The author's grandfather, Allen J. Nieber, is the inspiration for her first novel, Another Chance to Die, historical fiction set in Detroit during the tumultuous, danger-filled Prohibition years.
Michigan has been endowed with many outstanding newspapermen, but few acted or looked like the role Hollywood created for them with more commanding presence than Allen J. Nieber of The Detroit News.
Tall, tough-talking and ham-fisted at the typewriter, he wore snap-brimmed hats and snapped out questions like a prosecutor whether interviewing governors or escaped convicts. He intimidated both sorts into honest answers, just as he would later first instill fear of failure in cub reporters working for him – followed by a slavish devotion to a boss who had done it all before them, usually better.
Born in Detroit in 1903 and educated at Central High School, Mr. Nieber came to the News staff just after the start of Prohibition and for ten years covered the often-bloody struggle for domination of Detroit’s illegal liquor business. Much of this was centered in the downriver suburbs of River Rouge and Ecorse, where his impartial reporting gained him the respect of police and lawbreakers alike. In fact, pick nearly any major story that occurred during the first three decades of his career and chances are “By Allen J Nieber” appeared on it. Such a reputation led to promotion, first to city editor in 1952 and then assistant to the managing editor in 1962, six years before his retirement.
Monday, May 18, 1981 The Detroit News Page 3-B
Allen Nieber (right) on the beat during Prohibition.