- Title: Similar Transactions: A True Story
- Author: S. R. Reynolds
- Genre: Biographies, Memoirs
- Length: 407 pages
- Publication Date: January 11, 2019
Similar Transactions: A True Story – Synopsis
Teenager Michelle Anderson disappears and the police detective carelessly writes her off as a runaway. Twenty years later S. R. Reynolds connects the dots and finds herself caught up in a real-life drama. Justice can come in many forms.
When the girl went missing in 1987, Reynolds, then a clinical social worker, warned the DA and police that the case was being mishandled. Michelle’s classmates and her mother were unanimous in saying she had no reason to run away.
A decade later, after having moved from Knoxville, Tennessee to another state, Reynolds learns from a cold case TV show that Michelle’s skeletal remains had been found two years after she went missing.
Through a coincidental meet-up with her former professor, famed forensic anthropologist Dr. William (Bill) Bass, who had been interviewed on the TV program and who is the founder of the University of Tennessee’s Body Farm, Reynolds’s curiosity suddenly becomes a commitment when Bass offers to send her his files. It begins a saga in which she travels extensively to seek out and meet with surviving victims, the murdered girl’s mother, and former police and FBI investigators who worked on the case after the girl’s remains had been found.
As Reynolds presses neglected pieces of the puzzle into place, she unearths a string of brutal kidnappings and rapes across the South, crimes that span decades. Patterns appear and all evidence points to one man: convicted sex offender Larry Lee Smith. But Larry Lee is about to be released from a Georgia prison where he is serving time for a related crime—a similar transaction. We find that prison means nothing more to Larry Lee than waiting until he can repeat his actions.
During the seven years of pursuing this case, Reynolds joins with the victims and the mother to form The Band of Sisters to seek Justice for Michelle. As a result, the police department reopens the long cold-case. A savvy prosecutor enters the scene as they join together in this true life saga.
Similar Transactions is the recipient of the eLit Gold Award for True Crime, IAN True Crime Book of the Year, and is among the top five books named The Best of Everything Nonfiction by author, critic, and screenwriter Emilio Corsetti III.
About the Author
My name is Sasha Reynolds. I am a former resident of Knoxville, having lived there for twelve years before moving to Alabama. While I was a resident there, a 15-year-old girl, Michelle Anderson, went missing from the North Knoxville neighborhood in which I resided. My son had been a classmate of hers. After she disappeared, I had some marginal contact with a couple of persons related to her case and felt convinced that the investigator had seriously dropped the ball when he wrote her off as a runaway. Not long after that I accepted a job offer in Alabama and moved away. But the case stayed with me.
It was nearly a decade later, as I watched one of the new forensic shows on television, The New Detectives, that I finally learned of her fate. Her remains had been found outside Knoxville two years to the month after she’d gone missing. My old professor, Dr. William Bass, known as the father of forensic anthropology, led the team that excavated the site. He was featured on the show discussing the case. If you would like to see the actual episode, please visit the Facebook page for Simpson Point Press. It was this specific episode that resulted in this story.
Fast forward to 2007. I run into Dr. Bass when he is giving a talk in Guntersville, Alabama, about a new book he and his co-author, Jon Jefferson, have just published. Obtaining his phone number, I call Dr. Bass concerning the old, very cold case of Michelle’s disappearance. He sends me his forensic report from 1989 and some additional materials. My investigative journey begins.
When that journey ends, seven years later, after having personally met with several of the victims, their families, friends, investigators, and a savvy assistant district attorney, I have identified the man most likely to be Michelle’s abductor, serial rapist Larry Lee Smith, and I have gotten the KPD to re-open her cold case. My book, Similar Transactions, tells the rest of the story. It’s formatted as two books in one volume, and I chose to write it in the style of a novel rather than using ‘first person. You’ll understand when you arrive at Book Two.
We launched the book in January 2016, and updated it in 2019. Reception has been gratifying. We were stunned when the book achieved #1 Bestseller status in its genré several times since it was first released.
Author, screenwriter and literary critic Emilio Corsetti III named Similar Transactions one of the top five Best Nonfiction Books of 2016. It was also named the 2017 Outstanding Book of the Year (True Crime) by the Independent Authors Network, and is the recipient of the 2017 eLit Gold Award for True Crime. I hope you will check out the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I also hope that you will read the book, and if you deem it worthy, please rate or review it on Amazon or your website of choice.