- 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: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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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)
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"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
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Top customer reviews
Not sure that I wanted to be reminded of Katrina or the murder/suicide described in the book, I began reading with caution. I was instantly pulled into this well-researched story. By the end I was rather surprised by my sympathy for the characters whom I had originally had no intention of empathizing with.
The story line has so many facets that this book will be running through my mind for a long time.
the other with several PTSD. The abuse that Ethan Bowen took from Addie Hall when she was drunk along with
the horror he suffered while serving in Iraq caused him to snap and murder and dismember Addie Hall.
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