This "superbly written true-crime story" (Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review) masterfully brings together the tales of a serial killer in 1970s Alabama and of Harper Lee, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who tried to...Read More
This "superbly written true-crime story" (Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review) masterfully brings together the tales of a serial killer in 1970s Alabama and of Harper Lee, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who tried to write his story.
Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members, but with the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative assassinated him at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted - thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the reverend himself.
Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more trying to finish the book she called The Reverend. Cep brings this remarkable story to life, from the horrifying murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South, while offering a deeply moving portrait of one of our most revered writers.
Casey Cep is a staff writer at The New Yorker. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in English, she earned an M.Phil in theology at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her family. Furious Hoursis her first book. www.caseycep.com
"Captivating. . . . A spellbinding true crime story." - The New York Times Book Review
"A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper Lee never found a way to tell a gothic true-crime story she'd spent years researching. Casey Cep has excavated this mesmerizing story and tells it with grace and insight and a fierce fidelity to the truth." - David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon
"An enthralling work of narrative nonfiction. . . . Cep delivers edge-of-your-seat courtroom drama while brilliantly reinventing Southern Gothic." - O, The Oprah Magazine
"The sort of story that even Lee would have been proud to write." - Michael Lewis, The New York Times
"A marvel." - Time