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4 out of 4 stars
Review by Elaine5
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The book begins with Ms. Moore being assigned the case. The mystery is not whether or not the accused committed the crime, but whether or not he will be convicted. The reader lives the life of a prosecutor, accompanying the author as she learns every gruesome detail of the crime. She tirelessly researches the evidence and interviews witnesses in preparation for trial. It is a roller coaster of triumphs and disappointments as Ms. Moore takes the reader on this fascinating journey, ending in the trial. She holds nothing back, including technical details, courtroom politics and the anguish of having such a horrible crime inside your head.
Unbelievably, Moore has created a book full of forensics, legal particulars, witness interviews, precise evidence and long testimony, that is absolutely riveting. The case itself is beyond belief, but in addition to that, the author pulled me into her thought processes as she built her case against the defendant. She achieved the perfect balance of explaining just enough terminology and legal practice to let me easily follow the story without becoming dry or dull.
The author also included information about her personal life which made her wonderfully relatable. I understood her struggle between being dedicated to the case, but wishing it didn't take time away from her family, and her gratitude to her mother for home cooked family meals that included no guilt when she had to eat and run. She's a wonderfully dedicated but fallible prosecutor, colleague, wife, mother and daughter.
With such a disturbing tragedy being central to the story, I was amazed at the way humor is expertly woven into this book. I'm not sure how the author pulled it off, but it's one aspect of the book that makes it so readable. One source of humor that can't go unmentioned is the detective who works closely with Moore to build the case. Her name is Leslie Van Buskirk and she tells it like it is using language that will make your eyes water. I couldn't help but like her and she's Moore's perfect sidekick.
This book shook me to my core. It is non-fiction at its very best. I was utterly captivated while learning a tremendous amount about the legal system, arson, fires in general, trial preparation and so much more. I did learn of an unimaginable crime, but more importantly, I was deeply moved and learned of some outstanding human beings including Diane Marger Moore, an every day hero. This one will stay with me for a long time.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys non fiction as well as courtroom drama, crime and mystery. You should brace yourself for unsettling details and know that there are a handful of errors in the book, but I can rate it nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. It was outstanding.
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Kimmyschemy06: The crime is very disturbing and difficult to believe. I can't blame you for not wanting to read about it in more detail.
Hsimone: Intense is a very good word to describe this book!
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