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Review: Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found

Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'll start by saying that this is more of a 2.5 than a true 2. However, Goodreads still refuses to allow half stars so I rounded down.

I'm rating it so low because of the awful and tedious writing. How this author has won any awards for writing is beyond me. After the first chapter, the next 100 pages are completely skippable. For whatever reason, we're treated to a lot of random information and history, including an in-depth detailing of the citrus farming industry, which has no real bearing on the plot. This citrus industry thread is bizarrely commented on throughout the book, which makes me think maybe I have missed something but I can't imagine what.

Once we get about halfway into the book, it gets a bit more focused, but still goes on random tangents. It often reminded me of how Peter Griffin in Family Guy has a tendency to go off on a long, random non sequitur. However, while it's funny in that situation, it's just annoying in this book. I found myself looking for dates in long passages and just skimming if it happened decades prior to the date of the crime.

There are a ton of people to keep track of, but that's not really a complaint as this is based on a true story. A "Cast of Characters" may have been helpful in the front of the book.

With my grievances aired, the saving grace of this book (and why I didn't completely abandon it) was the real life conspiracy. It's a fascinating look at the miscarriage of justice and racism in the not too distant past.

The story could have totally held its own and it's a shame that the author felt the need to overstuff this book with so many random side plots.

My best advice for this book is to completely skip it and just do a Google search for the case instead. You'll probably find more detailed and coherent information and not waste 400 pages on learning about random information.

If you're insistent on reading the book, I recommend a skimming strategy for some of the more boring parts. This is also just my opinion, so feel free to disregard entirely.

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