Dillow, Gordon

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DILLOW, Gordon

PERSONAL:

Married; wife's name Tule. Education: University of Montana, B.A., 1977.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Orange County, CA. Office—Orange County Register, 625 N. Grand Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and Journalist. Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA, regional reporter, Metro columnist, war correspondent embedded with the First Marine Division stationed in Kuwait and Iraq, 2003; Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Los Angeles, CA, reporter, war correspondent in Nicaragua, 1980s; Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, reporter; Brownsville Herald, Brownsville, TX, reporter; Missoulian, Missoula, MT, reporter.

WRITINGS:

(With William J. Rehder) Where the Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2003.

SIDELIGHTS:

Gordon Dillow is a veteran reporter living in California's Orange County. He is a 1977 graduate of the Missoula School of Journalism at the University of Montana. He was a reporter for the Missoulian and for the Brownsville Herald before settling in California where he worked variously for both the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Dillow served for two years in the military on overseas duty in South Vietnam and Germany. In the late 1980s, he was a war correspondent covering the Nicaragua war for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

More recently, Dillow took a break from his duties as the Metro columnist for the Orange County Register when he was sent overseas to cover the War in Iraq. He and photographer Mark Avery were war correspondents embedded with the First Division of the Fifth Marine Regiment fighting in southern Iraq. Dillow posted stories from the Middle East nearly daily between March 7, 2003, and April 13, 2003. They were on the front from the beginning; when U.S. troops moved into Iraq, Dillow was on the seventh vehicle to actually roll across the border. According to Jessie Childress writing for the Montana Kaimin, Dillow's stories were "full of wind-blown sand, worries of the troops and war developments." Dillow posted one of his most memorable reports from the war front on March 23 when he described the first death of a U.S. soldier in the war. "Wildly shooting an AK-47 out the window, the Iraqis wounded a Marine in the stomach. Second Lieutenant Therrel 'Shane' Childers, 30, of Harrison, Miss., died soon after.… The Marines later lamented that one of their own had been killed in what was essentially a drive-by shooting.…"

Soon after Dillow's return from the Middle East in 2003, Norton published Where the Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World, a true-crime book that reads like fiction. Gordon Dillow and retired L.A. FBI agent William J. Rehder collaborated to write this book that chronicles Rehder's thirty-plus years spent studying and jailing modern-day bank robbers. The book is written in a light, first-person style that reveals Dillow's talent as a writer and showcases Rehder's fascinating experiences.

"Who knew bank robberies could be so interesting?" wrote Karen Sandlin Silverman in the Library Journal. Gilbert Taylor in a Booklist review called the narrative "slangy, streetwise swagger" and predicted that "denizens of true-crime literature will relish [the] undertone of humorous contempt for the stupidity of criminals stymied by time locks, exploding die packs, and silent alarms." According to St. Louis Post Dispatch reviewer Steve Weinberg, "There is enough material … to spawn another night of television's longest-running crime drama.… Could Law & Order: Bank Robbery Squad be next?"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of Where the Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World, p. 1717.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of Where the Money Is, p. 737.

Library Journal, June 15, 2003, Karen Sandlin Silverman, review of Where the Money Is, p. 89.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 30, 2003, Steve Weinberg, review of Where the Money Is.

Seattle Times, August 31, 2003, Bradley Meacham, review of Where the Money Is.

ONLINE

LA Observed,http://www.laobserved.com/ (August 19, 2003), review of Where the Money Is.

Montana Kaimin,http://www.umt.edu/ (April 9, 2003), Jessie Childress, UM Journalism Graduates Covering War from Iraq.*