The Book on Railey

This February, barring delays. Walker Railey goes on trial for the brutal attack that left his wife, Peggy, in a coma. At least three Dallas writers will be among the many eager to tell the reverend’s story.

Free-lance writer Mike Shropshire, who wrote D’s 1987 cover story on Railey. landed a book contract back in 1988. But Doubleday editors held up his manuscript, fearing a libel suit if they published before the mysterious man of God had his day in court. While biding his time, Shropshire wrote a still-unpublished novel called The Bad Samaritan (“sort of a Texas League Bonfire of the Vanities”) with a subplot involving a preacher whose wife is murdered. He hopes the true-crime book will now be resurrected.

Barbara Wedgwood, author of five previous books of biography and fiction, calls her Railey tome The Demon Inside, borrowing from a phrase Railey used in a note he left before attempting suicide. She hopes to see her book on newsstands before Christmas and says she’ll have a few surprises for readers. “I don’t want to be presumptuous and compare myself to Truman Capote, but I make use of fictional techniques-based, of course, on records and depositions.” In exchange for their cooperation. Wedgwood has agreed to share any profits with Billie Joe and Bill Nicolai, Peggy’s parents, and the Peggy Railey Trust Fund.

Olive Talley, who covered the Railey story for The Dallas Morning News, doesn’t have time to write a book; she’s spending a year at Harvard on a prestigious Neiman Fellowship. But she’s signed on with Republic Pictures as a consultant for a made-for-TV movie. “I wanted to be involved with a reputable company where they’re going to put a major premium on the facts.” Talley says. “I’ll be saying. No, no, that’s not true. Here’s how it happened.


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