THE BLOCKBUSTER NONFICTION BOOK OF THE SEASON: Furious Hours has received a staggering reception. It has already netted more than 100k copies in hardcover and eBook and is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. It has been named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Time, and The Washington Post.
AN INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY: Reverend Willie Maxwell (allegedly) murdered five family members (including two wives) after taking out life insurance policies on them, before he was shot to death at the funeral of his final victim. Both Maxwell and his own killer got off scot-free. It’s not hard to see why Harper Lee was drawn to the story: it’s more fantastic than any novel.
PRAISE: Reviews for the book have been rapturous—“an enthralling work of narrative nonfiction” (O, The Oprah Magazine); “A gripping, incredibly well-written portrait” (NPR). In The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lewis called it “the sort of story that even Lee would have been proud to write.”
NEW SOURCES: Furious Hours is full of new information about one of America’s most private and least understood writers. In the course of her research, Cep found more than fifty unpublished and unarchived letters written by Lee, and she gained access to Lee’s research materials for her unpublished book on the reverend, which have never been seen.
HARPER LEE: As the phenomenal success of Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird shows, Harper Lee is popular as ever. Although much has been written about her life, no one has delved as deeply into her post-Mockingbird years as Cep does here, writing with enormous empathy about Lee’s struggles with writing and drinking.
One of the Best Books of the Year
The New York Times * The Washington Post * Time * Dallas Morning News * The Economist
“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
“Impossible to put down.” —Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk
“Remarkable, thoroughly researched…. Cep manages the feat that all great nonfiction aspires to: combining the clean precision of fact with the urgency of gossip.” —The New York Review of Books
“Fascinating…. Lyrically composed.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Stunning.” —Financial Times
“A rich, ambitious, beautifully written book.” —The Washington Post
“[A] well-told, ingeniously structured double mystery.” —The Economist
“A gripping, incredibly well-written portrait of not only Harper Lee, but of mid-20th century Alabama…. What I didn’t see coming was the emotional response I’d have as I blazed through the last 20 pages of the book—yet there I was, weeping.” —Ilana Masad, NPR
“A brilliant take on the mystery of inspiration and the even darker mysteries of the human heart.” —People
“A compelling hybrid of a novel, at once a true-crime thriller, courtroom drama, and miniature biography of Harper Lee.” —Southern Living
“There’s a stirring poetry to Furious Hours that eludes most contemporary nonfiction…. [The book] fills in the gap of Lee’s post-Mockingbird career with insatiable curiosity and impressive research. It reveals not just her intellectual interests, but within them, her personal relationships and motivations.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Gripping and meticulous, Cep’s work doesn’t make us choose between fidelity and style.” —Vulture
“This riveting account of both the murders and Lee’s reporting, writing, and editing process is fascinating for its behind-the-scenes look at one of the South’s cherished creative minds.” —Garden & Gun
“Essential reading.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Cep paints a vivid picture of the political and social makeup of a small Southern town, where family trees and the organizational charts of local institutions intersect often; where memories are long; and where the collective conscience of a community sometimes carries more weight than the law.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A riveting true crime story, and a dazzling biography of one of America’s most beloved writers.” —Bustle
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