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on July 11, 2004
Paris Trout is about a murder of a young black girl, the utter of absence of morals in the killer, and the hypocrisy of a white town which almost doesn't want justice to be done to him. Set in an inbred town in Georgia, Paris Trout is a shopkeeper who has his hands in a lots of other business, such as loan sharking and auto sales. He sells a car to a young black man, Henry McNutt, vastly escalating the sale by adding "insurance" to it. After Henry becomes involved in a car wreck, he comes to Trout demanding that it be fixed because the accident was covered by his insurance. In the following dispute, Henry leaves the car and says he's not going to pay on the car anymore. After repeated warnings to pay, Paris Trout shows up at the McNutt residence with a former cop that had been kicked off the force for abusing black citizens. Not finding Henry there, they proceed to get involved in a situation with his mother and her children. Guns are drawn by Paris and the ex-officer and Henry's mother and a young girl living with the family are shot. The rest of the novel is about the aftermath of the killing, in which Paris believes he was justified because he was owed money.
Harry Seagraves, a lawyer who recognizes Paris' guilt, but feels he is obligated to the decadent aristocracy of the town, decides to take over Paris' defense. Everyone in the town knows Paris is guilty, but are reluctant to see a white man go down for the killing of a black girl. The question is, will the town overcome its inherent racism and see justice done? Ward Townes, an honest county attorney takes over the prosecution.
This was a good novel. It really exposes what many people already knew about certain parts of the South. You basically had some good people who knew about injustices being done to the blacks but were so ingrained with racial biases that they couldn't see blacks as equals. A murder could be bought and paid for and even lynchings could be done and noone searched that hard for the killers. This book reminded me of Crime and Punishment, in that even people without consciences can be haunted and driven mad by their crime. I did feel the closing parts of the book were not executed very well. This book won the National Book Award and should appeal to anyone that enjoys all the lawyer shows on TV at the moment like Law and Order.
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on August 23, 1996
"Paris Trout" was a scary book to me, and not just because
of the crimes committed by the title character. Even more
menacing was the complacency of the other characters in the
book. They all could have stopped the chain of events that
eventually spiraled into mass violence. This is a book that
will definitely make you think--but not all pleasant
thoughts, as you contemplate men like Trout and the "good,
up-standing citizens" that turned a blind eye to evil until
it was too late.
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on July 31, 1998
I grew up in Milledgeville, Ga (Cotton Point?) and remember the killing of the 2 lawyers. As an 11 year old child, I was spared the more sinister details of the real life story. I believe that Pete Dexter attended elementary school in Milledgeville at the time this crime took place. As an author he did his homework, then twisted the tale just enough to leave me gasping!
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on June 3, 2004
The tale is nasty, but the writing is good. I read this book very quickly - I was pulled in by the characters and their actions. Paris Trout is scary; those who do little to stop him are also scary. I don't like how Dexter treats the women in his books - horrific is the word that comes to mind. Definitely worth reading if you are in the mood for something very dark.
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on October 7, 1997
Not for the faint of heart, Pete Dexter's Paris Trout will send chills up and down your spine. This riveting tale of a respected white Georgian shopkeeper is sheer evil. Sinister and wicked, this page-turner will keep you up all night - either because the story is so engaging or because you are afraid to turn the lights out!
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