Though Harper Lee never wrote another book after To Kill a Mockingbird, she tried to write the story of Willie Maxwell, a rural Alabama preacher accused of murder in the 1970s. Author Casey Cep’s masterful research and insight bring every aspect of this remarkable story to life: Maxwell’s crimes, courtroom drama, racial politics of the Deep South, and a deeply moving portrait of one of our most revered writers.
“A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper Lee never found a way to tell a gothic true-crime story she’d spent years researching. Casey Cep has excavated this mesmerizing story and tells it with grace and insight and a fierce fidelity to the truth.” —David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon
“An enthralling work of narrative nonfiction. . . . Cep delivers edge-of-your-seat courtroom drama while brilliantly reinventing Southern Gothic.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“The sort of story that even Lee would have been proud to write.” —Michael Lewis, The New York Times
“A marvel.” —Time
“Impossible to put down.” —Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk
“Remarkable, thoroughly researched. . . . Cep manages the feat that all great nonfiction aspires to: combining the clean precision of fact with the urgency of gossip.” —The New York Review of Books