Devil in the Hole
by Charles Salzberg
on Tour September 1 - October 31, 2013
Published by: Five Star/CengagePublication Date: July 19, 2013 Number of Pages: 253 ISBN: 978-1-4328-2696-3 Purchase Links:
Book Details:Genre: Literary psychological crime fiction
Synopsis:Devil in the Hole is based on a true crime that occurred over 40 years ago in New Jersey, wherein a man murdered his entire family, wife, three children, mother and the family dog, and disappeared. My novel uses that event and takes off from there, following the murderer on his escape route. Using the voices of people he meets along the way, and people who are affected by his crime, the reader starts to build a portrait of the man and why he did what he did, in addition to following those who are searching for him.
Being from the UK I had never heard about the List murders from 1971 in the USA. This made the book seem like a complete work of fiction, as you really can't comprehend anyone carrying out such a heinous crime or even understand what drove them to it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I enjoyed the way the author had based each chapter on each of the characters involved. This made the "story" extremely easy to follow.
The dedication and passion of the lead investigator in the case makes you really warm to him because of his passion and drive to succeed in finding who carried out such a despicable crime. I felt his pain when each lead he had just led to a dead end. He never gave up searching and I found this admirable.
I think the author has done a great job on this book and his passion in the real life case really shows through his writing. It's a hard hitting novel and well written.
From the Author himself with his kind permission
"In late November 1971, Westfield, NJ police broke into a large Victoria mansion and discovered a set of gruesome murders. Alma List and her three teenage children, the family dog and her mother-in-law were dead. Father/husband/son, John list was missing. With a three week head start, List disappeared and wasn't found until 18 yrs later, when John Walsh's America's Most Wanted featured him the case on his show.
At the time the murders occurred, I was just embarking on a career as a magazine journalist. The case fascinated me, not because of the scope of the murders nor it's intimacy, but because it had been not an irrational, spur of the moment act, but rather it was meticulously planned and carried through, giving List more than enough time to make his escape. I wanted to write a true crime book, in large part because I needed to know what could drive a man to annihilate his entire family and still live with the consequences. But because List had disappeared into the ether and there was no indication that he'd ever be found, no publisher was interested. "We need an ending" they said, and with List still on the loose there was no ending, at least not a satisfying one.
Over the years, this case haunted me and eventually, in large part because I needed to know what might drive someone to commit these kinds of murders, I realized the only way to get close to an answer was to write a novel, using the List murders as the jumping off point.
Devil in the Hole, published 19 July 2013 by Five star/Cengage is that novel. In it I've used the facts of the crime itself, but everything else, all the characters, the setting, and what eventually happens to the protagonist, John Hartman, is made up.
Through the eyes of almost two dozen characters, including the neighbor who reports the crime, the family minister, Hartman's mistress, a dogged state investigator, and various people Harman meets on his escape route, the reader is able to piece together not only what happened, but how these shocking murders affect the community, how John Hartman evades capture, where he's headed, and maybe even why he committed this gruesome crime."
Read an excerpt:
Author Bio:Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann's Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer's Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 5-17-2013 This title publishes JULY 2013 “In this smartly constructed crime novel, Salzberg uses multiple viewpoints to portray an unlikely killer who methodically slaughters his family . . . an intriguing collage of impressions and personal perspectives for the reader to ponder.” **************************************** Devil in the Hole by Charles Salzberg. Five Star, $25.95 (254p) ISBN 978-1-4328-2696-3 In this smartly constructed crime novel, Salzberg (Swann Dives In) uses multiple viewpoints to portray an unlikely killer who methodically slaughters his family. When James Kirkland, a neighbor, notices something odd going on at the Sedgewick, Conn., home of the Hartmans, he calls the police. Inside the Georgian-style mansion, police find the neatly executed bodies of Adele Hartman, her three teenage children, and her mother-in-law. John Hartman, Adele’s husband, is missing. Salzberg adroitly creates the voices of Hartman as he tries to establish a new life for himself; Charles Floyd, a senior police investigator who becomes obsessed with finding Hartman; and Kirkland, whose discovery changes his life. A slew of other characters who knew Hartman or who encounter him as he moves around provide snippets of information. The result is not a finished portrait but an intriguing collage of impressions and personal perspectives for the reader to ponder. Agent, Alex Glass, Trident Media Group. (July) Reviewed on 05/17/2013 | Details & Permalink (July)
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