susan taylor chehak

Publications

Nonfiction
At the time of her death in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, during the summer of 1970, eighteen-year-old Paula Oberbroeckling was a beautiful leggy blonde who dreamed of becoming a model. She disappeared in the early morning hours of July 11th, after she'd borrowed her roommate's car to go off on an unspecified errand. She was barefoot and dressed in a sky-blue nightgown with matching panties. The next morning, the roommate's car was found parked in a no parking zone near a grocery store, and Paula was gone. Four months later, a pair of young brothers who were on a hike along the railroad tracks down by the Cedar River came upon some human remains and homicide detectives were called in. While rumors flew, the ensuing police investigation brought no conclusive answer to what had happened to Paula. All these many years later, the case remains unsolved.
Short Stories
Read the whole story online, at Blue Lake Review.
Online at Conte: A Journal of Narrative Writing
Included in a new anthology from SeedpodPress
Read it in the Winter 2013 issue of Permafrost
read it in the summer 2013 issue of Grey Sparrow Journal
Now available at Amarillo Bay
Now available at Necessary Fiction: Part One and Part Two
Now available at Juked
read it in the Spring 2012 issue of Folio by subscribing HERE
available online at Folly
read it in the Spring 2011 issue of Coe Review by subscribing HERE
read it on your Kindle, or your Kindle App
Fiction
“[Chehak's] ambitiously imaginative novel questions the very nature of reality… [a] diverting exploration of metaphysical concepts. Winsome and smartly playful.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Chehak's prose provides a seamless, calm flow to a novel whose elements of love and murder ripple enticingly, fully surfacing only gently, only eventually, in the most satisfying kind of storytelling." -Booklist
"Haunting . . . Clodine Wheeler is the bemused narrator who strings together brilliant beads of descriptive phrases as she sorts through her memories . . . Chehak skillfully depicts small-town meanness and ironic generosity . . . . Her mesmerizing tale has classic resonances." – Publishers Weekly
"A dark tale of obsession among the posh ranks of a midwestern town... Chehak's poetic style exposes the passionate longings beneath the mannered sterling-and-crystal patina of Cedar Hill life; she renders both violence and love with an unflinching eye and casts a mournful spell." -Vogue
"Chehak is a very accomplished storyteller, always in control of her narrative, which moves ahead with grace and speed. But it's not only the plot that matters to this writer. It's the telling little details, particularly of teenage angst and of domestic life that makes the novel rich... SMITHEREENS is a novel fully worthy of the title thriller. It's hard to put down. It has a kind of dark allure." - The Los Angeles Times
“In Susan Taylor Chehak’s skilled hands, Iowa becomes the seething, steamy setting for a tale of pure evil… This is a marvelous, creepy story.” -The Kansas City Star
Online Projects

What's New

What Happened To Paula: The Anatomy of a True Crime

February 24, 2012


anatomy n [LL anatomia dissection, fr. GK anatomē, fr. Anatemnein to dissect, fr. ana- + temnein to cut – more at TOME] 1 : a branch of morphology that deals with the structure of organisms 2 : a treatise on anatomic science or art 3 : the art of separating the parts of an animal or plant in order to ascertain theirposition, relations, structure, and function : DISSECTION 4 obs : a body dissected or to be dissected 5 : structural makeup esp. of an organism or any of its parts 6 : a separating or dividing into parts for detailed examination : ANALYSIS 7 a (1) : SKELETON (2) : MUMMY b : the human body

…I asked myself – “Of all melancholy topics, what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most melancholy?” Death – was the obvious reply. “And when,” I said, “is this most melancholy of topics most poetical?” … the answer, here also, is obvious – “When it most closely allies itself to Beauty: The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world …” –Edgar Allan Poe, The Philosophy of Composition

See the whole story here: http://www.whathappenedtopaula.com/