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Donald Brown's Books

Stepping Stones

Tuscaloosa at 200: It's Most Decisive Years, 1950s to 2018

​​List Price: $14.95 PB 

208 pages

January 2019

Editor of The Tuscaloosa News for nine years, and active resident of the community for nearly 35 years, Donald Brown has lived many of Tuscaloosa's highs and lows. As an honored career journalist his reputation is one of sensing that what he hears and sees often may contain a timely, strong story. Such ability and experience formed the idea for this book: starting with the 1950s and going to through 2018--68 decisive, crucial years during which stepping stones often created a rough path that challenged Tuscaloosa to keep climbing ever upward toward its destiny.
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Mr. X and Mr. Y 

Shotgun, axe: No faces, limbs gone.

Who killed the two victims?
Viola Hyatt knows.

​​List Price: $14.95 PB 

136 pages

July 2016


The double murder story you’ll never forget. Told by insiders who lived it. Enhanced by photos not seen for half a century. A unique true crime experience awaits you in “Mr. X and Mr. Y.” Veteran journalist Donald Brown covered the story as a young reporter and now recreates it vividly. On a farm in northeast Alabama, two men are shot to death, hacked apart and their remains scattered across countryside familiar to the killer. Who they were, why such gruesome death, who did it and other discoveries big and small all combine to give this book stand-alone qualities.  

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See review below!

On Deadline:

Columns by a Southern Editor,
Relevant Today 


​​List Price: $15.95 PB 

188 pages

February 2015


Issues, players, successes, setbacks and events that define one’s community and family all mix to help make a columnist. So do the sweat of stiff deadlines, topics that say something and putting yourself on show for a very critical audience, the readers. This compilation of columns spans twenty-six years of life in Alabama as one editor observed it and lived it. Quality journalism has longevity, which allows these messages to have present-day meaning that will speak to you gently, forcefully, sadly and humorously. Mirrors, they are, in which you will see yourself.

About the Author

Donald Brown is in his seventh decade, more than five of them spent in journalism. His career is marked as a Birmingham News reporter in the 1950s–1960s, as editor of the monthly Birmingham Magazine for eleven years, and as executive editor of two strong Alabama dailies, the Florence TimesDaily and the Tuscaloosa News. He covered the story on which his novel, Gruesome, is based. Don wrote Forward, Ever, the Bicentennial of Birmingham-Southern College, his alma mater, and is the author, co-writer or editor of ten other books. He has taught depth reporting at the University of Alabama.


A Novel Drawn from True Crime


​​List Price: $15.95 PB 

208 pages

January 2014


A cheating husband. His faithful wife. His exciting mistress. Two strong mothers. A talented reporter and the alluring woman who wants him. The scene is set for murder and astonishing repercussions in the timber country of southwest Alabama in 1959. John Ed Tomlinson is convicted of killing his wife, then he isn’t. Two more trials follow, which engulf all five remarkable women, two rival families, and vulnerable reporter Dan Anderson. One element overshadows everything—Jo Dell Tomlinson’s first burial place, an abandoned well, her body coated in slimy mud. No one will forgive that.

A great read even before I realized that this novel is essentially true and took place in a sleepy part of Alabama that I am pretty familiar with. With that lightning bolt discovery, I spent the remainder of the book trying to discover who, in fact, the main characters really are (or were). The challenges that all these families faced through three trials were and still are amazing, and the assignment of covering two of the three trials by a then cub reporter was not only a career opener for him, but was the basis of a great new book for us. GRUESOME! is terrific. I couldn't put it down.

I was kept on the edge of my seat. The more I read the more I didn't want to put down. To those of you that read, I hope you get enjoyment and those that choose not to read, you will always wonder if that was a good choice or not. Don't be like that, read! I do believe in innocent til proven guilty!

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