Fictional Text: Redheaded Peckerwood by Christian Patterson

Redheaded Peckerwood is a book by Christian Patterson based on a true crime story of teen serial killers “Charles Starkweather”, a 20 years old boy from Nebraska and his 14 years old girlfriend “Caril Fugate” who murdered 10 people.

The book is very disturbing yet a beautiful narrative tragic story.  Patterson included documents, and objects that belong to the killers and their victims such as maps, poems, confession letter, stuffed animal and others.  His book is very intriguing and provokes emotions.  It gives the viewer the chance to be more curious as it reveals bits and pieces of the crime.

Patterson followed the trail of the duo serial killers across Nebraska and documented every landscape, building, murder sites, personal letters and talked to local people, police officers and strangers.

©Christian Patterson

Patterson started his project by reading everything that is written about this crime story, he watched every film that dealt with the story, basically everything that is related to this crime.  He explained that:

“The book is a reflection of this process. Its photographs, documents and objects are often highly specific and true to the story but are at other times highly interpretative and subjective”.

The story is part factual such as the documents, details and discoveries and part fictive as in some photographs, paintings and shotgun blast as it is made up by the artist.

Redheaded Peckerwood is presented as a visual mysterious puzzle with clues for the viewer to connect and solve.

Christian Patterson talks about Redheaded Peckerwood

Bibliography / References:

Augschöll, D.,  Jasbar, A.  Interview with Christian Patterson [online]. Ahorn Magazine. Available from: [Accessed 6 March, 2017].

Christian Patterson.  Redheaded Peckerwood  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 6 March, 2017].

MACK. Christian Patterson Redheaded Peckerwood [online]. MACK. Available from: [Accessed 6 March, 2017].

Sean O’Hagan. Christian Patterson Goes on The Trial of America’s Natural Bown Killers  [online]. The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 6 March, 2017].


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