Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: The Life of Graham Greene Volume Three: 1955 - 1991: 1955-1991 Vol 3

The Life of Graham Greene Volume Three: 1955 - 1991: 1955-1991 Vol 3 The Life of Graham Greene Volume Three: 1955 - 1991: 1955-1991 Vol 3 by Norman Sherry
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The first two volumes of Sherry's biography of Greene skirted hero worship by dint of sheer volume of reportage-- Greene's life was filled with momentous happenings, and simply relating them kept Sherry's over-ripe familiarity mostly at bay. Here, unfortunately, as the subject's life begins to wind down, there are no such brakes-- what has been, until now, a mildly cringing sycophancy devolves into full blow toadying. Anyone who is apposite to Greene is portrayed as deluded, jealous, or outright wrong. Greene himself is a warrior for truth, a noble of unsurpassable grandeur, Sherry's personal hero. The author even begins to insert himself into the narrative in an effort to tie himself to his famous subject. This is the weakest, and most tedious, volume in the series, deeply flawed and worthwhile only for a sense of completism, because Sherry has committed the cardinal sin of the biographer: he has fallen in love with his subject.

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Saturday, June 02, 2018

Review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fine piece of investigative journalism by Michelle McNamara into the identity of the East Area Rapist and the connections between him and other, unsolved crimes attributed to other personae. Unfortunately, as has been well documented, McNamara died before the book could be completed, and the text has been completed using a composite of notes, transcripts, and commentary by her husband and fellow amateur sleuths who occupied the message boards she frequented. The result is a patchwork narrative of wildly varying quality, and while the depth and rigorousness of McNamara's pursuit shines through, the book as a whole feels like exactly what it is: a cobbled-together, unfinished work.

Had McNamara lived to complete the work-- especially, had she lived to see the recent arrest of Joseph DeAngelo on DNA evidence-- there's no doubt that this book would have been a superb account of the piecing together of the jigsaw trail leading to him. As it is, it remains frustratingly raw and incomplete, a glimpse of the book we might have had, and have to be content with. Three stars for McNamara's superb job, but no further because the book, ultimately, does not go the rest of the way.

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