Lakewood lore inspires author with Arvada roots

The new thriller reimagines 1960s Lakewood crime as fiction

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/3/20

If you grew up in Lakewood in the late 1960s you might remember the tale of the Garage Gorilla. Legend has it, he prowled around neighborhoods in the fledgeling city, breaking into garages and lying …

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Lakewood lore inspires author with Arvada roots

The new thriller reimagines 1960s Lakewood crime as fiction

Posted

If you grew up in Lakewood in the late 1960s you might remember the tale of the Garage Gorilla. Legend has it, he prowled around neighborhoods in the fledgeling city, breaking into garages and lying in wait to attack unsuspecting women in the dark.

First-Time author Collin Pearce’s father remembered those times well, and would regale young Collin with spooky stories from days gone by. Now it’s the son who is spinning scary yarns and drawing on one of his dad’s tales for inspiration. As a kid growing up in Arvada, Pearce, 26, loved writing and books, but stories by Edgar Alan Poe and Ray Bradbury really grabbed his attention. From his new home, California, He’s just published his first novel, “The Garage Guerrilla”, a fictionalized mash-up of the Lakewood crime-spree with elements of the modern-day Golden State Killer case. Pearce said the sheer creepiness of the events in the Garage Gorilla story his dad told him as a kid was what really stuck with him for so many years.

“He was an offender that would terrify neighborhoods, prowling around, breaking into garages and turning out the lights and turning on hoses so people would come out at night,” he said. When the equally sordid Golden State Killer case was recently solved using modern science and technology, Pearce was inspired to reimagine what happened all of those years ago in Lakewood and weave in a modern twist. Pearce said the novel took a little over a year to write, while continuing his career in construction project management.

“I write for an hour a night,” he said. “At first, I had no idea what I was doing. I started by writing about five chapters by hand and then my handwriting was so bad, I re-wrote it on a computer.”

Pearce said he had about the first half of the novel figured out when he started, but from there he just kept writing to see where the story took him. Eventually, the story took the Arvada West and CSU graduate to a completed book that’s garnering good reviews from Kirkus Reviews and from Amazon reviews, and gaining readers through word of mouth, social media engagement and even a bit of traction on Amazon. If brick and mortar is still your thing, the book can be special ordered from retail booksellers.

As for launching his first book during a global pandemic, Pearce said it’s made marketing and in-person visits to book stores more difficult, but it actually gave him a lot of extra time to think about the book as he was finishing it up. It may have also given him time to start plotting out his second novel, already in the works.

“The new book is a totally different concept, but it is another psychological thriller,” Pearce said.

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