Furious Hours

A nonfiction book by Casey Cep.

Casey Cep

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country's most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity. (From Penguin Random House)

Furious Hours is available in May 2019.

More about Harper Lee

Mary McDonagh Murphy made a documentary about the beloved and famously-private writer and says, with Lee's death at 89, there are many questions the world will never have answered.

Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird" Author, Dies

6 years ago
Duration 2:46
Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" has died at the age of 89
A Harper Lee biographer has unearthed another previously-unknown work of the late author: a true crime article about the same murders detailed in Truman Capote's book 'In Cold Blood.'