Furious Hours by Casey Cep

Furious Hours

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird.Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s mu...

Details Furious Hours

TitleFurious Hours
Release DateMay 7th, 2019
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, History, Biography, Mystery

Reviews Furious Hours

  • Maureen
    Divided into three parts, Furious Hours tells the true story of Alabama serial killer the Reverend Willie Maxwell. In the 1970’s he was accused of murdering five family members in order to collect the life insurance money. With the help of a very clever lawyer, ( although rumour had it that Maxwell used voodoo to aid his success) he escaped justice, but at the funeral of his last victim, he was shot dead by one Robert Burns.The first part of th...
  • Julie
    Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep is a 2019 Random House publication. The case involving the Reverend Willie Maxwell is one I was completely unfamiliar with. I never heard of him, or Robert Burns or their attorney, Tom Radney- until I picked up this book. As this was all unchartered territory for me, I found the case riveting. I could hardly believe what I was reading. The ease in which Maxwell purchased ...
  • Beata
    Absolutely fabulous and gripping! The novel tells three incredible stories of Reverend Maxwell, a murderer of five members of his own family, of Tom Radney, a lawyer who defended both Maxwell and the man who eventually killed Maxwell, and of Harper Lee, who came to the trial and followed it in hope of writing another novel. Personally, I found Part 3 most interesting as I knew next to nothing about the author of one of the greatest American class...
  • Joey R.
    2.5 Stars — I decided to read “Furious Hours” after reading a magazine review of this book and being very interested in the subject matter of an Alabama serial killer that I never heard of before. The author did a good job of researching certain aspects of the life story and background of the Reverend Willie Maxwell, who was suspected of killing five of his relatives in the 1970’s. His case drew statewide publicity after Rev. Maxwell was ...
  • Peter
    AccursedFurious Hours is an engrossing documentary style book, which brings three enthralling stories together around a series of events involving a serial killer. Each part focuses on the perspective of a renowned personality; Reverend Willie Maxwell (Serial Killer, Preacher), Tom Radney (Lawyer) and Harper Lee (Author).The structure of the book feels more like 3 shorter stories with a theme, rather than 3 integrated parts in the one story. Each...
  • Diane S ☔
    She wrote one book, a book that defined a time period. A book that made her wealthy, but took away the privacy she cherished. She became recognizable everywhere, and though writing was her passion, this she little expected. Why did she write only one book, when everyone who knew her said writing was her passion, that she was always writing.The case of the Alabama minister, a man whose nearest and dearest were murdered for their insurance money. H...
  • Carolyn
    Casey Cep has written a fascinating account of Harper Lee's obsession with writing a true crime novel about the Reverend Willie Maxwell, who murdered five family members in Alabama for the insurance policies he took out on them and got away with it. After giving a eulogy for his stepdaughter (one of the five relatives he was suspected of killing) at her funeral in 1977 he was infamously shot dead in front of 300 people by Robert Burns, an uncle o...
  • Matt
    “One by one, over a period of seven years, six people close to the Reverend [Willie Maxwell] had died under circumstances that nearly everyone agreed were suspicious and some deemed supernatural. Through all of the resulting investigations, the Reverend was represented by a lawyer named Tom Radney, whose presence in the courtroom that day wouldn’t have been remarkable had he not been there to defend the man who killed his former client…Repo...
  • Diane
    This is one of the best nonfiction books I've read this year. "Furious Hours" is both the story of a true crime in 1970s Alabama and the story of famous writer Harper Lee. I was interested in the particulars of the crime, which involved a sketchy preacher who was linked to a series of suspicious deaths, and I just lovedlovedloved the section on Harper Lee, which included interesting details of her longtime friendship with Truman Capote.I'm impres...
  • JanB
    Despite the title, Harper Lee doesn’t appear on these pages until the last 1/3 of the book and even then it was about her life and her writing, not a trial.The book is divided into 3 sections, with a thin thread connecting them all: the first dealing with the serial murderer, Rev. Willie Maxwell, the second was about the lawyer connected to the case, and the third on Harper Lee. The Rev. was an enigma and it’s shocking that he was able to get...
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    4.5 starsI was fascinated with the character of Scout Finch in Harper Lee's masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbirdwhen I was a kid. When I re-read the novel for my high school lit class, I was in awe of the layers of the story and its topics that are only complicated by growing up. Scout kept it honest and that's what made her the perfect narrator; the adults are what complicated matters.I knew Harper Lee had never published another novel but when I d...
  • Brina
    To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of my favorite novels. In a nonfiction reading year, I managed to reread it for the fourth time this spring. Naturally, when I noticed a new book that features Harper Lee, I had my curiosity piqued. Casey Cep is a debut author, who has studied literary fiction. Her impetus for this book is a discovering why Lee, who wrote one of the most beloved books in American history, only wrote one book. Cep takes readers ba...
  • Kathleen
    Harper Lee was intrigued with the true-crime story of the Reverend Willie Maxwell. She did an amazing amount of research, and then floundered when she tried to write a tale that would appeal to her many fans. Cep has succeeded where Lee failed.Willie Maxwell was born in Alabama in 1925, served two tours in the Army, and earned a Good Conduct Medal. He married Mary Lou in 1947, worked two jobs and preached at three different churches. At least, he...
  • Lou
    I must start by saying that Furious Hours is probably the best true crime work I have had the pleasure of reading; it has so much more to it than one would initially imagine and that's what makes it such a gripping book. It's an amalgamation of true crime, American history, legal thriller and biography of Harper Lee, which is a very interesting mix and works well. For many years Lee was obsessed with one particular case - that of church minister ...
  • Jess☺️
    Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud And The Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep is a great true crime book it's based around 3 main characters a serial killer ( The Reverend Willie Maxwell) the lawyer (Tom Radney) who defended the reverend and the other killer ( you definitely need to read it to find out what that one did ) and Harper Lee an author made famous by her fabulous book To kill a mockingbird, it's also about her issues with the fame after i...
  • Chris
    Utterly brilliant. I was fascinated both by this tale of an actual serial killer in Alabama (and his murder), and the desperate way that Harper Lee tried (and failed) to find in his story and trial her own second act. Casey Cep is also a gifted stylist: this is a work of non-fiction written with elegance and beauty and grace.
  • Susan
    Seventeen years since the publication of, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee lat in a courtroom in Alabama. She was planning to write a true crime book about the case she was watching, but that book was never published. In this volume, author, Casey Cep, writes not only a compelling explanation as to why this book never appeared, but also combines true crime and biography, in a riveting account of a crime and the characters involved.She begi...
  • Chrissie
    This book can be classified as both true crime and biography. What has made it worth reading for me is what I learned about Harper Lee. I I have a deeper understanding of her as a person. I am comfortable with the author’s, Casey Cep’s, presentation of facts. One has cause to be wary given the huge amount of hearsay and rumors that have swirled about Lee in the press. After writing her famed novel To Kill a Mockingbird everyone has been beggi...
  • Faith
    This is a true crime story about Reverend Willie Maxwell who was implicated in the deaths of 6 people over the course of 7 years. He was tried and acquitted once and was murdered by the uncle of his purported final victim before charges could be brought against him. Suspiciously, he had bought life insurance polices insuring the victims; in the case of his second wife, at least 17 policies. The accusations against Maxwell kept his attorney, John ...
  • Barbara
    I chose to read this book even though I normally wouldn't be drawn to a story about a serial killer. I was drawn to it because it was Harper Lee's (AKA Nelle Lee) story - a mystery in itself.Furious Hours is a description of Andrew Jackson's final engagement with the Creek Indians, but it also describes the lifetime of tormented hours Lee spent battling her writing demons, those demons that prevented her from completing her nonfiction account of ...
  • Louise Wilson
    The story of an Alabama serial killer and the true - crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the rears after To Kill A Mocking Bird.The Reverend Willie Maxwell is a preacher who's been accused of killing five of his family members for the insurance money. But Willie always got off scott-free. He was shot in front of three hundred people. The man who shot him was defended by the lawyer that Willie used. He also managed to get the shoot...
  • Lorna
    Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee was the first book of author Casey Cep and an amazing debut it was. Ms. Cep has a delightful way of presenting factual data, of which she researched diligently. Basically the book focuses on the serial murders of a lot of relatives of the Reverend, who coincidentally happened to have taken out large insurance policies on the victims. Also central to this tale is the larger-than-life d...
  • Libby
    3.75 stars rounded up - Reverend William Maxwell was an enigma in his lifetime and even after reading this book, he remains so. As Casey Cep relates in her book, not much is known of Maxwell’s early years, but after a stint in the army, he returned home to Coosa County, Alabama, where he met and married Mary Lou Edwards. Although Maxwell worked at powdering (blasting rock) and pulpwooding, his main vocation became the ministry. Known for his el...
  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    Nonfiction November is a month long reading initiative that challenges you to read four or more nonfiction books during the month of November. 4 stars! I listened to this book because it was part of my local book club and I was curious. I am not normally a great nonfiction reader, but this book sounded compelling and I was curious to dive in. Furious Hours is about a murder that happens in a small town. At a funeral, a reverend is shot down in f...
  • Michelle
    "Nothing writes itself. Left to its own devices, the world will never transform into words."Furious hours is an account of a sensational murder trial that captivated a small town in Alabama and one of its home grown heroes, the reclusive novelist Harper Lee. Known best for the Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee struggled over her lifetime to produce another book. There has been much speculation over the reason(s) behind this....
  • Kylene
    It is rare that I can't finish a book - especially a murder book! But my god. This is not a book about a serial killer. This is a book that gives a painstaking detailed history of the largest lake in Alabama and the life insurance industry. I'm almost halfway through and it's too unbearable to finish. It really feels as though the author wanted to tell the story of the murders but didn't have enough material so she just fluffed it up - but with t...
  • Ed
    This well-written, well-researched account describes Harper Lee's aborted attempt to write a true crime novel (a la In Cold Blood) of a lurid murder and its trial in her native Alabama. While I enjoyed reading about the murder and its subsequent trial, I found the last third of the book on Harper Lee to be more interesting. Her complicated friendship with Truman Capote is explained as is the controversial publication of her second novel which I'v...
  • Jill Meyer
    "Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee", by Casey Cep, is my favorite type of book. It's a work of non-fiction that reads like fiction. It's a bit of a strange book - Cep writes three different stories that she doesn't bring together til the end, but somehow, it comes together beautifully.Harper Lee, long famed for "To Kill A Mockingbird", never published another book during her lifetime. After her death in 2016, an unfin...
  • Krista
    Among the many already-written books keeping Lee company in her apartment was a copy of Daniel DeFoe's Robinson Crusoe, which she had read, as she put it, umpteen times. Crusoe had been shipwrecked twenty-eight years, and Lee must have identified. Ages had passed since she had published Mockingbird, yet there she was surrounded by loneliness, struggling with a book that didn't seem to want to be written, on what must have felt, at times, like her...