An American Killing

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9780449005798: An American Killing

A bestselling true-crime author, wife to a Washington insider, Denise Burke knows the facts behind the rumors, the stories behind the scandals. Now Owen Hall, a charismatic congressman, urges her to investigate a triple murder case that may have led to a wrongful conviction. But as she begins to penetrate the fateful events surrounding the years-old homicide, Hall suddenly begs her to stop. Yet Burke is in too deep. The stakes reach a deadly level when Hall dies in flagrante with a D.C. call girl--and Burke uncovers a chilling connection. Desperately pursuing a story of secrets, sex, and blood--not for profit, not for fame, but for her very survival--Burke exposes the terrifying truth about the most monstrous crime of all.

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Review:

As a novice writer, Ann Rule worked beside serial killer Ted Bundy for months before his identity as a mass murderer was unmasked. Rule broke into the literary big time with The Stranger Beside Me, exposing the hidden side of the man she thought she knew. But Rule did more than whet a national appetite for true crime stories with her ground-breaking book. She also gave Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, the author of four critically acclaimed novels, a model for Denise Burke, the heroine of this unusually well-written story of sex, crime, and politics.

Burke is equally at ease in Washington, D.C., where her husband is Bill Clinton's adviser on domestic affairs and she and Hillary trade wardrobe tips on what to wear to Parent's Day at Sitwell Friends School (hint: You can't go wrong with a suit), and in New Caxton, Rhode Island, where Eddie Baines was tried and found guilty for a gruesome triple slaying he may not have committed. It's not the kind of crime Burke usually writes about--for one thing, it doesn't have a hero, and every good true crime book needs one. But Owen Hall, Burke's lover and New Claxton's congressman, has a personal interest in seeing the truth come out about the murders, so she starts investigating. The truth turns out to be much more horrifying than either Burke or the congressman expected, and it keeps readers turning the pages to see the effect it has on the town, its founding family and other inhabitants, and Burke's own life. What sets An American Killing apart from other books in the genre is Smith's talent for characterization--not only the major figures in the novel, but the minor ones, too, especially Poppy, the head of the FBI crime lab and Burke's best friend; Nick Burke, Burke's husband; Rosie Owzciak, the town librarian; and New Caxton itself, a dying town whose fortunes are tied to those of Owen Hall and his brother Charles. This is a smart, sexy, completely engrossing novel that should win its author the wide commercial acceptance that her previous novels, too, deserve. --Jane Adams

From the Back Cover:


"Fascinating . . . A fast-paced thriller that truly respects a reader's intelligence."
--People (A Page-Turner of the Week)

"A NOVEL THAT OFFERS SO MUCH PLEASURE . . . The reader can't help being torn between racing ahead to discover the denouement and slowing down to enjoy the company of a host of superbly drawn characters who find themselves on surprisingly intimate terms with evil."
--The New York Times Book Review

"PLENTY POTENT . . . The book's final revelations are good ones, well worth waiting for."
--The Washington Post

"A SURE WINNER . . . RELENTLESSLY READABLE . . . Readers who enjoy the work of Susan Isaacs and Olivia Goldsmith will be thrilled to add this writer to their reading agendas."
--Library Journal

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Mary-Ann Tirone Smith
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