Archive for June 1st, 2019

Furious Hours

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

By Casey Cep

The Short Take:

This absorbing non-fiction book debuts an author who knows how to keep you turning those pages. It includes a string of maybe-murders, the audacious trial of the man who killed the maybe-murderer, and Harper Lee’s efforts to write a true crime book worthy of the name. And it satisfies on every level

Why?

Cep has taken a sprawling fraud and murder case and made it thrilling and completely fascinating. What’s particularily interesting about this is that Harper Lee set out to do the same thing but struggled with the details for ages and ultimately quit. Lee’s research and ensuing doomed efforts play a big role in this book but it is Cep’s masterful storytelling that keeps you engaged.

The book is divided into three parts, with overlapping elements the advance the story. The first concerns Reverend Willie Maxwell. Several of his family members met with suspicious deaths and every single one of them was heavily insured — by the Reverend. The second section revolves around Tom Radney, the lawyer who helped the Reverend collect his death benefits but also defended the man who shot him.

The last section is devoted to Harper Lee, but is not limited to her interest in this trial. Cep covers her whole like, including the writing of her one novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. In particular, her contributions to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood are covered in length, and they are eye-opening.

Another thing that makes this book particularly rich and interesting is Cep’s inclusion of important background information, like predatory insurance sales practices and the voodoo religion. She gives you the whole story, and what a great story it is.

A Little Plot:

The dashing Reverend Willie Watson takes out a lot of life insurance policies on family members. A number of them die mysteriously. Even though he’s a black man in 1970s Alabama, he stays free. Is it voodoo?

Navigation

    Want to be notified when there is a new post? Sign up to the RSS feeds below
  • Entries

Archives

June 2019
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Other