From Publishers Weekly
Nearly 20 years after being brutally assaulted, Jentz returns to the scene of the crime demanding answers in a crusade that continues for several years. She uncovers the dark secrets of the smalltown Oregon community that kept her alleged attacker from being brought to justice. Angered by the imperfections of the criminal justice system, her efforts have generated this book to make every listener aware of how fragile the system can be. At times, Colin's reading proves engaging and certainly keeps a moderate pace for the prose. Yet occasionally, her tone denotes condescension and arrogance, particularly toward smalltown people, that may not have been Jentz's intention. The text could be making matter-of-fact statements, but Colin's tone twists the meaning. She occasionally fails to vocally clarify when she is speaking in the first person of someone else besides Jentz, who tells her tale entirely in first person. This confusion is usually sorted out after the quote, but the repeated confusion can frustrate the listener. Despite this, Colin does send shivers down listeners' spines when reading Jentz's detailed description of her assault. Simultaneous release with the Farrar, Straus & Giroux hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 27).
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Terri Jentz's harrowing story finds voice in Strange Piece of Paradise
, her first book. Critics praise Jentz's courage for returning to the scene of such violence, though several comment that the difficulty of uncovering compelling evidence nearly 30 years later precludes a satisfying conclusion. The book's chronological organization also presents some minor problems, and the book can be plodding at times. Still, the shortcomings do little to mute Jentz's powerful and elegant style, her craft honed by a career as a screenwriter. Critics favorably compare the effort to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones
, Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song
, and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood
, and they applaud the author's willingness to face her demons.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.