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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Winter 2013

Book Reviews Robert R. Kracke Th e Monster of Florence A True Story Th is reviewer discovered this book by reading some of the novels written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child which revolve around a series of mysteries featuring an FBI agent by the name of Pendergast. All of their fi ctional works are very readable and engaging if mysteries are your cup of tea. Th at led this reviewer to obtain this nonfi ction work involving a series of gruesome murders which took place in and around Florence, Italy. It involves the journalist Mario Spezi and his investigation into the murders of 10 or 12 individuals, mostly found in a lover’s lane setting where the female bodies were horribly disfi gured with body parts removed with almost scalpel-like accuracy (shades of Jack the Ripper). Th is nonfi ction work reads like a novel and is reminiscent of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Erik Larson’s Th e Devil in the White City. More importantly, the trial involving the alleged perpetrator of these horrible crimes was attended by Th omas Harris; he being the same author who wrote by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi Grand Central Publishing, NY, Boston 2008 (325 pgs.) Silence of the Lambs and the sequel to it entitled Hannibal. Hannibal involved Hannibal Lector, the gruesome fi ctional character featured in both of those novels. Hannibal, in the second novel, has moved to Florence, Italy and begins committing crimes which are patterned after the real crimes covered by Th e Monster of Florence. At one point in the real investigation, there were at least 10 individuals who were accused of being the prime suspect. Th ese involved, of all things, a gynecologist, a Roman Catholic priest, members of a mafi a-like society with its roots in Sardinia, a farmer, and other various individuals who were reported to the authorities by a public which was fascinated with these serial murders akin to the Boston Strangler. Th is reviewer found these works by Preston, both the fi ction and the nonfi ction, interesting inasmuch as this reviewer’s father was a clinical pathologist and prior to that a forensics pathologist who at one time held the record for the most autopsies performed in the State of Georgia. Breakfast and dinner talk in this reviewer’s youth sometimes touched upon what an interesting autopsy Dad had that day. One memorably involved a drunk who fell off the side of Stone Mountain, whose body was sliced into several pieces by the scaff olding supporting the sculptor of the Civil War Generals. It was the fi rst time this reviewer had ever heard the word “vivisected.” Preston’s work, both fi ction and nonfi ction, has a macabre interest in autopsies, etc. Th e fi ctional series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is recommended in addition to this “true story.” All of these books can be purchased at local book stores. Th e Marble and Th e Sculptor From Law School to Law Practice by Keith Lee American Bar Association - Law Practice Division ($24.95-180 pages) Keith Lee is a Birmingham lawyer who has written a guide for the young lawyer who has just graduated from law school and is entering the practice of law. Th is reviewer recently attended the induction ceremony in Montgomery of 330 new admittees to the Alabama State Bar. Th is paperback “how to” book advises the undergraduate, the law school student and graduates of the subjects Continued on page 27. 26 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Winter 2013
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