The stunning true story of an Alabama serial killer, and the trial that obsessed the author of To Kill a Mockingbird in the years after the publication of her classic novel - a complicated and difficult time in her life that, until now, has been very little examined.
Casey Cep is a staff writer at The New Yorker. After graduating from Harvard College with a degree in English, she earned an M.Phil in theology at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her family. Furious Hours is her first book and was an instant New York Times bestseller.
It's been a long time since I picked up a book so impossible to
put down. Furious Hours made me forget dinner, ignore incoming
calls, and stay up reading into the small hours. It's a work of
literary and legal detection as gripping as a thriller. But it's
also a meditation on motive and mystery, the curious workings of
history, hope, and ambition, justice, and the darkest matters of
life and death. Casey Cep's investigation into an infamous Southern
murder trial and Harper Lee's quest to write about it is a
beautiful, sobering, and sometimes chilling triumph. -- Helen
Macdonald, author of 'H is for Hawk'
This story is just too good ... Furious Hours builds and builds until it collides with the writer who saw the power of Maxwell's story, but for some reason was unable to harness it. It lays bare the inner life of a woman who had a world-class gift for hiding ... [this] book makes a magical leap, and it goes from being a superbly written true-crime story to the sort of story that even Lee would have been proud to write. -- Michael Lewis, author of 'Moneyball' and 'The Big Short'
Fascinating ... Cep has spliced together a Southern-gothic tale of multiple murder and the unhappy story of Lee's literary career, to produce a tale that is engrossing in its detail and deeply poignant... [Cep] spends the first third of Furious Hours following the jaw-dropping trail of murders ... Engrossing ... Cep writes about all this with great skill, sensitivity and attention to detail. * Sunday Times *
With its rich cast of characters, the polar opposite settings of New York and rural Alabama, Cep's dark humour and painstaking research, there is a great deal to enjoy ... a rich and rewarding read. * The Times *
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'
It's one measure of just how rich Casey Cep's material is, and how artfully she handles it, that I have given away only about a tenth of the interest and delight contained within the first third of her book ... [Casey Cep] explains as well as it is likely ever to be explained why Lee went silent after To Kill a Mockingbird * New York Times *
Gripping but always judicious ... Cep persuasively argues that the appeal of all this to Lee went well beyond that of a cracking story ... Almost every individual part of the book rattles along compulsively, while also providing some neat and telling changes of perspective. As well as the enthralling central story, there's plenty of great stuff on the always eye-popping business of southern politics. And perhaps best of all, Furious Hours triumphantly rescues Harper Lee from the myth she's been in danger of disappearing into - and restores her to full and recognisable human life. * Daily Telegraph *
[An] intriguing book ... What gives Furious Hours its frisson is that the author who hoped to follow in Capote's footsteps was his old friend, Harper Lee ... Cep ably takes on the task that Lee may or may not have abandoned ... Ms Cep paints a portrait of a hermetic society still riven by prejudice ... Then she pieces together Lee's struggle not only with Maxwell's tale but with the legacy of her overwhelming success ... Furious Hours is a well-told, ingeniously structured double mystery - one an unsolved serial killing, the other an elusive book - rich in droll humour and deep but lightly worn research. * Economist *
Accomplished and compelling ... All this is gold-dust for a writer, and Cep has used it well ... She draws a vivid portrait of the characters embroiled in these dreadful crimes, the community they affected, and the rekindling of Lee's writing they promised. * Herald *
The makings of a fascination tale are certainly present, and Cep writes with wonderful evocation and intelligence about the racial, political and cultural backgrounds against which this drama too place ... Casey Cep has elegantly filled in the gaps. * Spectator *