A debut novelist interweaves a trio of voices-haunting, dangerous, full of longing--mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and the search to heal ...more
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The theme of loneliness ...more
Outside Valentine is pretty much tailor-made for me. I'm a sucker for the subject matter (three stories paralleling the killing spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate), the book was released by a major press but dropped off the radar after getting almost no publicity at all, and a whole lot of critics liked it a whole lot. And yet I've spent the last couple of years trying to get myself to like it and failing miserably. It's not that the ...more
It is told from the point of view of Caril, Lowell (son of two of the victims), and Susan (a young girl who is obsessed with the murders and later marries Lowell). It tells how the murders affected families, friends, and neighbors for generations after they took place.
I remember these events well since I lived only about 20 miles away from Lincoln. I was ...more
I didn't realize until later when I googled some research that Liza Ward is actually a granddaughter of the couple that was murdered in Lincoln, Nebraska. She changed the names of the victims in the book, so I didn't pick up on the relationship. I would be interested if anyone felt ...more
Much of the material was frightening to read, but was written with so much honesty and realism that it was riveting. I only wish that Susan had been more developed as an adult. I kept wonder ...more
Popular culture has engraved the Starkweather killings in successive generations' collective memory with Terrence Malick's 1973 film Badlands and Oliver Stone's 1994 Natural Born Killers. There's no dearth of nonfiction accounts, either. Ward, however, reinvents the subject in her first novel. Drawn from the murders of her well-to-do grandparents (parents of her father...more