Death of a Dream

“A captivating and vivid memoir” — Sam Roberts, The New York Times

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Synopsis: Catherine Woods had a dream. So did the men in her life — Paul Cortez and David Haughn. And they all might have achieved what they were shooting for if only the three of them never met.

Catherine moved by herself to New York City from Columbus, Ohio, when she was just 17 years old. She was obsessed with making it as a Broadway dancer and seemed to have the talent to get there. But the city is full of young women like Catherine and she struggled. In order to make money, she began dancing in gentlemen’s clubs like Flash Dancers and Privilege. It was good money and it paid the rent and there was enough left over for dance and voice lessons, head shots and everything else required to make it in the arts in New York.

Paul was a native of New York. He grew up in a working class family in the Bronx but he was so smart and talented that he won scholarships to the finest schools. At 17 years old, handsome Paul starred in an independent film with veteran actor Eli Wallach. At Northeastern University, he was often the lead in the school’s productions. When he graduated, he began going to acting auditions but soon became the lead singer of a rock band where he made good use of all the poetry and lyrics he’d written over the years.

Catherine Woods

David was from Catherine’s hometown of Columbus and had led a very hard life. His drug-addicted mother separated from David’s father early and David and his sister were tossed into the foster care system. It wasn’t until David was a young man that he found his voice and began recording rap songs. He made CD’s and met Catherine while trying to sell them in the parking lot of a club. It wasn’t long before he was living with her in New York, a constant presence by her side.

Paul and Catherine’s paths crossed at a gym where Catherine was working out and where Paul was working as a personal trainer. He soon became obsessed with Catherine’s beauty and began calling her repeatedly. She was drawn to him at first but her interest faded. She already had David who supported Catherine and never judged her.

Paul, a devotee of yoga, meditation and the Hindu religion, wasn’t like that. He pestered Catherine to stop working in strip clubs and got involved in her life in ways that annoyed her. She tried to ignore Paul but he wouldn’t be ignored and over the Thanksgiving weekend of 2005, everything came to a head between Catherine, Paul, and David. When it was all over, Catherine was dead and the police had two excellent suspects, two men to whom Catherine meant everything. Did one of them kill her to keep her away from the other?

“Death of a Dream” is the story of obsessive love, unrepentant rage, and murder. The book, written by two veteran crime reporters, will take you through the story, from the time Catherine first met Paul and David to her murder and the trial of the man who killed her.

A story complete with interviews of everyone involved, including jury members who had to make the toughest decision of their lives.