A DEATH IN THE LUCKY HOLIDAY HOTEL

MURDER, MONEY, AND AN EPIC POWER STRUGGLE IN CHINA

Because the names, titles and governmental forms will be unfamiliar to most Western readers, the narrative can feel like...

A true-crime murder mystery from 2011 set in a remote Chinese city, with an outsized impact on governance of the vast nation.

Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang (The Little Red Guard, 2012) use the case study method, shifting from the specific to the general throughout the book. The murder victim was Neil Heywood, a British businessman with ties to Chinese officials who held the power to approve business deals with foreign investors. While on a business trip, Heywood turned up dead in his hotel room in Chongqing. The authors reveal a list of likely suspects about halfway through the text. First, they introduce Wang Lijun, a powerful regional Communist Party official who served as the police chief of Chongqing. As a law enforcement chieftain, Wang Lijun carried a reputation for employing brutality with suspected criminals. Next, the authors introduce Bo Xilai, the most powerful regional official and ostensibly Wang Lijun's superior. Like many powerful party members who had risen to authority, Bo Xilai was a "princeling," which meant he was the spawn of previous generations of government officials considered stalwarts. The book's third section focuses on Bo Xilai's powerful wife, Gu Kailai, considered huo shui, loosely translated as "poisonous water." The authors explain how Gu Kailai continues a tradition of beautiful women who destroy the careers of powerful men. In the final section of the narrative, they link the murder case to the rise last year of Xi Jinping as the dominant Communist leader in the country.

Because the names, titles and governmental forms will be unfamiliar to most Western readers, the narrative can feel like tough going at times, but the authors weave a fascinating, dark narrative web.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61039-273-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

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

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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