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Local News

Park City Author’s New Book Tells Story, Lessons Learned From Traumatic Events

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Ashley Elliott, author
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A new book by Park City author Ashley Elliott came out this week. It’s a true crime story based on her past.

Ashley Elliott’s The Devil In Disguise began selling Friday. The self-described author-advocate says it’s based on memories that still trouble her.

“The story is about the murder of my father and one of my very good friends and the kidnapping of my mother and my involvement with the criminal justice system for at least a decade, minimum,” she says.

She wrote in collaboration with another writer, Michael Coffino from California. She says this helped the process of getting the story onto paper.

“I got to be emotional during the process and feel a lot of the feelings I wanted to have, and he got to be logical. He really was both a co-author and a therapist at the same time,” Elliott says.

Her life changed after the crimes against her loved ones occurred. She was 25 and living in Salt Lake City at the time.

Part of the story takes place in Conway, Arkansas, where Elliott grew up. That’s where her dad, a prominent local businessman, became a victim of the first double homicide ever there.

Weeks later in Salt Lake City, her mother was kidnapped from her home and taken to Nevada.

Much of the book follows Elliott’s experience in the aftermath of these crimes. She describes the decade that followed as a “rollercoaster” with how the United States Department of Justice handled her case, all while she dealt with trauma.

Her book is a way she shares those experiences, as well as what she’s learned from them. Having fought for justice in her family’s cases at multiple levels of government, she’s seen firsthand that it matters who’s making the decisions.

“For people who aren’t aware of the criminal justice system, it doesn’t matter until something happens to you or two a family and you find yourself as a victim of a crime,” she says. “You’re essentially a pawn for the criminal justice system, because that’s the way it’s structured. So, I would encourage people to get involved and find out who your prosecuting attorneys are, who your judges are. They have to be held accountable, and the only people who are going to hold them accountable are the victims of the crimes and the media. So, stay involved. Be active.”

On the evening of October 8, Elliott will be at Dolly’s Books in Park City. In addition to signing book copies, she says she hopes to hold a reading, and she looks forward to meeting people in the area.