CROOKED SNAKE: THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF ALBERT LEPARD

Book Cover

CRIME BIOGRAPHICAL ACTION MEMOIR ADVENTURE DRAMA

20th Century (multiple decades),2000s

Lovejoy Boteler

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Submision Type

book

Logline

Albert Lepard was sentenced to life in prison for the torch murder of his elderly aunt in 1959. He escaped six times over fourteen years. On his fifth escape he kidnapped the author at gunpoint from his family farm. Years later the author reveals riveting details about Lepard's gritty life.

Genre

Crime,Biographical,Action,Memoir,Adventure,Drama

Short Summary

Thirty-five years after I was kidnapped from my family farm, I began a journey searching for answers to questions about this dramatic event. For several years I traveled through the rough heart of Mississippi talking to lawmen, convicts, victims and family members who knew my kidnapper well.

Setting

Rural Mississippi, Florida, Michigan, Kansas, California, and Mexico.

Based on a True Story

Yes

Plot - Premise

Tragedy,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest,Overcoming Monster/Villain

Plot - Other Elements

Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Albert Lepard

Age: 10 to 43 years of age

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Crazy,Desperate,Insecure,Leader,Underdog,Masculine,Villainous,Uneducated,Blunt,Skillful

Additional Character Details

Name: Lovejoy Boteler

Age: 18 - 55

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Educated,Gracious,Masculine,Skillful

Additional Character Details

Name: Mary Young

Age: 74

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Desperate,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Honorable,Blunt,Strong Moral Code,Unapologetic,Modest

Additional Character Details

Name: Joe Edwards

Age: 19 - 74

Gender: Male

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Complex,Criminal,Desperate,Underdog,Masculine,Uneducated

About The Author

Born in 1950 in Grenada County, Mississippi, Lovejoy Boteler grew up on Riverdale Farms. Boteler graduated from Delta State University in 1973 with a BS in instrumental music. His career has spanned a variety of fields; he worked for the Mississippi legislature, on the Mississippi River as a deck hand, in a Colorado rodeo, taught construction skills to disadvantaged youth, and taught instrumental music in public schools. In addition to writing, he also builds custom furniture. In the summer of 1968, when he was eighteen years old, two escaped convicts from Parchman Penitentiary arrived on his family farm and kidnapped Boteler. This event inspired him to write the book, Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard, published by University Press of Mississippi, March 2019. Prior to publication, Boteler completed five writing courses over several years at Millsaps College, a liberal arts school in Jackson, MS. He attended narrative nonfiction writing conferences in both Natchez and Oxford, MS. After publication of Crooked Snake, Boteler served on literary nonfiction panels in 2019 at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Mississippi, and at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee. Crooked Snake was nominated for the 2020 nonfiction award by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. CBS InsideEdition Digital sought out Boteler's book and produced a video package of Crooked Snake in 2021. It can be viewed at the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGSo4Cff28w&t=5s Tantor Media released Crooked Snake as an audio book in 2019.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

General readership in Mississippi with treks to Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Kansas, California and Mexico.

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available

Yes

ISBN

ISBN 9781496821720 (epub single)

Genre

DRAMA

Brief

Lovejoy recounts being kidnapped by a notorious murderer by returning to his kidnapper's roots forty years after the crime. He interviews those who know Lepard and those who witnessed his descent into crime. Slowly a picture of poverty, violence and heartbreak comes together to form a chilling antagonist who was a menace to society.

Overall Rating

GOOD

Point of View

FIRST PERSON

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

For the most part the book profile accurately reflects the story. Some improvements include figuring out a way to provide new information in the short summary or development pitch rather than repeating the short summary twice. The short summary only highlights a small portion of the story which highlights Lepard's entire life so either focusing just on the incident in the story or focusing on the entire span of the story in the profile will better match each other's scope.

Draw of Story

The idea that the story is a victim investigating their own kidnapper's motives forty years after their survival is an intriguing way to show how a murderer was created.

Possible Drawbacks

There are certain moments such as when Lepard as a child is described as doing blackface that can be offensive to audiences. Structurally the frame story creates pacing lulls having to introduce new characters for each chapter of Lepard's life without consistent emotional investment. It is showing, but also many details that while well-written are not often relevant to the story. By either creating a tension with the storytellers or focusing more on linear storytelling of the Lepard's formation and demise, there will be more sustained conflict.

Use of Special Effects

THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Lepard wasn't born a killer or kidnapper but his upbringing help shaped him. It is perhaps most compelling after the murder of his aunt when he keeps escaping jail, his crimes seem unstoppable.

Fanbase Potential

This could potentially have a decent sized fanbase due to the large market for true crime and the unique perspective of the murders with striking visuals.

Awards Potential

Depending on the themes and character acting, this could potentially have awards potential with a slightly altered structured due to the range of situations and emotions.

Envisioned Budget

LOW BUDGET

Similar Films/TV Series

MONSTER, ICEMAN, O BROTHER WHERE FOR ART THOU, TED BUNDY, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER

What’s New About the Story

The originality stems from the unstoppable crime spree of Lepard that seems to have little to no rules or loyalty to his victims even if its family. The setting is also unusual and compelling.

Lead Characters

Lovejoy is curious, dedicated and open-hearted. Lepard is vicious, un-empathetic and rage-filled.

Uniqueness of Story

This is a rare lesser-known true crime story, but the characters and structure would benefit from slightly more development.

Possible Formats

Film: Streaming, Indie, Studio TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series, Cable, Network, Streaming

Analyst Recommendation

WORK IN PROGRESS

Justification

While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

Changing the frame story format to also include tension and emotional attachment to all storytellers may help create a consistent tension to create smoother pacing without lulls. Lepard in somewhat humanized by the death of his mother, but further insight into his crime motives besides poverty and abuse may also help make him more dynamic along with other side characters having a clear inner conflict.