Phenix City resident publishes first novel

By Tyania Freeney

This summer, local Phenix City resident Rex Luther will publish his first book: a graphic novel entitled A Soldier’s Guide to Surviving 14th Street in Phenix City. It will be available for pre-order from April 14-May 14 on 

The novel takes the reader back in time to relive some of the most notorious scenes in Phenix City, during a period when drugs, prostitution, gambling and a host of other immoral acts ran so rampant that the city earned the nickname, “Sin City.” Luther describes the book as a compilation of first-person interviews that tell the story. He further researched Phenix City’s history through public records. He also used Edwin Strickland and Gene Wortsman’s book, Phenix City: The Wickedest City in America, which was published in 1955. 

The entire book was illustrated by Luther himself. For two years he worked on learning how to generate illustrations using computer software that he was unfamiliar with, and ultimately he is very pleased with the finished product. “I am excited for people to get to read my book, and I feel that the illustrations are top notch.”

Luther’s inspiration for writing this book has been brewing for a long time.  Born and raised in Phenix City, Luther says that he has always been interested in the city’s history because there are still so many mysteries. His curiosity first began back when he was a child. “Nobody talks about anything,” he said. “I remember asking my grandmother about the buildings on 14th Street. I asked why they were empty. She never gave me the answers to all of my questions because I was only 6 years old.” 

The book avoids delving too deeply into politics; however, the accounts begin one month before the assassination of Attorney General-Elect Albert Patterson. Luther describes this as the time when the city was at its wildest. For Luther, it is important for this story to be told. “I am passionate about telling this story because if we don’t remember our past, we could be doomed to repeat it,” he said. 

To pre-order a copy, go to during the book campaign period, from April 14-May 14.