2021 One Read Winner: About “Furious Hours” by Casey Cep

About the Book

Furious Hours” is the stunning story of a serial killer and the book Harper Lee failed to publish about his crimes.


Part true crime narrative, part biography, “Furious Hours” documents the remarkable story of the 1970s-era Alabama serial killer Willie Maxwell, and Harper Lee’s attempt to write a book about his crimes, the justice system and racial politics in the deep South. Cep first tells the story of Maxwell, the mysterious deaths of several family members, accusations of voodoo and his dramatic murder at the funeral of his final alleged victim. Cep next dives deeply into the trial of Maxwell’s killer (which Harper Lee attended), Alabama politics and the insanity defense. Finally, Cep creates a portrait of a frustrated Lee, trying — and failing — to get to the truth behind the murders onto the page. The result is an extensively researched and immersive work of nonfiction. Read More

2021 List of Suggested Titles

Each winter, the public submits suggestions for next year’s One Read book. In January, a panel of community members reviews the suggestions, narrowing that list down to 10 titles, and then chooses two or three books to present for a public vote.

Final 10 Selections

A Children’s Bible
Lydia Millet

The Color of Law
Richard Rothstein

Furious Hours (Winner)
Casey Cep

The Great Pretender
Susannah Cahalan

Medicine Walk
Richard Wagamese

The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead

On Immunity
Elua Biss

The Resisters (Runner-up)
Gish Jen

Trick Mirror
Jia Tolentino

The Warehouse
Rob Hart

Other Suggested Titles

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