Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Content- and price-wise, a terrific value
on 22 October 1998
Alert, True Crime fans! For those of us who feast on the genre and who have known too often the frustration--a kind of tawdry humiliation, really, considering the subject-matter--of spending good dollars for bad product, Steve Jackson's "Monster" is superb value both content- and price-wise. At a beefy 530 pages (Amazon's count is uncharacteristically incorrect), Jackson's book is well-researched and features a clear narrative account that is beyond mere "easy to follow"--this book enters the realm of the "could not put it down." The book's length allows its author to include a wealth of detail regarding the heinous crimes of one Thomas Luther, and allows him to do so in an unstilted manner--there's not an incident recounted here that reads awkwardly. Unlike many convoluted attempts by authorial wannabes, Jackson's prose is the real deal; it reads as true as its recounted conversations ring. The book records the pursuit of Luther by Detective Scott Richardson, and documents the twists, turns, and inner turmoil involved in a case of this nature: As Richardson struggles first to find the body of Cher Elder and then to prove the case against the sociopathic Luther, a chronic repeat offender, the reader becomes an active agent in that pursuit, rather than a passive follower of it. Those of you well-read in the genre know what I mean when I say that this is an extremely difficult task for a writer. Jackson is worth two Ann Rules and three Jack Olsens, and those are writers I much admire. Indeed, other than Capote's "In Cold Blood," the Platonic ideal for a true-crime tome, I can think of no book I've found more of an enjoyable challenge. Those of you who, like me, are opposed to the death penalty will get a real run for your money here, a real test of true principles. Jackson's vivid details--yes, much blood here, much stabbing, strangling, and shooting; neckbones snap, faces are rearranged--make the argument for the prosecution. I'm still anti-capital punishment, but I'll admit I wouldn't lose so much as a nap, let alone a good night's sleep, to hear that Luther and other members of his ilk had, at the hands of the State, shuffled off this mortal coil.