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

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In the 1970s, the rural area of Alexander City, Alabama was home to a scandalous series of suspicious deaths that focused on a Reverend Willie Maxwell. Maxwell was a well-known preacher, known for his strong work ethic and his tent revival preaching. The untimely and violent death of his first wife cast a cloud over the Reverend, even as he was acquitted in her murder. Four other deaths would be connected to the Reverend, three of whom were considered family. The question of foul play would be dialed up with the revelation of life insurance policies the Reverend had on two wives, his brother, and a stepdaughter. The wheels of justice were on a collision course with Maxwell when he was shot to death at his stepdaughter’s funeral. The trial of the vigilante would awaken the dormant pen of famous writer Harper Lee. Lee would follow the trial and its eccentric cast of characters as a possible follow-up to the perennial classic “To Kill A Mockingbird”. But what would become of it?

Furious Hours is a fantastic true-crime/biography that hits the reader hard with its compelling nature. The author draws the scenery with the flair of an artist, interspersing the bucolic south with the harshness of human nature. The cast of characters is fascinating, especially Ms. Lee, who remains enigmatic even in death. A fantastic read all around.

Reviewed By:

Author Casey Cep
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2019-05-07
ISBN 9781101947869
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category History


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