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Furious Hours
Furious Hours: Harper Lee and an Unfinished Story of Race, Religion, and Murder in the Deep South | Casey N. Cep
The stunning true story of an Alabama serial killer, and the case that obsessed the author of To Kill a Mockingbird in the years after the publication of her classic novel--a complicated and difficult time in Harper Lee's life that, until now, has been largely neglected. The Reverend Willie Maxwell was a Baptist preacher in rural Alabama who was accused of murdering his first wife in 1970. Over the next seven years, his second wife, his brother, and his nephew all died under suspicious circumstances, too--each with life insurance policies taken out by the Reverend himself. With the help of a savvy lawyer, Tom Radney, Maxwell escaped justice for years, to the dismay and confusion of locals, who came to believe that the Reverend was also a practitioner of voodoo. Then, in 1977, the teenage daughter of his third wife was also murdered. At her funeral, the victim's uncle shot and killed the Reverend in a chapel full of witnesses--and was subsequently acquitted, thanks to Radney, the same lawyer who had represented the Reverend for all those years, and whose previous career as a liberal politician had already made him infamous around the state. Sitting in the audience during that trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Now, Casey Cep brings this nearly inconceivable, gripping story to life on the page: from the shocking murders and the chicanery of insurance fraud to the courtroom drama and the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, it is a vividly told, elegiac account of Harper Lee's quest to write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird, and a deeply moving portrait of this beloved writer's struggle with fame, success, and the mysteries of artistic creativity.
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review
ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

Hmmmm. The title of this book made me expect something different to what I read here. Although separately interesting, the three parts of this narrative (the story of the murders Maxwell is suspected of committing, the investigation into these crimes, and a sort of biography of Harper Lee loosely framed by her interest in Maxwell‘s story) didn‘t really hang together as a coherent whole.

33 likes1 stack add
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vivastory
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Michael_Gee Thanks for sharing! 1y
62 likes1 comment
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BlueMoonJ
Pickpick

So..it was really good. Just very different than what I was expecting. More of a veiled Harper Lee biography that the author used true crime in the beginning 1/3 of the book to hook you in...and then just a biography after that with a few references back to the crime and trial thrown in their. I really enjoyed it, it was well written, just seems a bit like false advertising. #furioushours #harperlee #truecrime

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Singout
Mehso-so

This was intriguing: the intersection of a mass murder with the life and work of Harper Lee and her relationship with Truman Capote. It didn‘t completely hold together, or directly address racism issues as much as I wanted, but gave me insights into two significant writers as well as Alabama culture. It was going to be my #Nonfiction2020 “Law” prompt but I‘ll make it my free space for #Nonfiction2021: it doesn‘t fit any of the other categories!

Riveted_Reader_Melissa That works! Sorry it wasn‘t exactly what you were looking for, their relationship was fascinating. 2y
Singout Yes! I just felt it came apart in the last few chapters--maybe bc it fell apart for Lee. I want to learn more about Capote now--all I've read is the powerful Christmas Memory story.
2y
9 likes2 comments
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Singout

Look for the headstone that reads “Lee” and the four modest markers in front of it. Many things could be carved into the one on the far left, but if you brush aside the things that always seem to accumulate on top of it, you‘ll find that the engraving doesn‘t say “Pulitzer Prize Winner” or “Author of ‘To Killl a Mockingbird.‘” It doesn‘t even say “writer. It says only “Nell Harper Lee.”

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readswellwithothers
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Pickpick

Excellent! A bit of true-crime about which I knew nothing, a bit of Nelle Harper Lee about whom I knew too little (for example, that her name was Nelle), and overall an excellently told, wonderfully narrated, story (or three stories, really!) that I found myself eager to get back to when life got in the way of listening. Highly recommend!

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Wife
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Pickpick

This was almost 3 books in 1. The story of a Southern Preacher/Serial Killer, the Lawyer that defended him, and Harper Lee‘s interest in turning the story into a book. Meticulous detail interferes with readability for me. I pushed through and really enjoyed the section on Harper Lee. Veeeeeery interesting woman. 3/5💀s There is another book about this that I enjoyed more on audiobook called The Devil and Harper Lee (tagged below)

Wife Sorry, couldn‘t tag🙁. But I found it on Scribd. 3y
Wife BTW the lawyer that defended the serial killer also defended the killer of the serial killer. 3y
Bookwormjillk I never heard of The Devil and Harper Lee. Another one to add to my list! 3y
55 likes1 stack add3 comments
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crhealey
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Looking forward to this long weekend so I can finally get into this one. I‘ve been stuck in the first couple of chapters all throughout this busy busy week I‘ve had! #weekendreads

charl08 Really good! 3y
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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crhealey
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A day crammed with substituting as my staff is hit with the stomach bug! World War I in 8th grade history, ancient Egypt in 6th grade history and background reading for To Kill a Mockingbird in 8th grade English (I call it background reading but really it‘s just for me lol). #teachersofLitsy

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Daisey
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this book, but I will qualify my review in that I‘m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much completely on its own. I started it immediately after In Cold Blood and the chapters about Lee‘s research with Capote on that case and his writing were the most interesting to me. The other case was interesting, but there really isn‘t a full resolution, to the case or the story of her own true crime book.

#ReadColdBlood #audiobook #nonfiction

Daisey Also it was a beautiful afternoon for an #audiowalk with Eleanor. 3y
67 likes1 comment
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Daisey
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#BookReport
I finished In Cold Blood & a book for my #CovertoCover postal book group.

#CurrentlyReading
🎧 I downloaded Furious Hours to see what it included about Harper Lee‘s work with Capote.
🎧 Switching the nonfiction with Cat‘s Eye sometimes
📖 Getting close to finishing Sauron Defeated with #FellowshipofTolkien

#WeeklyForecast
I hope to finish the books I‘m currently reading. I may or may not get to the upcoming depending on mood.

Cinfhen Looks like some good reads this week 🤩 3y
JazzFeathers I finished Sauron Defeated yesterday night. Although the difficult parts, l really enjoyed it. 3y
Daisey @JazzFeathers I have about 30 pages left and hope to make time for them today. I‘m not sure I would say I enjoyed all of it, but I can appreciate it and am glad to have read it. 3y
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Daisey
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Chapter 18 is all about the time Lee spent with Capote doing research for In Cold Blood. According to this chapter, at the end of their time in Kansas she provided him with over 150 pages of detailed notes, much of this being information he may not have been able to gather on his own from people more inclined to talk to her than to him.

#ReadColdBlood

Daisey @merelybookish @batsy @Texreader @readordierachel @Suet624 Thought you might be specifically interested in this detail. 3y
Daisey Chapter 20 mentions inaccuracies and fictionalized aspects of In Cold Blood. (edited) 3y
charl08 I don't understand why she didn't get a writing credit. 3y
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Daisey @charl08 This book also mentions that Lee did not appreciate Capote‘s straying from the facts of the the story. It makes me wonder if maybe that played a part. 3y
merelybookish Wow! That's no small contribution! Any idea who might have talked to her and not him? (It did interest me to imagine the response to aesthete eccentric Capote in Holcomb society.) 3y
Daisey @merelybookish I tagged you in my previous post that has excerpted material from the book. It sums up any other quotes I would share pretty well. 3y
readordierachel That's practically a book right there! 3y
batsy That's a pretty substantial contribution! I agree with @charl08 it feels like a co-authored book. I'm definitely going to have to read this soon! 3y
Daisey @readordierachel @batsy Absolutely! From the description, these were also very detailed notes and even included diagrams. Additionally, I found it interesting she took notes during the trial, but he did not. 3y
41 likes9 comments
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B.Reader
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Just started listening today and am completely hooked. Listened while eating at a restaurant and got some weird looks...who knew that the history of life insurance would be so compelling?!? #booklife

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Bookwormjillk
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book. It‘s a true story about a series of crimes in Alabama and how they impact the alleged killer, an attorney, and Harper Lee.

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Readaholics
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t expecting much from this book and was pleasantly surprised. The author does a fantastic job of weaving history, backstory and speculation in a good balanced pace. It‘s basically an investigation into why Harper Lee ( the south‘s #1 author) spent a year following a court case of murder and insurance fraud and then never wrote a book. After extensive research, she didn‘t publish anything. It goes into her Truman Capote friendship as well.

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Mitch
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Todays a day for reading under the shade of the trees. Just need ice cream now!

AmyG That looks just lovely. 3y
tjwill Beautiful! 3y
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julesG You have a beautiful home. 3y
Mitch @julesG Ahhh - thank you xxx 3y
sudi That is a lovely house. 3y
Mitch @sudi ahh. Thank you! It‘s old and quirky and none of the walls are straight but it‘s home 💕 3y
85 likes7 comments
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Mitch
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Lunch in the sun today. 👍🏼

AbhisekBasu ☠️ Love reading short horror stories? Please check out the SCARIEST BOOK you'll read this year. Link is in my bio! Buy it and leave the lights on, tonight. ☠️ 3y
66 likes1 comment
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wildwoodreads
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Ready for this feeling. Come on fall. 🍂🍂🍂

brit91 Yes can't wait for fall!!😍💖🍂🍂🍂 3y
Clwojick 🌻 😂 😂 3y
91 likes3 comments
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mdemanatee
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The upside of all I have been working is I could finally get my libro.fm subscription. First listen.

10 likes2 stack adds
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Pedrocamacho
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Pickpick

The portion of the book that addresses the case of Reverend Maxwell, his crimes, his lawyer, and his murderer are simply bananas and make the book well worth it. The portion that addresses Harper Lee is best characterized as a short biography, and not a bad one. While Cep does speak to Lee‘s struggles with writing her book “The Reverend”, it fizzles somewhat. Overall, this is a fun read that leaves one wishing that Lee could have finished.

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EmMcKee

"Nothing writes itself. Left to its own devices, the world will never transform into words, and no matter how many pages of notes and documents a reporting trip generates, the one that matters most always starts out blank."

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LyndseyReads
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Pickpick

Finished listening to this a few weeks ago on a trip. A great mix of southern political history and literary biography. Must read for Lee aficionados!

rather_be_reading ive been debating reading this. glad to see a good review 3y
LyndseyReads @rather_be_reading Harper Lee doesn‘t show up until the last third and it doesn‘t give completely clear answers, but I found her weaving of true crime history with Lee‘s life to be very compelling. 3y
11 likes2 comments
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Breanne1
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So many people are enjoying this one and I am a DNF on this. Sigh...maybe I‘ll revisit it down the road.

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ChrisBohjalian
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Velvet loves this book — as do I.

rubyslippersreads 😻😻😻 3y
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10MoreMin
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Best description of Alabama:"The state sits like a headstone between Missippi and Georgia, its top flush against Tennessee, its base resting mostly on the panhandle of Florida, but dipping at its tip into the Gulf of Mexico."

Now that is how to write.

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OutsmartYourShelf
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Pickpick

A book examining Harper Lee‘s investigation of the rumours surrounding the murder of Rev Willie Maxwell. Rumours that Maxwell was a killer.

The first half was a compelling read, I felt the second half wasn‘t quite as gripping. A fascinating book with some truly larger than life characters. 4🌟

Thanks to NetGalley & publishers, Random House UK / Cornerstone / William Heinemann, for the opportunity to review an ARC. #NetGalley

Hestapleton I‘m about to pick this one up at my library! 4y
OutsmartYourShelf @Hestapleton It‘s definitely worth reading. Enjoy! 4y
18 likes2 comments
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kyraleseberg
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It's finally here!!!! 😍😍😍
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy but now I have a physical copy in my hands on publication day 🎉, along with the bookmark Casey sent me a few months ago!

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kyraleseberg
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Pickpick

I cannot stop recommending this book!! It's a captivating look at Harper Lee's desire to write a true crime novel of her own after helping Truman Capote with IN COLD BLOOD. Casey Cep presents the compelling case of the Alabama serial killer that fascinated Lee while offering insight into the author's closely guarded private life.

My review is featured on Roots & Reads:
https://rootsandreads.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/review-furious-hours/

19 likes4 stack adds
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kyraleseberg
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I haven't even counted up my book total for March but these were my absolute favorites of the month, in no particular order.
My most anticipated read was FURIOUS HOURS, which exceeded all my expectations!

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kyraleseberg
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Pickpick

The mysteries of Harper Lee's life and work have fascinated me for years. I can't begin to describe the level of excitement I experienced when I learned that someone had researched those mysteries and found a true crime story at the center of that!
FURIOUS HOURS is both a compelling true crime story and candid look into the life of Harper Lee as she attempted to write a second novel.
Endless thanks to Knopf for an ARC to review!

24 likes1 stack add
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kyraleseberg
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There are no words for how excited I am about this book!!! 😍😍😍😍😍

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kyraleseberg
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I recently connected with the author on Twitter and was thrilled to receive a handwritten note in the mail from her. She's so kind!
I can't wait to read this true crime novel that also covers the involvement of TKAM author Harper Lee!

27 likes1 stack add
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kyraleseberg
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I did some silent screaming when I saw this added to #NetGalley today. This is definitely my most highly anticipated read of the spring. I really hope I can get an ARC but either way, it's pre-ordered!

Reviewsbylola I just wished for this on Netgalley. 🤞🏻🤞🏻 It sounds great! 4y
23 likes1 stack add1 comment
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LauraBeth
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I don‘t read a lot of true crime but I‘m here for this!

- Murder
- Courtroom drama
- Racial politics in the Deep South
- A beloved author who was trying to write her own gothic true crime novel (like her good friend Truman Capote did)

Pub Date: May 7

Cinfhen Sounds good!!! #Stacked 4y
TNbookworm Oh wow! This sounds amazing! 4y
sprainedbrain Oooooh! This sounds awesome. 4y
91 likes6 stack adds3 comments