A spare, elegantly simple exploration of father-son love and father-son hate. Equally strong passions, left unbridled, one can be harmful, the other deadly.
Based on a real event, Patricide begins with a brutal homicide on the Iowa prairie in 1920. Told by several observers, the subject is handled with the respect befitting these salt of the earth people bewildered by the horrifying act of fifteen-year-old Carl Jess.
What drove this boy to patricide? What was his motivation? Did he believe he had something to gain, or was he totally deranged?
While the community wrestles with these questions, attempting to sort fact from speculation, the five men closest to the case examine their relationship with their sons.
The killer, Carl Jess, has a point of view, too.
Stirring the pot is Augusta Duvall, the first female reporter for the Des Moines Register, who publishes a sensationalized and somewhat fictional portrayal of Carl Jess. She also stirs romantic feelings in John Glover, 50 years her senior; they become the target of gossip.
Patricide will have readers contemplating their life and family relationships.
Given circumstances similar to Carl Jesss, who among us might commit murder?
Christensens authentic voice carries readers beyond the opening shock of patricide into the hearts and minds of a rich cast of characters who explore the complexities of the human condition that tie, bind, and wound families. Long after closing this thought-provoking novel readers will find themselves asking: Why?
JB Hamilton Queen: author of Dagger in the Cup, NIEBA Award; Raincrow; Imminent Reprisal; Masters of the Breed; and Sweet Gums.
When tragedy strikes, I turn to a master storyteller for comfort and illumination. Madonna is one such light-bearer. In this beautifully and compassionately told tale, unfolding from multiple perspectivesthe sheriff, the newspaper reporter, the reverend, the young killer himselfMadonna portrays a community struggling to live with incomprehensible evil. Once youve read this story, it will be a light for your journey for the rest of your life.
Marshall J. Cook, professor emeritus of creative writing, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and author of the Monona Quinn mystery series.