Harry N. MacLean

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Harry N. MacLean

Harry MacLean (born c.1943) is a writer and lawyer living in Denver, Colorado who writes true crime books and won an Edgar Award for his book In Broad Daylight.

Early life[edit]

Maclean graduated in 1964 from Lawrence University[1] with a B.A. Psychology.[2] He received a law degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1967.[3] During the next few years he was a trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., an adjunct professor at Denver College of Law, magistrate in the Denver juvenile court, First Assistant Attorney General for the Colorado Department of Law, General Counsel of the Peace Corps.[4] He was also an independent mediator and arbitrator.[5]


His first book was In Broad Daylight (1989), an account of the “vigilante killing” of town bully Ken Rex McElroy in downtown Skidmore, Missouri in 1981. 50 people, many of whom had gathered earlier in the day to figure out a way to handle the situation with McElroy if he got off on assault charges from an earlier incident, were said to have been on the street near where McElroy was shot with a high-powered rifle and by a second assailant with a .22. However the prosecutor said he could not bring a case because no towns people would corroborate McElroy's wife's claim identifying the killer.[6] In researching the book MacLean lived with a family outside the town for three years.[7] In Broad Daylight won an Edgar Award for best true crime writing,[8] was on the New York Times bestseller list for 12 weeks charting as high as 2,[9] and was made into a movie starring Brian Dennehy.[10] The book was reissued in 2007 with a new epilogue after the Nodaway County, Missouri prosecutor David Baird who had dealt with the case from the beginning released the county's investigation file.[11]

On July 10, 2012, the 31st anniversary of McElroy's killing, In Broad Daylight became available as an e-book.[12]

MacLean's second book was Once Upon A Time, A True Story of Memory, Murder and the Law . Eileen Franklin-Lipsker, a California housewife, claimed to recover a repressed memory of her father murdering her playmate twenty years earlier in Foster City, California. Her father, George Thomas Franklin, was tried and convicted solely on the basis of the repressed memory.[13] Franklin's conviction was later overturned by a federal court of appeals.[14][15]

MacLean's book, The Past is Never Dead: the Trial of James Ford Seale and Mississippi’s Struggle for Redemption chronicles the 2007 trial of James Ford Seale, for the murder of two black youths in southwest Mississippi in 1964. Seale was charged and convicted of torturing and drowning Charles Moore and Henry Dee in a backwater of the Mississippi River. The Past is Never Dead was nominated for The William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, awarded by Stanford University Libraries.[16]

In 2013, MacLean wrote an account of his experience writing "In Broad Daylight" as an ebook [17] and as an addendum to his latest addition.[18]

"The Joy of Killing," published in 2015,[19] gained acclaim as MacLean's first novel. The Denver Post describes it as, "A dark, compelling literary work, this marks the fictional debut of Denver true-crime writer Mac Lean. He combines an eerie night in a deserted house with the recollection of a teenage sexual encounter on a train, in a story that explores the lure of violence. The mystery repels and haunts." [20]


  1. ^ Alumni Authors – Harry Maclean ’64 – Lawrence.edu – Retrieved November 23, 2009
  2. ^ "Denver Board of Ethic Report for 2001 – denvergov.org – Retrieved November 21, 2009". 
  3. ^ http://www.law.du.edu/forms/alumni/classnotes/?date=2014-03
  4. ^ Bio – harrymaclean.com – Retrieved November 23, 2009
  5. ^ https://www.nalc.org/workplace-issues/contract-administration-unit/body/C-30503.PDF
  6. ^ "Bully’s Killing Is Unsolved, and Residents Want It That Way". 
  7. ^ "After 31 Years, the 1981 Skidmore Murder Story Lives on-Online". St. Joseph Post. 
  8. ^ http://www.mysterynet.com/edgars/previous/factcrime/
  9. ^ http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/12/20/grisly_killing_adds_to_towns_notoriety/?page=full
  10. ^ "in broad daylight" brian denehey
  11. ^ http://www.harrymaclean.com/harry-maclean-in-broad-daylight.php
  12. ^ In Broad Daylight (Crime Rant Classics). Crime Rant Classics. July 8, 2012. ASIN B008J7CNGU. 
  13. ^ "Slate Magazine, "The Memory Doctor"". Slate Magazine. 
  14. ^ "Articles about George Thomas Sr Franklin - Los Angeles Times". 
  15. ^ "Google Scholar". 
  16. ^ http://library.stanford.edu/saroyan/shortlistsrelease2010.html
  17. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Story-Behind-Broad-Daylight-ebook/dp/B00AYIO0QI
  18. ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1482639874/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687502&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1619025361&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1TY006BZBWA658CV77S7
  19. ^ http://www.counterpointpress.com/dd-product/the-joy-of-killing/
  20. ^ http://www.denverpost.com/books/ci_28424893/review-joy-killing-by-harry-n-maclean

External links[edit]