Evidence of Blood Hardcover – Oct 1991
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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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Jackson soon learns that ties of love extend from beyond the mortal plane. Returning to his home town for the funeral of his only friend, Jackson finds out Ray, a former sheriff, was looking into a murder case that was over three decades old. Charles Overton was tried, convicted, and executed for the death of a teenager whose body was never found. Ray's mistress, who is the daughter of Charles, believes her father was innocent. She turned to Ray and now Jackson to prove she is right. Jackson knows that if he is to have peace of mind, he must find out the truth about Charles and what Ray learned that was "breaking his heart".
This reprint of a 1991 release has not lost any of its' emotional power or mental punch in the exceeding years. Instead, EVIDENCE OF BLOOD seems to be an even more potent tour-de-force. Within the confines of this novel, the investigation of the crime is as important, if not more so, than the solutions because of the length the hermit-like protagonist is willing to go to for his deceased buddy. It is during the investigation that Jackson finally realizes that to be totally isolated makes a person into an inhuman being. This terrific tale, that delves deep into the psyche of the anti-hero, is that rare keeper among keepers.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I was very disappointed with this book. It started off nicely with spooky atmospherics and some gruesome details. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2003 by john c.
Awesome. Cook breaks the rules with his dynamite flashbacks showing the relationship of childhood friends, Ray and Jackson. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002 by Laurie Moore
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. Read morePublished on June 28 2001 by Happy Changes
Get yourself a new jacket designer, Mr. Cook. One that exemplifies the quality of your books.Published on July 11 1999