Official Review: 4 Shots by Roger C. Blomquist Ph.D.

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Official Review: 4 Shots by Roger C. Blomquist Ph.D.

Post by CatInTheHat » 06 Apr 2018, 14:23

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "4 Shots" by Roger C. Blomquist Ph.D..]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Roger Blomquist Ph.D.’s 4 Shots: Murder in Mormondom is The Amazing True Story of Mary Stevens’ 1908 Murder. This book is the fictionalized account of a murder that rocked rural Utah in the early 1900’s. It started as a research project that became a journal article and a script, which together formed the foundation of the fictional account. The facts in the story are real, but the dialogue and some contextual situations are created from what is known in order to share the story in a way that we can all understand.

This murder mystery takes place in the small town of Orderville, Utah. Orderville’s name stems from the town being created as a way to honor the Mormon United Order by living fully in the Order as a town. Mary Stevens is living with her brother’s family as she finishes up high school. She has settled in with her brother, Joseph, and his wife, Frances, helping with the kids when she can. Mary is a loner who does not quite fit into her new town. Few include her, although she shares with Frances that there might be a boy that is interested in her. One evening, she does not return home; soon her body is found brutally murdered. This is where the story really begins. Orderville is shocked; this kind of thing just doesn't happen here. Who could have done it? Will the truth ever come out? Will things ever be the same in Orderville?

Blomquist tells the story using dialogue between the characters, with other information guiding the story outside of the conversations. Explanations are given regarding the cultural context of certain situations. For example, how high school exams are given is explained, as it different than anything one might experience today. That may seem like something mundane, but the way it is explained is rather interesting. Vivid details are given to help the reader feel as if they are alongside the characters in the setting, a part of the story. The pace is steady, although at critical moments it slows down to give the reader more details.

Blomquist had access to all of the legal documents and newspaper articles involving the real-life crime, which helps to show the story from different views. We see how so many people reacted: locals, people in the legal profession (i.e. jailors, various sheriffs, judges), family members, etc. I loved how I could almost “hear” people sharing their thoughts. Readers will think they know who “did” it and “why” but will then be left wondering if they missed something. Watching how investigations are handled during this time period is fascinating. The investigators of the time knew what they were doing, but sometimes they missed things. Once we know who the killer is, we realize that there is a new story to be told. There continues to be “more to the story” throughout.

I rate 4 Shots: Murder in Mormondom 4 out of 4 stars. There were no noticeable grammar or spelling errors. Once one starts reading, it is a difficult story to put down, as you are almost immediately immersed into 1908 in Orderville. I was captivated. The more I read, the more I wanted to know. Readers who enjoy criminal mysteries, as well as true stories, will appreciate and enjoy this story. Historical fiction fans may as well, but it is not your typical historical fiction in that the story itself, not just the time period, is based on facts.

******
4 Shots
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Post by Irene C » 07 Apr 2018, 09:37

I'm a historical fiction fan who loves just about anything set in the past. How interesting that this is a true-crime account set in the very "ordered" Mormon world in the early 20th century. Thanks for this great review that clearly lays out the book.
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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Apr 2018, 19:28

Sounds like a combination of a couple of good genres. I haven't read a good book like this in quite a while! I'll look at it!
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Post by MsTri » 07 Apr 2018, 21:19

I don't normally care for historical fiction, but the cover and title made me look, and I'm so glad I did. I LOVE true crime - er, that is, I like the reenactments and dissection of them, not the actual commission - and this sounds very interesting, being a somewhat fictionalized account. I've never heard of this particular crime, so I look forward to learning something new while enjoying the way in which it's written. Thanks for the introduction!

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Post by KLafser » 08 Apr 2018, 07:47

Huge historical fiction fan here - and I love it when it's based in reality but the author creates fictional characters to express the sentiments of the time on a more personal level.

It almost sounds like the use of dialog is similar to how Big Little Lies (the book, not the show) was organized. I find it to be a creative way to include many different perspectives.

Thanks for the terrific review - this one goes on the "to read" list!

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Post by cpru68 » 08 Apr 2018, 14:32

This one is going on the bookshelf for reading very soon! Your review drew me right in. I love a good mystery as well as the "going back in time" aspect. Throw in the fact that it is based on a true event...even better! Thank you for your informative review. I can't wait to read this one!
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Post by Libs_Books » 09 Apr 2018, 03:58

Interesting and thoughtful review. This sounds like a really fascinating book, perhaps the same sort of genre as Truman Capote's In Cold Blood?

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Post by CatInTheHat » 09 Apr 2018, 06:10

MsTri wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 21:19
I don't normally care for historical fiction, but the cover and title made me look, and I'm so glad I did. I LOVE true crime - er, that is, I like the reenactments and dissection of them, not the actual commission - and this sounds very interesting, being a somewhat fictionalized account. I've never heard of this particular crime, so I look forward to learning something new while enjoying the way in which it's written. Thanks for the introduction!
So glad to hear that you aren't into the actual commission of the crimes :lol:
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Post by CatInTheHat » 09 Apr 2018, 06:12

KLafser wrote:
08 Apr 2018, 07:47
Huge historical fiction fan here - and I love it when it's based in reality but the author creates fictional characters to express the sentiments of the time on a more personal level.

It almost sounds like the use of dialog is similar to how Big Little Lies (the book, not the show) was organized. I find it to be a creative way to include many different perspectives.

Thanks for the terrific review - this one goes on the "to read" list!
The characters are real people. The dialogue and narration are fictionalized in order to tell the story, but all of it is based on fact, using primary documents.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 09 Apr 2018, 06:13

Libs_Books wrote:
09 Apr 2018, 03:58
Interesting and thoughtful review. This sounds like a really fascinating book, perhaps the same sort of genre as Truman Capote's In Cold Blood?
I haven't read In Cold Blood, so I'll trust you on that one.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 09 Apr 2018, 15:22

Irene C wrote:
07 Apr 2018, 09:37
I'm a historical fiction fan who loves just about anything set in the past. How interesting that this is a true-crime account set in the very "ordered" Mormon world in the early 20th century. Thanks for this great review that clearly lays out the book.
I did learn a bit about Mormon culture in that time period. That type of thing is always interesting to me.
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Post by stacie k » 09 Apr 2018, 19:25

I’m curious about your statement that once we know who the murderer is, there’s a new story to be told. The steady pace and vivid details are attractive qualities. Add to that the opportunity to learn a piece of history, and it sounds like a winner! Thanks for a great review!
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Post by CatInTheHat » 10 Apr 2018, 08:54

stacie k wrote:
09 Apr 2018, 19:25
I’m curious about your statement that once we know who the murderer is, there’s a new story to be told. The steady pace and vivid details are attractive qualities. Add to that the opportunity to learn a piece of history, and it sounds like a winner! Thanks for a great review!
Most of the story is "after" the murder. It goes much further than just finding out "who"; it also explores the aftermath in very unexpected ways.
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Post by SpiderDreamer1 » 10 Apr 2018, 15:34

This certainly sounds interesting. How much of it seems like a story or more like reporting? I've always found that balance intriguing in historically based fiction.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 10 Apr 2018, 16:02

SpiderDreamer1 wrote:
10 Apr 2018, 15:34
This certainly sounds interesting. How much of it seems like a story or more like reporting? I've always found that balance intriguing in historically based fiction.
It read more like a story, but sufficient background information was given when needed.
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