Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
Furious Hours
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee | Casey Cep
134 posts | 98 read | 4 reading | 114 to read
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.
LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
review
triplem80
post image
Mehso-so

This was an interesting read, BUT it didn't quite work for me. It seemed like three separate books that were only loosely connected, making the storytelling feel disjointed (and it felt much longer than it really was!). Also -- if you are looking for a book about Harper Lee, only part three really fits the bill.

#NonfictionNovember

review
marleed
post image
Pickpick

I thought this NF book was written in such an interesting way with three parts practically independent of each other (the dead guy, the lawyer, the writer). Harper Lee‘s research into said dead guy, and the lawyer, and the book that never came to be makes for a great read. This author did a nice job pulling together the story Harper Lee couldn‘t write in the way she wanted it told. ↓

marleed Also fascinating to me is that when ever Truman Capote comes into a story - he sure fills up the room. 2mo
rsteve388 I loved this book. 2mo
vivastory I really enjoyed this one 2mo
See All 7 Comments
smalldogs_bigbooks2419 Both Harper Lee books are on my TBR 2mo
marleed @rsteve388 @vivastory I just think it fascinating that she even considered a way to tell the story that Harper Lee abandoned. @smalldogs_bigbooks2419 Before reading GSAW it really helps to know this is not a sequel to TKAMB but rather her first draft of TKAMB - Intriguing that she and her editors chose to tell the story of Scout‘s dad from the eyes of a child loving her father above all else. 2mo
rsteve388 I like go set a watchman better then to kill a mockingbird. 2mo
marleed @rsteve388 I liked them both. So intriguing how one would tell the story of Atticus from the perspective of Scout at 8ish vs 23ish. And I think very meaningful that the story would change. 2mo
87 likes1 stack add7 comments
review
LiteraryLona
post image
Pickpick

This book was so well put together, considering the circumstances. I worried it would be hit and miss, but it was laid out so well. I could not put it down!

review
EmilieGR
post image
Mehso-so

I have the feeling Cep really wanted to write a biography of Harper Lee, but knew Lee would never approve. The first half is true crime and good in its own right. Then, it takes a left hand turn half way through and becomes a biography of Harper Lee. Since this book couldn‘t decide what it really wanted to be, it feels superficial in both the true crime and biography aspects. A good read but a light one, considering the engaging subject matter.

blurb
vivastory
post image

As nearly 600 people gather to remember & mourn the death of a teenager in a funeral home, Reverend Willie Maxwell is shot by a relative accusing him of murder & possibly more. This book was wild & although the Harper Lee connection was a bit tenuous & one of the least interesting aspects of the entire story, I loved this true crime book. Easily one of my favorites of the past few years.
#mourns #maycharacters @Eggs @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Eggs Great choice 👏🏻📚❤️ 8mo
britt_brooke A great read! 8mo
66 likes2 stack adds2 comments
blurb
Christinak
post image

Started this today in the car. Wow! This is a gripping story, I‘m already half way through.

42 likes3 stack adds
review
kimmypete1
post image
Bailedbailed

Despite reading 60% of the book it‘s time to just call it. The crime was so-so and I‘m not really interested in the life of Harper Lee. It pains me a bit as I‘ve come so far, but I‘ve bumped the audio up to 3x and am barely paying attention, so what‘s the point?

MidnightBookGirl You more than tried!
10mo
24 likes1 comment
review
Cinsarly
post image
Panpan

So incredibly boring. It should be interesting. There's a black preacher and possible serial killer accused of using voodoo to kill his family members for insurance money. There's the man that shot him at the funeral in front of 300 witnesses. There's a trial led by a famous Alabama lawyer and there's Harper Lee trying to write about it all. And it's all so boring. Maybe if you're really into Lee, read this. Otherwise, I cannot recommend.

blurb
BlueMoonJ
post image

Next audio book started
More knitting to be done

#audiobook #knitting #harperlee #CaseyCep

review
Bookwormjillk
post image
Pickpick

I really liked this book both times I‘ve read it. However I specifically did audio this time because of this book‘s Audie Award nomination, and I didn‘t really think the audio added anything to the story. #LittenListen #CrushTheRush #BookSpinBingo #ItsColdOutside #ReadYourWay #WinterGames2020 #ReadNoseReindeer

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 13mo
TheSpineView 💜📚📚 13mo
43 likes2 comments
review
veritysalter
post image
Pickpick

A most enjoyable and well researched read, a bit strange. As it felt like two very separate books, first the crimes and murder of the Reverend Willie Maxwell and then the life of Harper Lee. The crime was fascinating, and new to me, and I was pleased to learn more of Harper Lee, her writing process, her frustrations and friendships. #NFN2020 #Book

43 likes1 stack add
blurb
veritysalter
post image

Getting a bit of #NFN2020 reading in before the kids come home from school.

Clwojick So cozy! 1y
rsteve388 I really loved this book! 1y
42 likes2 comments
blurb
veritysalter
post image

A good few days reading for the #NovelNovember Readathon with @Andrew65 from Saturday 14th - today (Tuesday 17th) I‘ve read for 19 hours and 48 minutes. Completed one book and made serious headway in to the others.

Andrew65 That‘s simply brilliant, well done 👏👏👏 1y
veritysalter @Andrew65 I had nowhere to go at the weekend 😕 I‘m only out for the school run, but I can get a good two hours of Audiobook in on the journey - the kids are not best impressed with my choice of ‘The Butchering Art‘ and Lister‘s quest for antiseptic surgery and the progression of germ theory 😂 1y
Andrew65 @veritysalter Can‘t think why 🤣🤣🤣 1y
40 likes3 comments
blurb
veritysalter
post image

#PetsofLitsy 😂 It should be #PESTSofLitsy Pablo has decided that on my book is the perfect place to sit.

Cupcake12 Such a cutie ❤️🐾 1y
AmyK1 😂 1y
readordierachel Love this picture 1y
See All 8 Comments
UwannaPublishme 😂😂😂 1y
Leftcoastzen So cute! 1y
LeahBergen 😂😂 1y
veritysalter He‘s now snoring on the sofa and spoiling the film I‘m watching - he cannot bear to be out of the spot light! 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick 🤩 Such a handsome boy! 1y
54 likes8 comments
review
DGRachel
post image
Pickpick

Not what I expected, but not bad. The first half details a suspected serial murderer, his murder, and a lot of insurance fraud. The second half is like a mini-biography of Harper Lee, including her stalled writing career, the impact of TKAM, and her work with Truman Capote. It definitely felt like two different books, but it was still fascinating and informative.

vivastory I loved this one. I agree that it definitely felt like different books, but so fascinating 1y
charl08 Another fan here. So wish HL had had the confidence to publish more. 1y
Hooked_on_books Also not what I expected, but I enjoyed it for what it was. 1y
58 likes3 comments
blurb
vivastory
post image

I admit, I've been a bit burnt out on live events online lately. I already spend enough time on Zoom for work, but I will definitely be attending this one. I already had plans to participate in #NonfictionNovember & honestly, what a great way to start the month!
https://www.magiccitybooks.com/event/virtual-event-casey-cep/

britt_brooke I had the pleasure of hearing Cep speak at the 2019 Southern Festival of Books. She‘s fantastic! 1y
vivastory @britt_brooke I'm glad to hear that! The book sounds great & has been on my NF TBR for eons. This is the perfect motivation to read it. I'm sure it will be an interesting event, Grann is a fave of mine 1y
britt_brooke @vivastory It‘s a great read! 1y
See All 11 Comments
LeahBergen Fun! I‘ve been wanting to read Cep‘s book and I thought Grann‘s was great. 👍🏻 1y
vivastory @LeahBergen I agree about Grann's book. I also enjoyed his short collection 1y
TNbookworm I had the pleasure to hear Casey Cep at the 2019 Southern Festival of Books as well; and I agree with @britt_brooke she was wonderful. Furious Hours is a fascinating book! 1y
britt_brooke @TNbookworm It‘s a darn shame we didn‘t meet up! 😂 It was a great session. 1y
Hooked_on_books Both good books! I think that would be a good event. 1y
vivastory @Hooked_on_books Are you going to check it out? It's free 1y
Hooked_on_books @vivastory I‘m not sure. The difficulty here is I have terrible internet access. I can do Litsy and (slowly) download audiobooks, but video is spotty, so I often don‘t try. At least it‘s a day of the week that works for me, so maybe. 1y
LeahBergen Thanks! I‘ll check it out. 👍🏻 1y
59 likes1 stack add11 comments
review
swynn
post image
Pickpick

Part true-crime story that Harper Lee once considered turning into her second book; and part story of Lee's unsuccessful project. It's great material, both the lurid crimes and the author study. And Cep does pretty well with it, though there were a few digressions I'd have cut for flow. She writes well, and I'll watch for her next.

35 likes1 stack add
review
Rissa1
post image
Pickpick

4⭐
I don't know what to say, other than, I would have loved to have known Ms. Lee

quote
Rissa1
post image

Casey Cep says Ms. Lee was "savage" with emotional needs. ?

blurb
Rissa1
post image

Eyre is making reading a bit difficult. She insists on rubbing all over my book. This is not her usual behavior. #catsoflitsy #eyrethecalico

ShyBookOwl It's VERY usual for my cat 😂 1y
Rissa1 @ShyBookOwl it would be normal for my other cats, but Eyre is my antisocial cat. She likes her space. She never sits in anyone's lap, only allows petting when we go to be. 1y
ShyBookOwl @Rissa1 Oh wow. That is strange. Mine got more affectionate as he aged. He's 10 now and a total lap kitty. 1y
23 likes3 comments
quote
Rissa1
post image

Casey Cep quoting a passage from author Zora Neale Hurston while discussing religion in the south.

Josee.lit.a.lu.et.lira ❣️❣️❣️ 1y
11 likes1 comment
blurb
Rissa1
post image

Hazel decided to be my reading buddy. #HazeldaughterofHaze

blurb
swynn
post image

Trying a different strategy for August's #bookspin #doublespin #bookspinbingo. Having fallen behind in July, I'm filling the August list with stuff that I would probably have tried to get to anyway: library books with maxed-out renewals, books for other challenges, etc. Hopefully I can finish a bunch of these before the Library Police come a-knocking. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks I'm doing a similar strategy with my BookSpin list this month - I have library books that I've had checked out since March!!! They need to be read!! 😂 1y
26 likes1 comment
review
Ncostell
post image
Pickpick

This was a very interesting book split into three sections. The first section details the story of a serial killer who murdered family members in order to collect insurance money, the second section follows the life of his defense attorney and the last part delves into Harper Lee‘s attempt at writing about this case in a similar vein to Capote‘s In Cold Blood. It was a bit disjointed at times but overall a fascinating read.

blurb
Lyssa131330
post image

Enjoying this so far, although for some reason my brain insists on reading it in a Southern accent

8 likes1 stack add
review
LaraS
post image
Pickpick

I don‘t know what to think of this book. It was more like 3 books in one. The best bits were the ones with Harper Lee and Truman Capote.

Emilymdxn I felt exactly the same, all the material was interesting but I felt like the author didn‘t know how to put it together into one book 2y
5 likes1 comment
review
DogEaredBooks
post image
Pickpick

I finally got around to this book which was gifted to me in September (thank you @nelehelen !)

While I wish I had read it sooner I think right now I am in the perfect mind space for it.
Divided into sections it focuses first on the murder case(s) then the lawyer then Harper Lee. I found the first two sections the most interesting, but the Harper Lee section was eye opening.

nelehelen ♥️♥️♥️ 2y
30 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
AReedCollett
post image
Pickpick

RPL Book and Brews bookclub June 2020 read. First comes fraud, then comes suspected serial murder, then murder of the suspected murderer at a funeral of one of his alleged victims! All the while, a famous author is struggling to produce something that would compare to the success of her first book. Interesting read for sure for murderinos and fans of Harper Lee.
#rplbooksandbrews #truecrime #cannotmakethisstuffup

lynneamch Oh my. This is so captivating! I'm 30% in. You just can't make this stuff up. Or, if you did, no one would believe it. 2y
5 likes1 comment
review
UnabridgedPod
post image
Pickpick

Casey Cep's Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee initially drew me in because of that last part: Harper Lee. I had recently re-read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time since high school and was in love, all over again, with the beauty of her writing about childhood and about the humor that I had (quite frankly) forgotten. Parts of it are just REALLY funny. (Not all of it, of course--⬇️

UnabridgedPod we all remember Tom and Boo and the sad stories there. But they had loomed so large for me that I'd overlooked those other sections.) Anyway, Furious Hours mentions Harper Lee on page one, and then she doesn't really appear in the book for a while. And for part of that time, I was disappointed. Where was Harper Lee? But then, I found myself swept up in the actual story Cep set out to tell. (I should have been more patient from the beginning!) ⬇️ 2y
UnabridgedPod She focuses on big personalities in each section of the novel: first, Reverend Willie Maxwell, who was suspected of killing family members for insurance money; then, Tom Radney, a former politician and attorney who defends first Maxwell and then the man who shot him; and (finally!) Harper Lee, still reeling from the unexpected success of To Kill a Mockingbird, who thinks has found her next book in Maxwell's story. ⬇️ 2y
UnabridgedPod Mixed in are the story of Maxwell's town, the impact of Truman Capote on Harper Lee and on the state of literature, and the overpowering influence of the Southern way of life.⠀

Cep anchors these stories in their time and place, building a beautiful cultural context for the course of her book. I could not have been more enraptured. (And yes, it made me want to read To Kill a Mockingbird again!)
2y
23 likes3 comments
blurb
Bookwormjillk
post image
blurb
AmyG
post image

#Ispy books that are orange, yellow and green. Can you spy a book that is red? @Judybskt @TorieStorieS @Eggs

Mitch Cool! 👍🏼 2y
81 likes1 comment
review
AvidReader25
post image
Pickpick

The stress of this crazy world over the past couple weeks has led me to do a lot of rereading. Sometimes books are there to challenge us or make us laugh. Other times, they are there for comfort. 📚

blurb
AmyG
post image

#bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

Starting at the bottom left...to the top right. I replaced #20 Blue Nights with the tagged book - Furious Hours.

TheAromaofBooks Great stack!! 2y
84 likes1 comment
review
Emilymdxn
post image
Mehso-so

This was well written and I found the subject matter really engaging, the only reason it‘s a so so and not a pick is that I found the structure quite odd - the whole first half was the murder, and the whole second half was a potted biography of harper lee and there wasn‘t much to link them until right at the end so it felt quite disjointed, I feel like I‘ve read two quite good books with almost no overlap, but I did enjoy it.

Hooked_on_books I agree. Enjoyable book, oddly structured. 2y
56 likes1 comment
review
AvidReader25
post image
Pickpick

Nonfiction at its very best. The book bounces from the murder of an alleged killer to the childhood of Capote & Harper Lee. It remains fascinating throughout, especially for those of us interested in Lee‘s life. The author‘s research provides an in-depth look at Lee‘s life & the murder cases, but it never overwhelms the narrative. She uncovers the details of the book Lee attempted to write & presents them with respect and context. (NY Times image)

review
michellelav
post image
Mehso-so

This book was a slow read. I really enjoyed a lot of it but personally found that there was quite abit of unnecessary info that could have been slimmed down.. The parts I enjoyed, I really got into, but it seemed to only last a couple pages before it was dragging again.. I did learn quite a bit about Harper Lee 💕 I would probably rate it 3⭐⭐⭐

Thank you @MallenNC for the #newyearwhodis pick 😊 @monalyisha

MallenNC I‘m glad you gave it a try! I loved all of it except the middle section about the lawyer. 2y
michellelav @MallenNC I enjoyed bits and peices of every section but the last was by far my favourite! I did learn a lot about Harper Lee 💕 It was very informative! 😊 2y
monalyisha A kind way to say “this one wasn‘t for me.” 🙏🏻 2y
michellelav @monalyisha Thank you 😊 2y
66 likes4 comments
blurb
NikkiRobson73
post image

Just finished listening about this on a podcast so decided to grab it off my tbr pile it has me intrigued!

86 likes1 stack add
blurb
MallenNC
post image

The trials in this book are both literal and figurative. There are courtroom trials and the emotional trials of Harper Lee as she worked to follow up her debut, To Kill a Mockingbird, with a true crime book. As we all know, that book was never published, and this book attempts to find out why. #Trial #ReallyRandomFebruary

OriginalCyn620 I‘m gonna read this one day! 📚 2y
36 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
crhealey
post image
Pickpick

Finally finished! Have been so so busy this week but I‘m glad I picked this one up to read alongside the kids as they read TKAM. Had no idea just how autobiographical it was.

Also, I really wish I could have read “The Reverend”

quote
crhealey
post image
blurb
Sharpeipup
post image

While interesting, the book is all over the place- voodoo, Truman capote, history of life insurance, Harper Lee‘s hatred towards the IRS...

Anyone else feel this way?

blurb
Sharpeipup
post image

Took a quick walk for some sunshine and a few chapters. #audiobooks #audiowalk #lunchbreak

Soubhiville So pretty! 2y
Joanne1 Looks lovely. How nice to able to walk along that creek. 2y
37 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
squirrelbrain
post image

O-oh! Popped into the library at lunchtime for a quick break. Didn‘t need any books as I already have 7 on loan, but whoever goes into a library and comes out empty handed?!

I‘ve been wanting to read the tagged book for ages.

The pink book is Tove Ditlevsen ‘Childhood‘ for #Denmark #readingeurope2020.

I also chose one about a woman rowing down the Nile alone and one about a local eccentric family, both for #mummysquirrel.

TrishB Good choices 👍🏻 2y
67 likes2 comments
blurb
MallenNC
post image

Reverend Willie Maxwell must have been a #CharismaticCharacter to get away with his crimes for as long as he did. I enjoyed this true crime book. #AuldLangReads

OriginalCyn620 What?! This sounds incredibly good! (edited) 2y
MallenNC @OriginalCyn620 It really is! I saw the author at Quail Ridge. It‘s in three parts: the crime, the lawyer, and how Harper Lee tried to write about the case. 2y
26 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
charl08
Pickpick

Fantastic mix of true crime and literary biography of Harper Lee. Highly recommended.

36 likes1 stack add
quote
charl08
post image

I really loved the references in this book to Lee's love affair with the written word.

32 likes1 stack add
quote
charl08
post image

In 1962... Lee told a reporter...that she wanted to disappear, and she basically had.

46 likes1 stack add
quote
charl08
post image

...summer was one long season of spiritual improvement...

review
mdhughes72
post image
Pickpick

So the author is cut from the same cloth as her subject: meticulous in her research, copious & charitable in her descriptions, & eminently sociable as she goes about putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Enough has already been said about the book‘s tripartite structure. All I can say is that it was a pleasure to read, I learned a lot about a lot of different things, & it helped me understand what happened to Nelle Harper Lee. 👏⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️