Something for everyone here! Hopefully your library will have copies!
Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann ♦♦♦♦1/2
My favorite reading genre is narrative non-fiction and Killers of the Flower Moon is a one of the best. It is the story of the Osage tribe who after being displaced from Kansas, moved to land in what is now Oklahoma. They were smart enough to get the mineral rights and through the use of “headrights” were guaranteed that they made money through oil leases. As a result, the tribe became very wealthy and the members had mansions, cars and diamonds. However, the government didn’t think the “Indians” could manage such wealth and assigned white guardians to manage it for them. In the 1920s, tribe members began to be murdered. Some were poisoned, others were shot and the headrights seemed to be falling into the hands of the whites. Killers of the Flower Moon traces the investigation of the murders and the resulting establishment of the FBI with J. Edgar Hoover as the very young (29) leader who determined that the Osage murder investigation would be the most important case in the survival of the organization.
The author lays out the murder mystery very effectively and when the main murderer is unmasked midway through the book the reader will find it credible. While the first section of the book is about the tribe and the murders, the second section is the hunt for the murderer by Tom White – an ex Texas Ranger who solves the case using a methodology not employed by his predecessors. The third section of the book details the author’s own search for what happened during the “Reign of Terror”. He was able to uncover the truth about what happened to many unsolved murders during this period in Oklahoma history.
I majored in American history and was unaware of this horrific story. How we as a country treated the Natives is now further documented thanks to David Grann. Everyone should read this book.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michailedes ♦♦♦1/2
Alicia Berenson is found standing over the body of her husband Gabriel who has been shot 5 times and the gun is on the floor. Her wrists have been slashed and there is blood everywhere. She obviously killed him – right? Alicia is assigned to a mental facility. She hasn’t spoken a word since the killing when her case draws the attention of a psychotherapist Theo Farber who thinks he can help draw her out. He takes a job at the institution (the Grove) where she is committed. Theo is the narrator of the story with some added diary entries of Alicia’s interspersed to create a slow unraveling of what actually happened the day of the murder.
In this psychological thriller, there are twists and turns everywhere. I figured many things out earlier than when they appeared in the novel but it didn’t detract from the drama. This is a great summer page turner. It reminded me somewhat of Double Bind, that wonderful Chris Bohjalian novel in terms of the twists and the surprise ending. I don’t want to say anything more about the book other than there is a reason for all the buzz about this 2019 novel. If you are looking for a summer page turner, check it out.
The Extraordinary life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni ♦♦♦
This novel is a departure from the author’s normal legal thrillers and is about the life of Sam Hell – a boy who is born with red eyes (ocular albinism) and faces an uphill battle throughout his childhood trying to be normal. He is tormented and bullied during his elementary school years by both the Catholic School nuns and the worst bully of all, David Freeman. Sam has two friends in school – an African American athlete Ernie and the nonconformist Michaela. High School is a little better for Sam because Ernie is a star athlete and Sam is able to ride his coattails but David still lurks in the background. Sam becomes an ophthalmologist and helps others to see but David reappears adding additional stress to his life.
Dugoni’s legal thriller writing technique bleeds through to this novel – especially the “tension” that he utilizes constantly with the bullying. Frankly, I got tired of it. The book also delves into the theme of faith (his mother’s Catholic faith being central to the story) and those of you who went to Catholic School may emphasize with some of Sam’s experiences – I know I did! In summation, I found the book to be very readable and enjoyed most of the plot lines with the exception of the bullying. I don’t read (or enjoy) legal thrillers so the style wasn’t in my wheelhouse but for others, may make the read very enjoyable. The book isn’t particularly deep (although some of the faith aspects raise complicated issues), is very readable and has a happy ending so definitely a novel many people will enjoy.