- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Amazing Things Press; 1st edition (October 16, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1945667222
- ISBN-13: 978-1945667220
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,878,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Died Innocent 1st Edition
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About the Author
Upon concluding a successful thirty-year career in university level teaching, mostly at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, Don retired and began examining his list of activities that would occupy the next stage of his life. Traveling with his wife, enjoying his three children and their families, and catching up on neglected relationships occupied the earliest stages of retirement. Of course golfing with friends, avidly following the St. Louis Cardinals, and renewing a long ignored interest in Civil War history were also high on the list. Then one day, a small cemetery he had driven past for years on his way to and from school again caught his eye. Perusal of a related collection of nineteenth century newspaper articles compiled by a local historian further fueled his curiosity. As he investigated, he became convinced there was more to the story. Possessing an active imagination, he soon found himself wanting to fill in what he saw as the blank spaces necessary to complete it. With that, a ten-year project was conceived and after countless setbacks and incalculable learning, Died Innocent was delivered.
5 customer reviews
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My mother was raised on a farm in rural Missouri and the history and portrayals of the State have always intrigued me. Mark Twain, Dorothy Langley (Swamp Angel), Jesse James (Ron Hansen), and Dan Woodrell (Ride with the Devil; Winter’s Bone), all have deeply plowed Missouri soil in their writings. And I would have put the current novel down if it weren’t for the fact that I entered effortlessly into Doc McKee’s world and the story and characters felt real to me from the start and never wavered.
Nothstine not only knows this part of Missouri, he has researched the death of Doc Zeb McKee (real name, Talbott) for 10 years and his tone feels steady like an old tree with strong roots. And you had better pay attention because hints and clues are being dropped left and right. The language is informal, down-home, and comfortably seasoned to taste.
The main plot is based on a true story that is still shocking 140 years later. This is a baffling whodunit and a family, community, and courtroom tragedy. Like all good mysteries, the elements only fall into place in the last chapter. And although a long novel (433 pp.), the ending carries a wallop. And it is a heart-breaker. I went to high school with Don Nothstine and now have the privilege of reading him as a highly competent writer. I recommend his novel without reservation.
This story is set in rural Missouri at a time when life could still be somewhat caustic to the human condition. Don has tightly stitched together a group of characters challenged with personal quirks, haunted by traumatic experiences, driven by political ambitions, and who struggle with interpersonal conflicts into a story that will keep you reading, and wondering, right up to the end. He has utilized idioms that would have been common in the cultural language of the period, adding a touch of humor to what could be a dark tale. He has described the scenery well to enable readers to visualize the rural community in which the real Dr. McKee helped to found.
This story of historical fiction is worth spending some time perusing. Did the two sons of Dr. Mckee, who were tried for the crime in 1880, really do it? In the author's own words, "Well, that remains to be seen. You'll have to read the book." [Quoted from promotional video, Nov 2016]
Disclaimer: I proofread an earlier unpublished version of this story and received a copy of the finished book from the author. It is upon the final version that I have based my unsolicited review. I am also a coauthor with Don on a recently released nonfiction book of true-crime stories that occurred in Nodaway County between 1872 and 1931.