A SAVAGE WISDOM
Norman German
$16.99

Originally published in 2008, A Savage Wisdom, Norman German’s dark thriller based on a true story, has been reprinted by DVille Press in Donaldsonville.

The gripping plot imaginatively reconstructs the life Toni Jo Henry, who murdered Houston businessman J. P. Calloway on Valentine’s Day, 1940, and for that crime became the only woman executed in Louisiana’s electric chair. Set in Depression-era Louisiana, “German’s novel is a stark, page-turning re-creation, rich with detail and imagery where intimacy and deception flow into a chilling tragedy,” said Billy Fontenot of The Louisiana Review.




When Toni Jo Henry, a small-town waitress with big-city dreams, meets a mysterious, dashing man, she is whisked off to 1930s New Orleans, where she becomes addicted to the man sporting a horrifically beautiful dragon tattoo. Harold Nevers changes her name, style, and looks, introduces her to a life that surpasses her glamorous fantasies, and finally drops her as a sex slave into the demimonde, a sinister underworld where nothing is what it appears to be.
Reviewed as “a work of exceptional literary merit,” the novel is “a profound and disturbing exploration of the best and worst in human nature.” Classified as “alternative history,” the novel reverses the nature of the real-life criminal personality of Toni Jo Henry (born Annie Beatrice McQuiston) and depicts her as an ingénue tricked into the underworld.

Award-winning author Tim Gautreaux said, “German’s painstaking research of an era in Louisiana history and his intricate characterizations let the reader understand how Toni Jo Henry was deceived, manipulated and ultimately betrayed by the men she loved.

A native of Lake Charles, Dr. Norman German recently retired from Southeastern Louisiana University, where his career culminated in winning a prestigious Louisiana Division of the Arts fellowship for distinguished fiction writing.

German’s prize-winning novel No Other World fictionalizes the life of Marie Thérèze, the ex-slave slaveholder who founded Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches. He has also published a baseball novel, Switch-Pitchers, and a collection of short stories set along the I-10 corridor, Dead Dog Lying.