Shake the Devil Off and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$8.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by Fast with Class
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: This book is in excellent condition. Cover is intact with no nicks or tears. The spine has no signs of creasing. Pages are clean, crisp, and are not marred by notes, folds, or highlighting of any kind. Qualifies for Prime and Free Super Saver Shipping.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans Hardcover – September 1, 2009


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$6.90 $0.01

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. On October 17, 2006, 28-year-old Iraq war veteran Zackery Bowen leapt to his death from a New Orleans hotel roof, leaving a suicide note directing police to the dismembered body of his girlfriend, Addie Hall. In journalist Brown's (Snitch) account of Bowen's life, the deterioration of the vet suffering from PTSD parallels that of Katrina-whipped New Orleans, its residents left as stranded as unsupported veterans like Bowen. A high school dropout, New Orleans bartender and a father at age 18, Bowen was determined to improve himself and do well by his child and Lana, his wife, and enlisted in the army, serving as an MP in Kosovo and Iraq. Granted what Brown says was an unfair general (under honorable conditions) discharge, Bowen returned to New Orleans in late 2004, where, abandoned by Lana, he began a turbulent relationship with Hall, culminating in Bowen methodically dismembering and cooking her remains. After covering the murder-suicide for Penthouse in 2007, Brown moved to New Orleans, and his detailed reconstruction of both Bowen's life and the city's deterioration make heartbreaking reading. Perhaps most poignant is the message painted on Bowen's apartment wall: please help me stop the pain. 14 b&w photos. (Sept. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Heartbreaking."—Publishers Weekly

"The value of this provocative … book lies in its careful examination of a tragic crime; the author has also made a significant contribution to the literature about the Iraq war. Shake the Devil Off can … be read as a follow-up to Dexter Filkins’s … The Forever War. If Filkins taught us about the war over there, Brown has brought the war home."—Lisa Scottoline, The New York Times Book Review

"Brown creates a riveting portrait of a gruesome crime while detailing the heart of a city in distress. A grim … story delivered with skill and verve."—Kirkus Reviews

"A nicely crafted shocker." —Booklist

"Ethan Brown examines a notorious murder case, rescues it from the talons of tabloid journalists, and comes up with something much more than a true crime book. Shake the Devil Off is a gripping suspense story, an indictment of the military’s treatment of our soldiers in and out of war, and a celebration of the resilience and worth of a great American city."—George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnaround and Hell to Pay

"Ethan Brown establishes himself as a prodigious reporter and masterful storyteller in Shake the Devil Off, a chilling portrait of a broken hero failed by the system."—Evan Wright, author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill

"A ‘coming home’ story that rivals any written about veterans of the war in Iraq, and a true crime account that raises the bar for the genre. Measured, thoroughly reported, and written with true empathy."—Nate Blakeslee, author of Tulia

"Looking more deeply at that from which the rest of us turned in horror, Ethan Brown has transformed an ugly and disturbing shard of the post-Katrina anguish. In this book, that which was lurid and sensational becomes, chapter by chapter, something genuinely sad and reflective, something that now has true meaning for New Orleans and for all of us."—David Simon, author of Homicide and The Corner

"The account of a volatile relationship gone terribly wrong, but [a] lot more than that…. Demonstrates a deep understanding of how New Orleans is…. [Brown] gets New Orleans and the people who choose to reside here."—OffBeat

"[A] sensational chronicle…. Bowen’s story … draws at least as much of its moral from Sid and Nancy as it does from Full Metal Jacket…. Brown deftly summons up [Zack and Addie’s] immediate social world as a testament to how the city felt to certain residents on the ground in the wake of Katrina."—Bookforum

"The chilling story of Zackery Bowen… a fall that indicts the military’s treatment of its soldiers."—St. Petersburg Times

"Delves straight into the heart of darkness…. Well-investigated, well-written and tautly paced…. A unique portrait of tenacious New Orleans, pre- and post-Katrina, and a reflective—though utterly chilling—account of how veterans of the Iraq war are suffering from mental degradation and lack of support."—BookPage

"Gripping and honest."—Amy Wilentz, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Choose Your Own Autobiography
Step right into Neil Patrick Harris's shoes in an exciting, interactive autobiography that places the reader squarely in the driver's seat. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805088938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805088939
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ethan Brown is the author of three, investigative-reporting driven books on crime and criminal justice policy:

His first book--Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler--was published by Random House in 2005 to rave reviews in the Boston Globe ("diligently researched and trenchantly observed...a fascinating look at the way one generation's reality becomes the next's mythology"), The Village Voice ("one of the first reliable accounts [of the crack era]...the fact that Brown was able to publish so thorough an account is itself notable") and Publishers Weekly ("A vigorous account of an American subculture that's colorful, influential and, given the body count, tragic").

Ethan's second book--Snitch: Informers, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice--was published by Public Affairs in 2007. The Legal Times wrote of Snitch that "Many police and prosecutors reading his book (or this review) will surely cry foul. Their cries will too often be proven insincere upon close examination, however, because Brown's evidence...is overwhelming." Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury praised Snitch as "must reading for anyone concerned about the future of 'law and order' in America." Manhattan Institute Scholar John McWhorter called Snitch one of the "strongest, smartest" books about race in the past decade.

Ethan's third book--Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans--was published by Henry Holt in the fall of 2009. Evan Wright, author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill, called Shake the Devil Off "a chilling portrait of a broken hero failed by the system." George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnaround, said that "Ethan Brown examines a notorious murder case, rescues it from the talons of tabloid journalists, and comes up with something much more than a true crime book. Shake the Devil Off is a gripping suspense story, an indictment of the military's treatment of our soldiers in and out of war, and a celebration of the resilience and worth of a great American city." In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called Shake the Devil Off "heartbreaking" and Nate Blakeslee, author of Tulia, hailed the book as "a 'coming home' story that rivals any written about veterans of the war in Iraq, and a true crime account that raises the bar for the genre. Measured, thoroughly reported, and written with true empathy." David Simon, creator of The Wire and author of Homicide and The Corner, said that "looking more deeply at that from which the rest of us turned in horror, Ethan Brown has transformed an ugly and disturbing shard of the post-Katrina anguish. In this book, that which was lurid and sensational becomes, chapter by chapter, something genuinely sad and reflective, something that now has true meaning for New Orleans and for all of us." In September of 2009, Shake The Devil Off was chosen as a "Critics' Pick" in the Washington Post and an "Editors' Choice" by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. In December of 2009, the Washington Post named Shake the Devil Off one of the best books of 2009.

Customer Reviews

After reading the Prologue, I knew this would be a book I couldn't put down.
J. Alison
Then the way he contrasts it with the "war" that the Katrina survivors went through is wonderful.
Cricks
Ethan Brown did a very thorough job of investigating this book and it is well written.
Helen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 100 people found the following review helpful By L. Moffitt on September 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just want to thank Ethan again for the excellent way he handled Zack's story. I am Zack' Mom and I wasn't going to read this book as I thought it would be too painful, but I kept looking at the cover and then the pictures and then a few lines and I was hooked. It was like I got to see inside the 10 years I lost with Zack. When I'd talk to him, everything would be "I'm fine Mom!" Evidently, not. It has given me a closure at last to the last three years of not really knowing what happened to my son. He was a wonderful gentle giant with a big heart--not a horrible monster as some proclaimed after the murder. I just hope someone can learn something from this sad tale. Ethan has done a wonderful job of this story---as hard as it was to read some parts---I thank him for his hard work and dedication to getting the true story out. Zack's Mom
8 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Menagerie on September 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
After tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, Zack Bowen went home to New Orleans only to face Hurricane Katrina. Haunted by both his military and storm experiences he killed his girlfriend, Addie Hall, and then committed suicide, leaving behind a stunned city and a devastated group of family and friends.

Like the central person in this book, the story fails to realize its potential. Brown seems to flail in the beginning as he tries to eulogize a person and a situation he doesn't quite understand. He finds firmer ground as he recounts Zack's tours overseas, interviewing the soldiers that shared his experiences. A new husband and father, Zack finds himself torn between his duty to his country and more importantly to his comrades, and his very ill wife and two small children. When the Army denies his request to join his wife on a German base as she undergoes life-threatening treatment for hepatitis, Zack's positive attitude towards the military is replaced with seething anger. This anger only underscores his disagreement with the two wars, and eventually Zack quietly decides to get out of the military. Despite an impressive service record, he is discharged for failure to do an adequate number of push-ups and his discharge denies him much-need veterans benefits.

From there, Zack's life begins a downward spiral. He and his wife separate and he hooks up with Addie, a mercurial bartender in the French Quarter. Zack supports himself delivering groceries and tending bar and his girlfriend does much the same. When Katrina hits New Orleans the couple hunkers down and actually turns the whole experience into an adventure. Their freedom ends when military forces finally arrive in NO to restore order.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Matthew D. White on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a New Orleans resident, I was just as fascinated/sickened by the Zack/Addie murder when it first hit the news here. It was probably the same fascination that Ethan Brown felt, which was enough to result in him moving here and writing this book. Although Mr. Brown obviously has done a lot of research for this book, I simply was not happy with his results and conclusions, and feel he was way off the mark in some places. In the end, the book winds up being more of a testament to a questionable lifestyle led by some people here which could only be summed up as a New Orleans fantasy. Zack Bowen and Addie Hall felt that they were doing something good for the city by staying in the French Quarter after Katrina as "holdouts", appearing in the New York Times and other major papers, but in reality they were just living out their New Orleans fantasy - staying wasted and working as little as possible, while in other sections of town, people were drowning and dying in their attics. Their statement of disregarding orders to evacuate and being maverick holdouts in the city meant nothing, and accomplished nothing.

This book spends far too much time in Iraq. Half the book takes place during Zack's days in the service, in Kosovo and Iraq; the author is unable to really draw clear lines between Zack's experiences and the murder he commits later in the story. It's speculation to say that undiagnosed PTSD is what caused Zack to murder Addie Hall, and Ethan Brown doesn't seem to factor in other important things such as Zack being drunk most of the time; his secret homosexuality (which is glossed over in the book and never examined as a reason for his self-esteem issues); and the details of Addie's abuse of him.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Donna on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Is it possible to humanize a murderer to excess? Throughout this rambling account of Zack Bowen's life and death, I couldn't "shake" the image of Addie Hall's body parts simmering on a kitchen stove. While Zack's life is examined in rich and sympathetic detail, Addie is a "firecracker" who we only come to know through her explosions. Even her face is obscured on the book's cover.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the linkage of Bowen's obscene act with PTSD is forced, almost like padding. Maybe Bowen chose the military BECAUSE he had homocidal urges. By the end of the book I wanted to puke if faced with one more description of Bowen as a great guy who "must have been in a lot of pain". What a wildly irrelevant observation. The painful episodes of Bowen's life rendered here don't stand out in any way from millions of other people's. The author solemnly tells us that Bowen was disappointed when he didn't win high-school homecoming king. So intent on building a case for unremitting stress on the shy and awkward Bowen, the book almost veers off into farce. Finally, there is not one voice among all Bowen's friends that declares "I thought I knew the guy, but obviously I didn't. He was someone who could present himself as likable and non-violent. So can many killers."

My sympathy is for the victim. Her story, like many female victims of male violence, is howling in the wind.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Frequently Bought Together

Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans + The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld
Buy the selected items together