Lansing’s only true crime bookstore, Deadtime Stories, is moving from Old Town to REO Town this month. On March 27, Deadtime is holding a grand opening event — including a ribbon-cutting ceremony and serial killer-shaped cookies — to celebrate the transition.
Deadtime opened shop in the basement of Thrift Witch last year amid the pandemic. The shop’s success led owner Jenn Carpenter to look for a bigger storefront.
“We did really well in our Old Town location, but anyone who’s been there knows that we were in a really small space,” Carpenter said. “We’re fortunate that we did well enough that we needed to expand, have some more space, carry some more books.”
The store carries a plethora of true crime and paranormal books, with a focus on Michigan’s dark history. “I want you to be able to walk into my store and ask for any book about Michigan true crime. And I was us to have it in stock, no matter how obscure,” said Carpenter.
A veteran of the local true crime scene herself, Carpenter is the author of the book “Haunted Lansing” and the founder of Demented Mitten Tours, which offers customers a guided journey through the creepiest locations in Michigan.
Using her connections in the true crime community, Carpenter scheduled a series of book signings set to take place throughout this April. Rod Sadler, author of the “Killing Women” series, and Judge Rosemary Aquilina, who presided over the Nassar case, are just a sampling of the guests that Deadtime has on the schedule.
“She can’t write about that trial, obviously. But what some people don’t know is that she also writes crime novels,” said Carpenter. She plans to host a reading or signing at least every other weekend for the foreseeable future.
Despite the expansion, Deadtime is going to stay true to its roots as a safe haven for the morbidly curious.
“It’s definitely still going to be a quaint little bookstore,” said Carpenter. She acknowledged that starting a new business in a pandemic may seem like a bad idea. In the world of Amazon and Audible, the experience of browsing an independent, niche bookstore almost feels anachronistic.
“You can get your books instantly now. You don’t even have to leave your house,” lamented Carpenter. “So, my goal is to make this a place that people want to go to because there are cool things to do and see.”
As someone who was raised in South Lansing, REO Town holds a special place in Carpenter’s heart. She has fond memories of sitting in the car on the way back from family vacations — waiting to see Wynken, Blynken and Nod because it meant she was almost home.
Now, Lansing’s famous smokestacks sit right behind her shop.
“There’s so much cool stuff to do here,” said Carpenter. “Opening up the shop in REO Town kinda felt like coming home to me. It’s cool.”
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