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Shake The Devil Off: A True Story Of The Murder That Rocked New Orleans (2009)

by Ethan Brown(Favorite Author)
3.46 of 5 Votes: 5
0805088938 (ISBN13: 9780805088939)
Henry Holt and Co.
review 1: I wish someone could help me find Ethan Brown because I would very much like to secure the rights to adapt this story into a film. The tragedy of Bowen's untreated PTSD from Iraq and Brown's undiagnosed sexual trauma PTSD was a train wreck along the lines of Sid and Nancy, with even more gruesome and disastrous results. This book is a wake-up call to the state of LA, the US military, and America in general that mental illness is here and MUST be dealt with in a positive, compassionate manner to avoid further violence at the hands of the suffering ignored. Brown's narrative walks the fine tightrope between presenting the cold, hard truth without indulging in media-biased judgment and condemnation of Bowen and Brown, who were each victims in their own individual ... moreways.
review 2: I vaguely recall reading the headlines a few years ago about this young couple. Fast forward a few years. I see an episode on ABC of a program called Final Witness. It features the commentary of the now infamous Margaret Sanchez, suspect in the recent murder of Jaren Lockhart. Google it.I got around to checking this book out from the library, and I couldn't put it down. Things I liked:-It pulled me back into the nonfiction realm. I hadn't read a NF book in awhile. Now I'm adding all sorts of true stories to my to-read list, especially those based on and around New Orleans.-It sparked my interest and made me think about important issues like the Iraq War, homicide rates/corruption in New Orleans and post-traumatic stress disorder.Things I didn't like:-The book focused mostly on Zack Bowen. Why market the book as a story about the couple when we only got the background of one of them?I wanted to know more about Addie Hall's background.-Zack Bowen was portrayed so sympathetically. I found myself just completely feeling sorry for him. I guess this falls under things I didn't like because I don't want to feel sorry for someone who strangled his girlfriend, dismembered her, and cooked her body parts. Life is not black and white. Humans are complex, and I appreciate the fact that the author did not paint Zack as a monster because that would be too easy. However, I feel that the book overlooks how truly sad and awful Addie's story must have also been. Her remains sat in a morgue MONTHS after this happened. It would take some serious investigating to find out what kind of family she came from. I guess the author had willing friends and family to speak with on Zack's side.-The focus of the book sort of went in different directions. While all of it was interesting, the second half the book dealt with murders of other people in New Orleans, Veterans Affairs and their treatment (or lack of) soldiers coming home from Iraq, Hurricane Gustav, etc. It almost felt like the second half was just sort of tacked on. Notice.. I still give the book 4 out of 5 stars. It kept my attention and made me dig deeper into some other nonfiction books I want to read, including the author's other two books. Any book that can keep me from taking a nap on a lazy, rainy Louisiana afternoon is a winner, even if it IS about such a disturbing subject. less
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Strange, gory murder, but a strong indictment of military policy on treating war traumas.
A sad account of the current state of these United States.
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