Sunday, September 30, 2012

Literally Dead by James Conroy

Literally DeadLiterally Dead by James Conroy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was asked to read and review this novel by the publisher. It interested me because there were several authors mentioned in the blurb I read. I'm not a fan of crime fiction, but this book held my interest. Many famous authors' names were dropped - Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay - there's also a plug for James Conroy! The story takes place in Chicago and deals with the effort to start workers' unions and the corruption of Chicago's police force. I guess it held my interest because I have family that would have lived in Chicago when the story takes place AND my father was a steelworker and belonged to the Steelworkers' Union. The young writer who is at the center of this story was also son to a renowned union organizer. His father was killed during a worker strike in an attempt to get better wages and working conditions for the workers of a shoe company. It turns out that he was actually murdered and now his son is trying to put the pieces together to find out who murdered him. Hemingway is depicted as you would expect - garrulous and independent; Sandburg and Millay are very important people in this Chicago and help the boy out as much as they can. They also bring along Clarence Darrow to get him out of jail and help with his puzzle. Writing it here, it seems rather fantastic, but reading it, it flows together. It was a very good book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I don't particularly like crime fiction, but this was okay - almost historical. I recommend it.

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