2007: #109 – Nothing Lost (John Gregory Dunne)

Book #109 was Nothing Lost by John Gregory Dunne. The back of the book reads:

From one of America’s most celebrated writers, an incandescent love story set in a small American town overtaken by the celebrity machine that comes to feast on a big-time criminal trial.

In the town of Regent, a lurid murder becomes a magnet for the media, the best and worst of the local courtroom powers, and a rich cast of hangers-on. There is Teresa Kean, the advocacy lawyer whose life is charged by a mysterious secret; J.J. McClure, the prosecutor who contemplates his own secrets under the radar screen of Poppy, his glamorous, funny, right-wing congresswoman wife. There is Max Cline, a tough gay former state’s attorney, once J.J.’s boss and now a marginalized defense counsel. There is the sociopathic seventeen-year-old Carlyle, half sister of the accused, a supermodel whose addiction is attention — no matter the cost. And, as if it were a character itself, there is the reckless passion that will fulfill a self-destructive destiny for one of the players.

Dunne’s fascination with the population of the forgotten, the rejected, and the left behind in the emptiness of the American heartland is the foundation of a story that takes us through the inner workings of the media, the prisons, the courts, and politics. Unsentimental, surprising, deeply sad and darkly funny, Nothing Lost is Dunne’s finest and last novel.

I thought this was great. I really liked the pace, organization, and mysterious foreshadowing. The characters are interesting and authentically flawed. The one disappointment for me is that I felt the trial conclusion was a bit of a cop-out, though the aftermath was satisfying.

Page count: 335 | Word count: 97,422

2006 – The Falls (Ian Rankin)

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