I received a free digital ARC via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.
I am late on my review of this one, because I am not quite sure how I feel about it still. The story is part true crime, part memoir. The author is indirectly related to the case, only because the murderer was his family doctor for many years. Honestly, I feel like that part bogged down the story to me. It was important for the author to disclose the fact that he knew Dr. Finch, but I don't really feel like anything beyond that was necessary. It kind of slowed down and already-slow story.
I am by no means a true crime queen, but I have read my fair share and this case was new to me, so I was surprised to learn that it was supposedly so captivating to the nation. This is a terrible thing to say, but the murder itself was so boring that I don't see how that was possible. The synopsis makes everything sound so enthralling...
"Did the handsome, wealthy doctor and his beautiful young paramour plan to kill his glamorous socialite wife? Or did the gun accidentally discharge as he claimed?"
"Set against midcentury CinemaScope glamour of Hollywood, Las Vegas and Palm Springs..."
...except we get no sense of any of them as real people, just these kind of true crime caricatures. Even Barbara, the actual victim, is practically relegated to the sidelines in her own story. As for setting, there's hardly a sense of these places, either. The story could literally happen anywhere and it would not change the excitement level or the way in which the story was written.
The book moves along pretty slowly and took me a bit to get into. The personal memoir parts were distracting and in the end I feel they were not necessary. I think the story could have been tighter and more interesting had it been solely about the crime and its aftermath. The research put into telling Barbara's story is evident, and is certainly a positive I can comment on as something the author did well. I would have appreciated if the memoir-type items would have been left to the intro or conclusion.
I can't say that I would recommend this one for someone who is a huge crime buff and is used to a fast paced story. It might be a good place to start for someone who has never read true crime before, as it is not terribly graphic or messy.