From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. The book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly riveting, but also emotionally devastating.
I received this book from Net Galley several months ago and read it quickly. I was stunned and upset with this story, and found it really disturbing. The narrative nonfiction format makes it very readable, but the story is so sad and upsetting when you realize how terribly the Native Americans were treated who were involved in these events in the 1920’s. Once again I have to wonder why I’ve never heard of these events?
Recommended for those who want narrative non-fiction; I would use it in high school history as well.
A while ago (longer than I care to admit), I received a download of Laura Shofer’s novel, THE FINGERPRINT OF DESTINY, from her. Due to an odd issue with my Kindle (where it shuffled my hundreds of novels!) I “lost” it and only recently rediscovered it. This novel has a little bit of something for everyone and I really enjoyed reading it!
THE FINGERPRINT OF DESTINY starts with a fire (arson) with deaths involved in the Hope’s Point area of Long Island. Ellie Sinclair goes to cover the fire (which isn’t the first that has occurred in this area of late) for her newspaper and discovers that her estranged mother is among the victims. This starts a series of events where Ellie digs to find the truth, but also digs up old emotions, an old romance, and memories of her “crazy” mother as she was growing up and their complicated relationship. Ellie is scrappy and tough, though somewhat dysfunctional and has a drinking problem. Add in some historical passages tracing Ellie’s Venezuelan heritage and the “fingerprint of destiny”, a few tough Latino gangs, a mystery, and some supernatural thrills and you’ve got the makings for this story!
I enjoyed reading this novel, the first for Ms. Shofer, and found it engrossing and well-written. I think it has such a variety of happenings that many will find it and its “mash-up genre” appealing!
Coming out in January, THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS is the fictionalized story of the events surrounding the real life disappearance of NY Supreme Court Judge Joseph Crater in 1930 (see here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Force_Crater). Judge Crater’s disappearance was never solved and he was declared dead after several years. Lawhon gives us her take on the event, through the points of view of Crater’s wife, Stella, his maid, Maria, and his showgirl mistress, Ritzi. In this novel, these women know what happened to Crater — and they aren’t telling!
I found this novel so intriguing that I couldn’t put it down. It does jump around in time, which can be confusing at times. We have Stella current day, the events as they happened in the 30’s, events prior to the disappearance, etc. all interwoven.
If I had one major complaint, it was that I did not really like the ending. Without giving too much away, I will say that I felt a lot was told at the end to explain events and wrap the story up quickly and neatly. However, I did enjoy this book and it made me interested enough to look up more about Judge Crater, his disappearance, and Tammany Hall.
Thank you, Net Galley and Doubleday, for my review copy!
This novel was a Net Galley ARC download for me, and considered YA but I think it’s good historical fiction for adults, too.
In “Frozen”, Mary Casanova writes an intriguing tale of Sadie Rose, a teenager in Minnesota in the 1920’s. She hasn’t spoken a word in many years, not since the night her mother (a young prostitute) was killed and Sadie was found frozen in a snow bank. Now Sadie is starting to speak, and as her personality blossoms so does her emotions and her feelings for a local young man. Add to this a dynamic,though mentally ill, new friend and the dredging up of Sadie’s mother’s murder – this time with some new information – and you have the makings of compelling and interesting historical fiction!
While I had never read Mary Casanova’s works before, she has written for American Girl. I enjoyed this story and Casanova’s writing, and I thank Net Galley and University of Minnesota Press for my copy. I believe I read that this story is based on real events, and I’d be curious to find out what exactly the true story is!