The tiny town of Dryden, New York, endures a strange, five-year string of murders, car accidents, and suicides—all of it tied to two popular high school cheerleaders.

A true story.

About The Stacks Reader Series

The Stacks Reader Series highlights classic literary non-fiction and short fiction by great journalists that would otherwise be lost to history—a living archive of memorable storytelling by notable authors. Curated by Alex Belth and brought to you by The Sager Group with support from NeoText.

E. Jean Carroll is a journalist, advice columnist, and author whose “Ask E. Jean” column appeared in Elle magazine for 26 years. She has also been writer for the television show Saturday Night Live and a contributing editor for Esquire, Outside Magazine, and Playboy. Her stories have taken her around the globe, from her home state of Indiana, where she investigated why four white farm kids were thrown out of school for dressing like black artists in “The Return of the White Negro,” to Papua New Guinea, where she searched for the true “primitive man” modern women claim to want (and nearly died in the process). “The Cheerleaders,” which originally appeared in Spin, was selected as one of the best true crime reporting pieces in 2002. It also appeared in the 2002 edition of Best American Crime Writing.

Carroll is the author of five books: Female Difficulties: Sorority Sisters, Rodeo Queens, Frigid Women, Smut Stars, and Other Modern Girls; A Dog in Heat Is a Hot Dog and Other Rules to Live By; Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson; Mr. Right, Right Now; and What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal.

In 2012 Carroll founded the matchmaking service Tawkify. She also developed the mobile app, Damn Love, a send-up of modern dating apps where players can ruin (virtual) relationships. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, she attended Indiana University in Bloomington. She currently lives in upstate New York.