In the style of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Simon Waroll, in The Poet and the Murderer delivers a compelling and cinematic true-crime thriller. However, in that cinematization, I suspect he invests a great deal of speculation and utilizes the same spin doctor techniques as the con-men and forgers he writes about. The author certainly shows he's done his homework. He gives his reader a wide range of interesting and relevant background. That said, though, he does so at the expensive of focus, swerving back and forth between four or so plotlines with rather unrefined transitions and introducing a wide array of characters that left me feeling at times confused and inept for not being able to keep track of them all as I read. Despite these shortcomings, the blending of a crime story, especially a true one, and the more familiar world to me of librarians and bibliophiles kept a dork like me reading to the end, and I'd certainly invite any and all like-minded dorks to pick this piece up if they're looking to read (with a grain of salt) a compelling non-fiction piece.
The Poet and the Murderer by Simon Worall
January 30, 2010