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WHEN THE NIGHT COMES FALLING

A REQUIEM FOR THE IDAHO STUDENT MURDERS

A compelling true-crime book.

The prolific nonfiction author returns with the story behind the 2022 slayings of four University of Idaho students.

Blum, author of Night of the Assassins, Dark Invasion, and other bestselling books, characterizes Moscow, Idaho, as a “quaint” and “churchy” town that also happened to be home to a university known for being “the best party school in the state.” Beneath the pleasant exterior, a disturbing history—which included drug trafficking, brutal murders, and allegations of pedophilia and sexual assault against respected members of a local church—quietly lurked. Blum reveals how the stabbing deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin on November 13, 2022, revealed, in their shocking senselessness, Moscow’s unacknowledged dark side. The police investigation ultimately yielded a suspect, a troubled criminology doctorate student named Bryan Kohberger, and circumstantial evidence pointed to Kohberger’s guilt. However, there were no significant connections between the indicted killer and any of the victims, which has since led to multiple postponements of the trial: “And so now after all the tedious, exasperating delays, whenever it finally does take place, it will be a footnote to the larger, ineluctable events….Besides, what will the trial reveal? The dialectics of the courtroom would inevitably prevail and opposing teams of experts will be summoned to go at one another.” Blum suggests that a second tragedy—the effect the murders have had on victims’ families—exists alongside the actual murders themselves. In their frustration with the criminal system and desire for justice, Goncalves’ parents and siblings offered support for death penalty legislation that would permit death by a firing squad, effectively making them victims of a “raging, all-consuming anger” that would mark them for life. Blum capably maintains the suspense and thoughtfully probes into the motives of key players in this intriguing yet profoundly unsettling story.

A compelling true-crime book.

Pub Date: June 25, 2024

ISBN: 9780063349285

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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