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Furious Hours
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee | Casey 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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teainthelibrary

On Nelle Harper Lee aka me: “She wouldn‘t wear hats or makeup, and she didn‘t dance or date; she smoked constantly, stayed awake all night reading the Victorians, and cursed like the boys her classmates‘ mothers warned them about.” 🖤

batsy 😍 3d
28 likes1 comment
review
mklong
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Pickpick

The first half of this lays out the story of Rev. Maxwell, a suspected serial killer in 1970's Alabama, without much style or fanfare. This choice makes more sense in the second half where she explores Harper Lee's investigation and decision not to publish a book about the case. If Cep had tried to write about the case with any kind of flair, it would be hard for a reader not to compare her choices with what could have been if Lee had written it.

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frenky_muller
Pickpick

Finished. It was entertaining. And at the same time like... like... mmm... i was like kid on swings. Whoosh - and can't stop reading, whoosh - and can't even turn the page.
And also it was like three lil books under one cover. Author tried to intersect them but mostly they were running on parallel lines. But entertaining.

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MallenNC
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Pickpick

This book has three distinct parts -- if you're looking for Harper Lee, she appears in the opening and then not again until the third section. The case of The Reverend Willie Maxwell is more than enough to keep the reader interested. I appreciated that Casey Cep lets each part build its own momentum. There are a few mysteries in this - including why Harper Lee never wrote another book. It's a fascinating look at her painful writing process.

26 likes3 stack adds
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Pruzy
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Pickpick

Wow! This is one of the best books I‘ve read in 2019! If you thought Harper Lee called it quits on writing after finishing To Kill a Mockingbird, you‘d be wrong! Partly a biography of Lee, partly a true crime story of “The Reverend”, which was the focus of Lee‘s 2nd book (that she never finished)and partly a legal thriller. I empathize with Lee‘s struggles after Mockingbird, and wow, I‘d consider visiting Alabama (crazy politics aside)!

megzlynn Come visit! I live here and love everything except the state government lol. 😂 5d
LibrarianJen You‘ve got me sold! On the book part, not so sure on Alabama... 5d
Pruzy @megzlynn Sounds like a solid endorsement of Alabama to me! 5d
See All 6 Comments
Pruzy @LibrarianJen That‘s 100% understandable 5d
LeahBergen I‘m looking forward to this one! 4d
Pruzy @LeahBergen I‘m in a book hangover from it! I don‘t know what to read next...time to stare at my shelves. 4d
65 likes6 stack adds6 comments
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Pam.Kokomo
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Pickpick

A look at the case Harper Lee tried to write about for years before handing all her work back to the family.

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britt_brooke
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Part murderous true crime, part Harper Lee biography, this book dips a toe in some fascinating southern history. Initially, I wanted more Rev Maxwell and more Lee, but Cep accomplished what she intended. To go further in depth would‘ve yielded too much information for one book. Impact would‘ve been lost. This well-written account is organized in distinct parts. For me, this worked, but I can see how some might prefer more commingling.

WellReadCatLady Just put this book on hold! 7d
britt_brooke @WellReadCatLady I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 6d
Reviewsbylola Def stacking! 5d
See All 6 Comments
Pruzy I was amazed that Lee was still writing essentially the whole time after Mockingbird was published...definitely not something they taught in high school! 4d
britt_brooke @Pruzy I was surprised, too, but now it makes total sense. I want to get my hands on a full-on Lee biography now. 4d
Pruzy @britt_brooke Or a book of her letters! Seems like that would be where her literary output post Mockingbird would be found 4d
100 likes8 stack adds6 comments
blurb
Carleneishere
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Summer stacation in Alabama

Bklover Staycations are wonderful!! Enjoy! 1w
teainthelibrary I'm also reading this - it's pretty fantastic! 1w
Pruzy If that is a mint based alcoholic beverage next to you, sign me up! 4d
Carleneishere Sadly, I‘m dieting, so it‘s like sparkling water with ice and tequila 4d
13 likes4 comments
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jfount
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Pickpick

An intriguing book about things that can‘t be known, really. It‘s not just about a murder case, or why Harper Lee only wrote one book, or even just the south and how outsiders and natives do or don‘t understand it. It‘s about all those things together and separately I guess I‘d say.

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MallenNC
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I work at a college and when #SchoolsOut for students we get half-day Fridays. It‘s rainy here today so I‘m spending the afternoon reading. This book is great! #SongsofSummer

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Yay!!! 📚❤️ 1w
OriginalCyn620 I love to stay inside and read when it‘s raining out! 😊 1w
39 likes1 stack add2 comments
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teainthelibrary
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Good morning! ☀️☕️ I‘m ridiculously excited to start this one today! Anyone else read it or have it stacked?! 📚

LeahBergen I‘ll be buying this one. 👍🏻 2w
marleed Stacked to read! 2w
Theaelizabet Read it, liked it! 2w
See All 7 Comments
teainthelibrary @Theaelizabet I‘m about halfway through - really enjoying it! 6d
Pruzy I read and and very thoroughly enjoyed it! How are you finding it? 4d
teainthelibrary @Pruzy super good so far! I can't wait to get to the parts about Harper Lee 🙂 3d
Pruzy @teainthelibrary It‘s definitely as good if not better than the other parts! 2d
40 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
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Pickpick

One of my favorite reads of the year!!! This book tells the stories of (1) a preacher turned serial killer (2) his lawyer who represented the preacher and then represented his vigilante killer and (3) Harper Lee, her career and her time investigating the preacher and his murder in anticipation of writing a book that never happened. Fabulous!!!

MicheleinPhilly Glad to hear it! I just picked this up yesterday. 2w
Blaire I really want to read this one! The review in the nyt made it sound fascinating! 2w
Susannah I don't know if you'll want to answer, but SPOILER request: Why did Harper Lee never write the book? 2w
Well-ReadNeck @Susannah That wasn‘t firmly resolved. A couple of speculations included that she couldn‘t find a way to organize the material or that she ultimately lost interest or didn‘t think it was a good enough story. 2w
Susannah Interesting. Thank you! 2w
88 likes6 stack adds5 comments
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Christine
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Pickpick

I thought this was pretty great. Cep tells (at least) three big stories in one book, which meant it didn‘t dig quite as deep into any of them as I would have been happy to go. But I was fine with that, because now I have a bunch of topics I‘d love to read more about, especially the history of the true crime genre (fascinating!). And her storytelling style worked for me - journalistic, but a little pulpy and dramatic, too.

40 likes1 stack add
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rsteve388
Pickpick

I just finished this book today and oh my, what a ride. The story can be broken uo into 3 parts. The murders committed by the Rev and how they happen and why. Part two is the lawyer who defends the Rev and his eventual killer and his backstory and lastly, Harper Lee her life and how she came to want to write the story of the Rev but never finished.

Amazing, Eye-opening story such a fun read.

blurb
rsteve388

So. Something that bothers me is when the Audiobook chapters and the actual chapters in the book are different. Especially if the narrator reads the chapter. It is so annyong and makes it hard to remember where I am.

So anyway, back to #BookFitnessChallenge

Walked 4 miles
Read up to chaoter 67 (Audio book) cant recall what the book chapter is.

Read Up to chapter 9 of American War.

@wanderinglynn

BookwormAHN Way to go 👏🏻 2w
wanderinglynn That would bug me too. But way to go on your miles! 🙌🏻 2w
3 likes2 comments
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razmanda
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Pickpick

This is a fascinating deep-dive into a murder mystery, insurance fraud, justice... and Harper Lee. Impeccably researched and compulsively listenable, Cep outlines the original murders, the murder of the suspected murderer, and the lawyer who represented both, albeit at different times for obvious reasons, in the first half of the book, leaving the last half to Lee and how her story intersected with theirs.

18 likes1 stack add
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rsteve388

#BookFitnessChallenge #BFC19 #Week3

We are on week 3 right?

Anyway, I read up to chp 11 in this book and WOAH what a twisty, windy rollercoaster this story is. The drama that is this story is amazing ans Casey Cep knows how to tell it!

Miles walked:2.23

Overall good day.

@wanderinglynn

wanderinglynn Way to go! 🙌🏻 (and yes, we‘re in week 3. Friday will start week 4). 3w
BookwormAHN Great job 👏🏻 3w
jillannjohn Trying to get to this book this week. Great job 👍🏻 2w
5 likes3 comments
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Carleneishere
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We were just talking about how frustrating it is to be an environmentalist living in Alabama!

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Godpants
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Pickpick

I found this pretty charming although maybe lacking in material on both sides. Together it‘s a fun read but I wanted more Harper Lee or more Maxwell murder information. Still think it‘s worth checking out.

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rjsthumbelina
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Today, I've gotten 2 "books" read in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, read the second half of Once & Future, started Furious Hours, and read the first 75 pages of an eARC, The Last Witness (previously published in the UK as Black Cairn Point). But it's one of those days that I still don't feel like I have read enough today! Even though I have to get up early to work from 8:45 am to 10 pm (between 2 jobs), I'll probably stay up late reading...Oops!

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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

This book is really 2 books. The first is a true crime of the murder of an alleged murderer and the ensuing trial. Harper Lee attended this trial, planning to write a book about it, which she apparently never did. The second half discusses her interactions with the trial alongside a mini biography of her. I really enjoyed it, but I‘m not sure the structure would work for everyone.

#ReadingUSA2019 #Alabama

jessinikkip Sounds interesting to me. I have Alabama but I may just read this anyway 😌 3w
squirrelbrain Me too @jessinikkip - I‘ve seen a lot of Littens reading and enjoying this.... 3w
Librarybelle Sounds good! 3w
NatalieR Good review! 👍 3w
50 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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rsteve388

My second book this week is Furious Hours. I have read up to chapter 5.

I have walked 4 miles today

And I read up to Chapter 8 of American War.

I am gonna try to get a run in before dinner.

#BFC19 #BookFitnessChallenge

britt_brooke Nice work! 3w
wanderinglynn Way to go! 🙌🏻 2w
8 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Notafraidofwords
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Mehso-so

I ended up liking this book, but I have issues with the structure. This book is three books in one: a pastor that kills various family members for money, biographical information of Capote and Lee, and finally H. Lee‘s decision to write about this pastor. This ended up feeling like different books and only came together towards the end. Overall, just okay. I wish I liked it better, but I also had a problem with certain assumptions the book made.

Theaelizabet The structure! Exactly! I kept imagining what would have happened if Janet Malcolm had gotten her hands on the material. 3w
Notafraidofwords @Theaelizabet exactly ! I wanted more interweaving of the stories. 3w
68 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
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#LibraryHaul

I can‘t stop checking out books. Time to sit down and read some!! 📚📚📚🙋🏻‍♀️📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚

LauraJ Lanny! 3w
Lillie So many to choose from! Which one are you starting with? 3w
Well-ReadNeck @Lillie Either The Test or Lanny (because they are shorter) or Furious Hours (because there is a hold list and I can‘t renew it). 3w
Theaelizabet Furious Hours is fascinating. 3w
TracyReadsBooks Just bought Rough Magic for my daughter to take to camp with her. It‘s sounds like a fascinating story. 3w
91 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Mirandareads
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Pickpick

I absolutely loved this book! This was a fascinating history about the true crime book Harper Lee worked on and never finished.

AmyG I have been waiting for an opinion on this book. Stacked! 1mo
Mirandareads @AmyG I hope you like it! I really enjoyed it 😊. 1mo
kyraleseberg I loved this one too! 1mo
12 likes2 stack adds3 comments
blurb
Godpants
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When all your holds come in at once and they‘re all huge. Starting Furious Hours first, since it will be nice to dip into true crime between some thrillers and fantasy reads.

review
sophierayton
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Pickpick

This is an interesting story and it's well written, but it has nothing to do with Harper Lee until over half way through and then it's a bit meh, so I feel like the title is a bit misleading.

Kristy_K I hate when they draw you in with a title/sub-title that has little to do with the actual book. It feels dishonest. 1mo
britt_brooke I agree about the misleading title. 1w
32 likes2 comments
review
Christine11
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Pickpick

This was such a fantastic read and a compelling portrait of Harper Lee - definitely recommend! Full review on my blog now!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
https://lifewithallthebooks.com/2019/05/13/furious-hours-murder-fraud-and-the-la...
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.

TrishB Stacked 👍🏻 1mo
Christine11 @TrishB I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when you get to it! 💛 1mo
TrishB I‘m hoping it might come down a bit in price soon! 1mo
Christine11 @TrishB 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 1mo
43 likes5 stack adds4 comments
review
Theaelizabet
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Pickpick

Cep divides (perhaps wisely) her complicated story into three distinct parts, with the third being the tale of Harper Lee‘s writing life after To Kill A Mockingbird. Cep can write, and there‘s much to recommend this book, but I can‘t help wondering if a more intertwined approach to its telling (especially of parts 2 and 3) would have forced a deeper look at creative desire and thwarted ambition. >>>>

Theaelizabet “Whatever she was writing, Harper Lee wasn‘t publishing any of it, but no “wonder” can be dismissed as “one hit” right away. It takes the passage of time for such language to feel applicable, and even then it is a strange and varied category, especially for writers of fiction.” from Furious Hours
1mo
TheBookStacker As soon as I finish this long stint of 90 hour work weeks I plan to start this book. Can‘t wait! 1mo
LeahBergen I‘m looking forward to this one! 👏🏻 1mo
27 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Sara_Planz
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Pickpick

True crime at its best. A mystery that still exists to this day, a small town with history, secrets, villains and heroes. Then you add in the facet of Harper Lee and you have the must read non-fiction of 2019.

The_Real_Nani So interesting!!! How did he not go to jail?!?! 1mo
47 likes5 stack adds1 comment
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Mitch
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Notafraidofwords I‘m on hold at the library. Can‘t wait. 1mo
AmyG Ooooo let me know how this is when you read it. I‘d be curious. 1mo
LeahBergen I‘ll be buying this one! 👍🏻 1mo
Mitch @LeahBergen it was on my to buy list too - so super excited to get it free! 1mo
Mitch @AmyG will do - hopefully it‘s a winner! 1mo
73 likes1 stack add5 comments
review
Kaye
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Mehso-so

Honest review : If you want a sleek , well written book about the Rev. Maxwell and the 5 murders linked to him, I‘d have to advise The Devil and Harper Lee. It‘s a shorter book, but gets to the meat of the story , as well as any book can. He addresses each crime , the Rev, the fallout, and Harper Lee‘s arrival in town to meet the people involved. It also talks about the possible reasons why her book has never surfaced. NOTE- the only place 👇🏼

Kaye 👆🏼this is available is Scribd. You get one month free , and I think this book is good enough to sign up for your free month. It‘s available in ebook and audiobook. On to Furious Hours : to be honest, I wouldn‘t recommend it. It‘s a lot longer, goes into way too much detail in areas of no direct interest to the case , and it leaves you wanting at the end. I know there may be only one person who knows what happened to Harper‘s book, and 👇🏼 1mo
Kaye 👆🏼sadly, she‘s no longer talking. Furious Hours was frustrating. I wanted more about the main players in the case. Victims , accused, life in the town where rumors spread like wildfire about voodoo. People still afraid the Reverend can murder them. Rumors he has others still alive that may do his bidding. Everyone was afraid to talk. There‘s a good story there, but sadly, Furious Hours wasn‘t it. Read the other book. Articles listed below 👇🏼 1mo
Cinfhen Thanks so much for your honest review and book recommendation🙏🏻 1mo
See All 10 Comments
britt_brooke I just heard about Furious Hours on All the Books. I will keep this information in mind, thanks! 1mo
Kaye I know I‘ve already babbled enough about this book, but I was really looking forward to it and found it lacking in the areas I was interested in. Mainly Harper‘s time spent there and what happened to her book. I do believe she started it and may even have completed it. Seal‘s book gives reasons why it never surfaced. The CEP book was frankly a disappointment. Just my honest opinion. Choose for yourself. 1mo
kyraleseberg I loved Furious Hours so now I'm incredibly curious about The Devil and Harper Lee. Thanks for the recommendation! 1mo
Kaye @kyraleseberg Let me know if you read the other one and how you like it. The Furious Hours wasn‘t awful, it just seemed to have lots of unnecessary information. I‘ve read so many true crime books and it really wasn‘t written like most of them are. It seemed like the actual crimes get very little mention in the book. 1mo
JenlovesJT47 Thank you!! ❤️ 1mo
75 likes10 comments
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Kaye
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Halfway done. Started this morning.

JenlovesJT47 Will you tag me when you review this? I‘m curious to know if it‘s good, it sounds interesting! 1mo
Kaye Will do 👍🏼 @JenlovesJT47 1mo
Aloisi_tribe I just got this for Kindle but haven‘t had time to start it yet. It looks really good! 1mo
See All 8 Comments
Kaye @Aloisi_tribe Hope you like it. 1mo
bookishrantings Oh I've been wondering how this it. It's definitely on my tbr 1mo
AutumnRLS Liberty at Bookriot gave it a solid recommendation. It sounds fascinating. Immediately put it on my list. 1mo
kspenmoll I really want to read this; hope it is good. 1mo
Deangirl I‘ve just finished this one. Thought it was a good read although the second half wasn‘t as compelling as the first. 1mo
84 likes8 comments
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Matilda
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Finally starting this true crime biography I‘ve been looking forward to.

MallenNC I'm interested to see what you think. It is on hold for me at the library. 1mo
Matilda @MallenNC an hour in it‘s super good. Really well written in that it‘s history and true crime while focusing on the era and society—and that‘s before I‘ve even gotten to Harper Lee! 1mo
MallenNC @Matilda Sounds perfect for me! 1mo
34 likes1 stack add3 comments
review
GerardtheBookworm
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Pickpick

The late Harper Lee wanted to write a nonfiction true crime novel concerning the 1970 murder case of Alabama preacher Rev. Willie Maxwell but it never came to fruition. Instead author Casey Cep retells her connection to the cold case that showcases greed, corruption, and violence very reminiscent of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Theaelizabet My copy should be here tomorrow. Glad to hear you liked it. 1mo
6 likes1 comment
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Sara_Planz
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This comes out Tuesday and Books a Million selected this as our President‘s Pick. I have so been looking forward to this one!!!

Cinfhen Looks so good!!! 1mo
Kaye On preorder. I‘ve waited months for this. 1mo
34 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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IamIamIam
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Saw this on AA Knopf's IG account! I had no clue my girl was up to something after Mockingbird!!! 💓💓💓💓

kyraleseberg I'm so excited about this book! 6mo
IamIamIam @kyraleseberg It looks so cool!!! 6mo
44 likes4 stack adds2 comments