Friday, November 4, 2011

July 23, 2007, Marks 40-Year Anniversary of Detroit Riots

July 23, 2007, Marks 40-Year Anniversary of Detroit Riots

Former Detroit resident, respected medical researcher Dr. Patricia Gussin revisits time in debut book release.

J (PRWEB) June 12, 2007

July 23, 2007, will mark the 40-year anniversary of the beginning of the Detroit riots of 1967. At the end of the five-day riots, called the worst act of civil violence since the Civil War, 43 people lay dead, over 1,100 had been injured and more than 7,000 had been arrested. Dr. Patricia Gussin, known to colleagues as Dr. Patricia Stewart, a past Detroit resident, physician and former worldwide vice president for a leading healthcare company, revisits that harrowing time in her debut novel, Shadow of Death.

A first-year medical student at Wayne State University in Detroit when the riots began, Gussin stated, "Anyone who lived in the Detroit area in 1967 will never forget the horror of the riots as the city burned for five days. I think everyone remembers where they were when it happened and how they felt. I remember that time vividly."

Through the eyes of the novel's protagonist, Laura Nelson, Gussin examines the experience of being in Detroit during a time of tremendous unrest, social upheaval and devastation in Shadow of Death (Oceanview Publishing, ISBN: 1-933515-00-7, $22.95). Shadow of Death was recently named one of three finalists for Best First Novel in the "Thriller" Awards, sponsored by International Thriller Writers.

While the book is not autobiographical, says Gussin, her experience of being in Detroit during that time did play a large role in shaping the narrative: "Like Laura Nelson, I was a medical student with two small children. And I did experience what Laura experiences in the book. The scariness of Detroit at the time. The ongoing curfews. The palpable hostility."

Shadow of Death was recently adopted by Duquesne University's Spiritan Division and used as a means of launching discussions about tough issues affecting students both at and beyond the university.

Dr. Judith Griggs, Duquesne University Spiritan Division of Academic Programs Director, stated that she felt Gussin's Shadow of Death would be an excellent way to get students to address tough issues and further the mission of the Spiritan Division of Academic Programs: "Ms. Gussin's Shadow of Death addresses a number of important issues -- character, social issues, race relations, consequences and choices. Though fictionalized, Gussin's work provides a history lesson about Detroit in that it is set during the riots of 1967. What is remarkable is that so many of the issues Gussin tackles in Shadow of Death are still relevant nearly 40 years later. In choosing Shadow of Death for the Spiritan students, we felt this would be a tremendous way to raise the level of consciousness and engage our students in a dialog. Students learn by doing, and making the classes both interesting and participatory has a profound impact."

Gussin says that writing the book was in some ways a catharsis, "When I was in med school I was too overwhelmed with just making it through the day to reflect on the horrible devastation that I'd witnessed. Shadow of Death took me back to that time, letting me relive in slow motion those four years and appreciate the social turmoil and the personal stress. In many ways, the experience shaped my consciousness. On a personal level, being there at the time allowed me to grow and learn. I also think that this tragic event shaped the very fabric of the city of Detroit. Through tragic and devastating, I think that it made Detroit a different, and even a better place."

Shadow of Death has been nominated for Best Debut Novel in the Thriller Awards, sponsored by International Thriller Writers. Shadow of Death is available in bookstores nationwide. Gussin's second novel, Twisted Justice is slated for release December 1, 2007. Oceanview Publishing is an independent publisher based in Ipswich, Massachusetts. For more information, please contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone -- (615) 297-9875, or by email -- maryglenn @ maryglenn. com