of pain again. It’s NOT really about the abuse. Keeping that in mind, write your book and be happy!

  168. Jack Reacher says:

    Of all your books, and ‘ve bought every one, the Dani Ripper book was my least favorite. I didn’t like the character and that’s why I’m voting against it. I’d like to see another 856 Donovan Creed and Emmet & Gentry books though….

  169. Cao Black says:

    I think I have to vote against publishing it. Not because the content may be distasteful (or worse) to some readers, but because it is unnecessary. Enough information was given in “Call Me” to allow readers to imagine the hell Mindy went through. I’m not sure the gory details are important to the Dani character.

  170. Kenneth Turner says:

    I’ve read all your books and have been very entertained. I think a detailed story about a young girl who is I assume sexually abused by an adult in the story is probably a story that should be left untold.
    My wife and I started to watch a movie from 1971 and there was graphic violent sexual abuse of women in it and we both were so disturbed by it we turned it off and won’t watch any future movies by that director again no matter how highly rated they are. I suspect books and films can stimulate copy cat activity in real life so I wouldn’t
    Want to incite behavior of that type. Don’t go there for that reason.

  171. Jake McConnell says:

    I think you should add Dani to the Donavan Creed Series. The Donavan Creed’s are the best!

  172. Donald Everetti says:

    I think you should tell her back story. Her history is what makes her who she is. My vote says publish it.

  173. jim vance says:

    just enjoy your writing

  174. Steve Barto says:

    I am working on two projects that cover dark but important matters relative to sex addiction and drug and alcohol abuse. I applaud you for wanting to proceed with your project and I look forward to reading it in the future. Good luck.

  175. great storyteller. great book. but some things are best untouched by morbid curiosity. cindy from south africa.

  176. I think it was Hemingway who said that a writer should never have to apologize for his subject matter, but only his treatment of it. Make it a good one, and those who don’t want to read it don’t have to. That’s the whaddaya call…American Way.

  177. Rose M Van Dee RN MSN says:


  178. John, if you’re not comfortable publishing Dani’s story the way you have written it, don’t do it. However, I have to agree with Rose M Van Dee about fictionalizing the real events of life and history. You have a unique style of writing that may make your presentation on this subject a little rough around the edges. But, your style has also made you a winning author.

  179. Michelle Smith says:

    I voted yes. That said, although I adore all of John’s writing, I don’t know how well he could pull off the mindset of an abused 15 yr old girl. See, I was an abused 15 yr old girl once, so I would notice any discrepencies.

    Having been a victim of horrific abuse myself, I have actually never had a problem reading about it- I think the “shock factor” only shocks the innocent- lol! I am more of a Callie Carpenter, I guess…..

    But anywho, i think it’s important that if this book is to be published, it is to be kept as honest as possible and as real to life as possible- there is nothing that bothers me more than reading a fictionalized account of abuse where the author had no clue what they were talking about and it seemed like they just pulled a bunch of random gory acts of violence out of their butts for shock value.

    You are a very talented writer. This is sensitive material, but it can be done. I think your best bet would be to run the manuscript by women who have been victims themselves for a reality check to to check the dialogue/thought process of a woman.

    For those of thus who have been there and done that, and been strangled with the T-Shirt, if you aim to do it, do it right, and give us dignity, show our strength.

  180. write faster!

  181. Paul Owens says:

    After 17 years in the intensive management unit at the Washington State Penitentiary I can say that in my humble opinion there is very little that most people would find very interesting about these broken men, were it not for the story telling talent of the author. And I’ve tried as an avid reader! But Anne Rule made some of the most mundane and weak human beings I’ve ever met sound truely frightening………….but hey, here’s to a good story no matter the genre!


  182. I absolutely loved this story. The way it was told, the protagonist, everything fell into place perfectly. I think you must have a very weak stomache if you cant read what is a real problem in the world. I had no problem at all with the content, and never even thought there would be people who would find it too graphic. All I can say is I want another book. This class of writing is so good, I will be buying every single one of her books. This is way above good, its truly brilliant, and unputdownable. Buy it, or kindle it, whichever way you like dont miss out on one of the best stories I have ever read.
    Cindy Owens

  183. Gerald Hosford says:

    My answer is simple, If you don’t like what you are reading, then stop reading it. The first amendment of our constitution says freedom of the press. I believe this applies here as well.

  184. Love reading your books. Please keep writing!

  185. In Dani Ripper’s newest novel “Promise you won’t tell’ (as written by J Locke) Dani refers to her childhood tragedy without presenting graphic active scenes from the past. Magnificent technique! Congratulations, John. Five stars + on this one.

  186. Kim Cassidy says:

    Have any of your advisors read some of Joyce Carol oates’ work? She has one book which is told from the seriel killer/rapist’s point of view where he even talks about how he felt raping his young victim – a boy. No, I couldn’t finish it. But, this just goes to show that your story is not without precident.

  187. former victim says:

    As victim myself, I am wondering if the objections by screeners were that part of being a victim and survivor means doing things those who haven’t been in same place or even close, would not be able to understand or relate to (Stockholm syndrome, survivors guilt, etc)… to survive, likely would have had to appease and play a role. Even that can create confusion for victims and long term victims can even deal with issues of mixed up feelings about captor (including gratitude or sympathy) that seems to make no sense since mixed with hate, fear, repulsion. BUT that mixture of feelings exist in all kinds of victims of abuse, esp long term abuse. Since no one wants to hear/ read/ acknowledge that psychological phenomena that can occur, victims are often more traumatized and unable to move past things they may have done to survive and secretly feel hate and feel disgust towards themselves, not the perpetrator, and never truly move past the experience within themselves. That can lead to all kinds of behaviors that are self sabatoging. Years of therapy finally broke ground and moved forward when I admitted something I did that was so ashamed of and thought meant I enjoyed, ONLY to have that be the point my therapist got past the “surface” tv/ movie reaction I felt I should/ could be entitled to and to the true root of healing and recognition of victimization coping mechanisms as broad and not simplistic and certainly not even rationale seeming when outside of danger. I was held prisoner long after, not by my perpetrator, but by myself and humiliation. I was free with her help by MY perceptions of my actions as survival and “normal” not freakish, which allowed me to regain power back from essentially me having twisted my experience to cast myself as my own victimizer to understanding and forgiving and beginning to love myself and be proud to be a survivor.

    If other victims have ever dealt with this, understanding the complex nature of what can happen psychologically and that they acted in the only way they could at the time is MUCH more empowering and freeing than being held a hero, yet been mortified if what happened and details came out that didn’t fit the mold of “how should react” and holding inside this horrific dichotomy inside.

    The sickos out the have plenty of material to choose from between news, all types of TVs shows, movies, internet and most of all their own twisted minds. This won’t be that single catalyst for that type of mind anymore than a million things that already exist. VIctims do NOT have plenty of places to identify with the wide range of feelings and reactions that can occur so they can feel less alone, less a freak, and empowered to move forward.

    If I am wrong as to my guess as to the nature of what made for the decision not to publish (those out there having never experienced anything like it and losing sympathy towards Dani or even disgust for this that occured) ONLY shows why should be published. That ignorance and misunderstanding is what binds and haunts past victims more than the acts themselves can. Only through understanding by all can victims move more quickly to freedom, self love, and empowerment.

    I am over 40 years old. Was victimized as child and separately as teen. I am only now understanding the dynamics. Imagine if i could have had the last 25 years feeling good about myself and not shame since my experiences weren’t what I “thought” I should feel. My loving parents may have been able to help but I was too ashamed to talk about any details.

    KNOWLEDGE CAN FREE YOU. It did for me.

  188. Skip finley says:

    Knowing the truth and not liking it and not wanting to read about it are mutually compatible. I wouldn’t read any more of John’s books if there was any more information on Danni’s past than I’ve read already–and he’s a GREAT and prolific writer. Can we say ‘copycat’ Kemosabe?

  189. John Locke is a masterful writer, ensnaring readers in unusual stories and techniques. Besides passionate, he’s also considerate, thoughtful and kind. That’s why he asked reader’s to express their opinions before publishing a first-hand experience of a little girl who underwent a horrid,life-changing ordeal. In the vivid, upfront style in which John writes, it was appropriate that he bridled his desire to tell this story as an immediate, up-close and personal scene.

    When a story burns within an author, he/she needs to express it. John has published Mindy Renee’s story in a unique way that I suggested to him in November, 2011–not that my suggestion influenced him.

    I wrote, “John, I used a writing technique to get around this delicate situation in my eBook The Impetuous Army Brat. Mindy Renee’s story should be told. When it is, I’ll read it. I had my 16-year-old protagonist, Tammy Martin, relate her intimate story of pregnancy to a new friend after she’d moved to another country. This author wanted psychic distance in revealing the details of Tammy’s sexual encounter. Rather than write active scenes as Mindy’s events unfold, distance yourself and let Mindy express her views in dialogue (or second-hand) of what happened. She will be able to put her own spin on this emotional time in her life. I think this technique gets the author off the hook when dealing with sexual events involving a child. John, thanks for the help I’ve gotten from you. /Paul D Bose

    Last year, John Locke published his pent up story by using this technique. His protagonist, Dani Ripper, tells her story in first-person, present-tense in “Promise you won’t tell?” This is a gripping story written by the master himself.

  190. Tiffany says:

    I am all about the book being published. I am an only child to two amazing parent’s…but my dad is a retired Detective Sergeant and even though he did his best, when I was a child, to keep the bad stories from my ears, I still overheard things. As I got older, I became intrigued and even thought about becoming a Social Worker or Detective but he gently tried to steer me in a different direction because he knew the emotional impact would be too much for me. However, although living it daily would be too much, reading about stuff like this has always been enjoyable for me. Not in a perverse or sexual way but rather, a “morbidly” curious type of way.

    I read Edward Lee books so suffice it to say, haha, I’ve read some sick $h!t! Who cares if some people find it overtly offensive? There will always be others who has the opposite point of view..normal, sane, good people, not sickos. What we read and enjoy watching isn’t necessarily WHO we are. It’s an escape in to a different world, one that makes us think and makes us have to wear the shoes of others. Makes us ponder and learn. We ALL have the ability to CHOOSE. In other words, if we don’t like it (and wow, this is crazy, gonna blow peoples’ minds!) we can!!! OMG, I know, MIND BLOWN ,right?? LOL. Seriously though, people always want someone else to blame for THEIR OWN PERSONAL DECISIONS and that is stupid. You wrote the book. We may or may not choose to read it. If there is a negative impact, it’s NOT your fault but rather OURS for reading it. Personally, we read and see worse in the news and often, at that! People NEVER want to accept their own choices when those choices end up giving them a headache. Sure, when those choices lead to wonderful things they take TOTAL and 100% responsibility for them but otherwise? Heck no, it’s that movie about guns fault, it’s that movie showing teens having sex and doing drugs fault, it’s M. Mansons newest albums fault. But never, ever THEIR fault, right?

    With all that said, I’m not sure why this vote is even happening. It sounds to me like there is a deeper reason for the vote…as in lack of confidence. When Vladimir Nabokov wrote Lolita, he didn’t post a forum asking for a vote on whether he should…he just did it. Yes, he met some uphill climbs with it but the book is famous and personally, I love it. I don’t support the actions in it (it’s funny in a not-so-funny way how murder also takes place in that book, too, but the child-love is the only problem that any one ever brings up) but I do support an author never letting their words go unread. You wrote this book, you need to publish it. For whatever reason, you wrote it for yourself…you should publish it for yourself. If we like it, we like it. If we don’t, we don’t. Who cares? Our opinions aren’t YOUR opinions. I appreciate an author caring but at the same time, if every author who dealt with censorship (G. Orwell, H. Lee, etc) decided to listen to the critics and not publish, we wouldn’t have some of the most famous and amazing books ever written.

    So publish your book. Rape victims should have NO right to tell you otherwise. It’s THEIR responsibility to stay away from triggering things…they have no business reading your book if they can’t handle it. Religious fanatics? Same thing. They are already the reason that too many wonderful books are no longer allowed in schools…they are the biggest hypocrites out there.

  191. I got really into the story if Dani and it’s bothering me so much that I don’t know how she got away! Please publish.

  192. although I believe a dark story as such and will be a hard read I believe that people should know a first hand experience rather than hear say. I think dani has done well to even write the book .

  193. If people don’t’ want to know what happened in that basement, they shouldn’t read the book. Others who want to should be able to. Isn’t this an example of the constitution?

  194. Elma Berry says:

    Love Dani Ripper series along with all other John Locke books!

  195. Please release this I’ve read all your books and I really want to read your story!

  196. Scott Leitner says:

    I have asked John about this…he said that he has no intention of doing the book for now. Personally, I think it would be a great read if he could do it tastefully. There are a lot of teen girls who have been in that situation.

  197. Would love to hear the story. I love all your books

  198. let it rip.

  199. Are there any updates on this novel?


  1. […] Here’s the link to vote […]

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