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Evidence of Blood [Hardcover]

Thomas H. Cook
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1991
It was a town legend: the teenager who disappeared on a mountain road, the bloody dress found in the woods and the local man who confessed. Jackson Kinley grew up on that legend but it is only when he returns to bury an old friend that he starts to investigate the crime which happened 40 years ago.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cook's splendid novel finds a true-crime writer back in his rural Georgia hometown to attend the funeral of its sheriff, whose last investigation he seeks to complete.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Lush-languaged Cook (Sacrificial Ground, Blood Innocents), in a pared-down mode. True-crime writer Jackson Kinley returns to Sequoyah, Georgia, first for his grandmother's funeral, then for that of his best friend, Ray, who died while seemingly obsessed with the years-ago murder of teenager Ellie Dinker. Charles Overton, the man electrocuted for her murder, was the father of Ray's lover, Dora. Or was he--either Dora's father, that is, or a murderer? As Kinley follows Ray's trail (word-by-word reading of the original trial transcript; interviews with witnesses; visits to the supposed crime scene), discrepancies appear and facts blur. Facts or merely wishes? The closer Kinley comes to the truth, the more he disrupts his own life and long-held assumptions regarding his father, his mother, and, above all, his grandmother, all of whom, incontrovertibly, revelation by painful revelation, are drawn into the tale of poor Ellie Dinker, her pregnancy, her unsuccessful abortion, and its aftermath. Gripping southern drama, with its byzantine family trees, old wives' tales, and overheated memories. One of the better Cooks to date. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately June 28 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately I read this book after INSTRUMENTS OF NIGHT (which was published later). The two books are similar in plot and tone, but I liked INSTRUMENTS much better. Thomas Cook is always an interesting read, but this one didn't quite measure up. It was strung out a little more, more pointless details, slower moving and the mystery was not as riveting. It was still better than most books though, and I plan on reading all of this books.
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By john c.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was very disappointed with this book. It started off nicely with spooky atmospherics and some gruesome details. But once the plot actually got moving, it became bland and also disjointed. The prose obstructed the telling of the story. It was like molasses. Also, the story meandered, with little suspense. Finally, while it's not indispensable in a mystery, it would be nice to have a few clues, however abstruse, tossed into the plot as it moves along (sarcasm!). And now for a positive: if you want to read a good book, read one of Michael Connely''s, especially Void Moon, The Poet, Trunk Music, The Black Echo and The Wild Coyote.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dynamite flashbacks Oct. 22 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Awesome. Cook breaks the rules with his dynamite flashbacks showing the relationship of childhood friends, Ray and Jackson. I haven't seen this done with such skill in a long time, and the ending was truly a surprise. As Jackson reconstructs the circumstances surrounding his friend's death, Cook draws in the reader effortlessly. If you like Thomas Cook's style and treatment of flashbacks, you will love Laurie Moore's new novel, THE LADY GODIVA MURDER. Mariel Watson
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5.0 out of 5 stars BLOODY GOOD READ June 18 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of Cook's finest works to date. As we get involved with Jackson Kinley and his search for the truth behind a 30 year old crime, we find ourselves intrigued and mystified. As Kinley researches old court transcripts, interviews people, and starts putting the pieces together, we enter a labyrinthine maze of vast proportions.
Cook, whose specialty has been journeying back to previous crimes, outdoes himself in manipulating the reader into finding many suspects and many possible solutions to the question: did an innocent man die in the electric chair for a crime he didn't commit? Was a murder even committed? Who is behind the suspected cover-up?
Although the ending does have an air of ambiguity, when revisiting the novel mentally, one can see how everything ties together in the end.
A superb work by Mr. Cook.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Labyrinth of Evidence March 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cooke is in fine form in first-person narrated "Evidence of Blood." The writing is leaner, and anti-hero Jackson Kinley is more likable than the usual Cooke protagonist. Kinley is closed off from all but logical deduction, yet not a Sherlock Holmesian mock-up. He clearly has done all one man can possibly do to remove himself physically, emotionally and mentally from his birthplace Sequoyah, GA. He has one of the most unusual occupations I have happened across in the mystery genre. He successfully writes in-depth true crime books about the horribly depraved killers. Why he does this would make an interesting side topic.
When Kinley returns to his hometown for the funeral of his best friend only a month after he has buried his grandmother, he is hoping his stay will be a short one. However he is drawn into the investigation of a 30 year-old trial that his friend has been researching before his untimely death. Just to stay off the beaten path, Cooke assures us (via the narrator) that the friend did not come to an untimely end; he died a perfectly normal death.
The mystery of a man executed for killing a teenaged girl is meticulously unraveled. Kinley studies trial transcripts, interviews witnesses, visits sites all presented in an appealing manner. As usual, Cooke gives people instant recall of events that happened 30 years ago, which I found implausible. But this is a small quibble. The book builds in intensity until the entire community is in some way involved. Always in the background is the gray malevolence of the person or persons who schemed to execute an innocent man. Cooke forces us to think logically along with his narrator, and we join him in his repeated thought: "Do you really want to know?"
The finale left me with a few unanswered questions; but this is typical of the author and makes his books star material for discussion groups. Everyone will have a slightly different take on the ending. I recommend this engrossing book.
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