Harry MacLean The Joy of Killing: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781619027428

The Joy of Killing: A Novel

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9781619027428: The Joy of Killing: A Novel
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In his classic works of true crime, Harry MacLean examined the dark side of America and its fascination with violence. In The Joy of Killing, he builds upon this expert knowledge to create a page-turning literary thriller an exciting combination of love story, mystery, psychological suspense, and meditation on human nature and the origins of violence.

This fever dream begins on a stormy fall night at a lake house in the north woods of Minnesota, where we are introduced to a college professor who a few years earlier had written a novel in which he justified a gruesome campus murder under the nihilistic theory that there is no right or wrong, no moral center to man’s activity. The writer returns to the lake house where he had spent his childhood summers and locks himself in the attic, intent on writing the final story of his life. Playing on a continuous loop in his mind are key moments in his past: his childhood in small-town Iowa, where he and his best friend befriended a local drifter; his childhood on the lake where one summer a local boy drowned in a storm; and the central fixation of his erotic meeting with a girl on a train bound for Chicago when he was just fifteen. All of these threads weave together as the writer tries to piece together the multitude of secrets and acts of violence that make up one human life.

Reminiscent of the work of noir master Derek Raymond and John Banville’s The Sea with a touch of David Lynch, The Joy of Killing, with its haunting language and vivid images, is both a fascinating look into the fugue state of one man’s mind as well as a searing, philosophical look at violence and its impact on our human condition. With its elegant structure, multiple storylines, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, the novel is the tour-de-force fiction debut by one of America’s premier writers of true crime.

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About the Author:

Harry MacLean is a lawyer and writer based in Denver, Colorado. He is the author of In Broad Daylight, which won an Edgar Award for Best True Crime and was a New York Times bestseller for twelve weeks; his second book, Once Upon A Time: A True Story of Memory, Murder, and the Law was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and his third book, The Past Is Never Dead: The Trial of James Ford Seale and Mississippi's Search for Redemption was shortlisted for the William Saroyan Award, given by Stanford University.

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I accept that the way I tell the story of that night on the train might not be the way it actually happened, in specific detail, in exact rhythm and tone and sequence; this version has received a little lacquer here and there as life piled up on it; to simplify it or make it feel better or cleaner a few facts have possibly been dropped out or slipped in; perhaps even a few images have been recolored or restored to a brightness they never had. That’s what time and the mind do, for better or worse, and only a fool would deny it. Through the window I can see the purple black between the stars, and the moon rising in the corner, and I think this night, as that one, can’t last; the black will begin to fade slowly to gray, and the morning light will bring with it the end.

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ISBN 10:  1619025361 ISBN 13:  9781619025363
Publisher: Counterpoint, 2015
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