Lawrence P. Gooley has published another outstanding chronicle of Adirondack history, Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow. The book chronicles the story of Garrow, an abused Dannemora child, turned thief, serial rapist and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders, although police believed there were many more. Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow sued the State of New York for $10 million for negligence in his medical care. In exchange for dropping the suit, Garrow was moved to a medium security prison. He was shot and killed during a prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis.
Gooley, who lived the story in the 1970s, says the book tells “a remarkable story, with repercussions locally, statewide, and nationwide.” “For climbers like me, it was a terrible time in the mountains,” he said. “Seeing the evidence of what he did to some of his victims confirmed for me that we were right to be wary three decades ago.”
“I researched his entire life story from birth to grave, and it really is an amazing story,” Gooley told the Almanack. “There has been much misinformation on parts of his story, and it has been repeated on many websites and in newspaper stories over the years.” Gooley says he used multiple sources in order to “get the story right,” including about 2,000 pages of official court transcripts. “That gave me proof that even Garrow’s attorney changed the story,” the author said, “telling tales 35 years later that directly contradict the official court record. He may not like certain parts of my commentary, but he’ll know I’m right.”
Two years ago, Gooley won the Adirondack center For Writing’s Award for Nonfiction for Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune. He actually interrupted his work on Terror in the Adirondacks to tell that story of Brandon Civil War veteran Oliver Lamora’s battle with William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller. Gooley optioned the movie rights to a New York City company, which is still seeking funding for the film. “Several interesting things happened in connection with that book, including a call from a NY Times editor and a visit from a member of the Rockefeller family,” Gooley said, “It certainly has been interesting.”
The book was published by Gooley’s own Bloated Toe Enterprises and can be purchased online and at smaller stores in the Clinton-Essex-Franklin county area.