The concept of Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann, was almost too depressing for me to start. Telling the history of the systematic murders of the Osage Indian Nation, a story that is promised to have little closure or justice, I had to force myself through the first twenty pages.
I’m glad I continued on, however, as the book became a compelling read, spanning multiple subjects while never losing focus on it’s depressing main topic. The Osage Indian Nation, through the government’s orders, are moved to a desolated land in Oklahoma. To everyone’s surprise, their new home is one of the richest deposits of oil and the Osage become wealthier than White America is comfortable with. In fact, the government tries to control the flow of money that each Osage receives, appointing them “guardians” who give them their allowances, fractions of their millions. It should be no surprise, that when the murders begin, little is done about them.
At first, it seems like every Osage murder is going unsolved and unpunished. Local authorities are either incompetent or apathetic to what’s happening around them. But, eventually, the news of what is happening starts to spread across the country. White men start getting murdered from trying to help. The Osage murders get more brutal and public, as well as obvious in their intent. Once the young FBI gets involved, it becomes obvious that someone is trying to steal the Osage wealth.
Killers of the Flower Moon is half the history of Osage and half the story of the FBI. Reading this after watching Netflix’s Mindhunter had me amazed by how we take for granted simple terms and methods in law enforcement. While Mindhunter showed us how new the understanding of criminal profiling was, this book goes even further back and shows us simple detective skills still being born. Mug shots, fingerprints and keeping the crime scene from becoming contaminated were either just starting to be used or unheard of altogether.
It doesn’t help that the FBI and many branches of law are filled with corrupt employees. Crimes are being covered up or ignored by bribes and threats. Judges are on the take and prisons are a mess. J. Edgar Hoover is out to make a name for himself by cleaning up the FBI and solving the cases of the Osage murders. He sets Tom White out to form a team and take care of business and from there we learn the twists and turns of this dark history.
It was fascinating to me how well Grann kept this moving and held my attention. The subject matter is morbid and new to many readers but it’s still non-fiction and could have come across as a text book. Yet, Grann writes it like a thriller and even had my jaw drop after a revelation midway through the book. We get looks into everyone’s past, from the Osage whose grim fates are only the newest forms of abuse to White’s childhood and sense of honor. Every topic gets explored and explained in a digestible manner.
After reading this, I definitely want to pick up Grann’s other book, The Lost City of Z. I tend not to read many history books, but Grann does a great job at holding interest and moving the story forward. With Killers of the Flower Moon, you know things won’t be solved in a satisfying manner and that people will go unpunished. That’s not to mention how hindsight kept me from feeling any sense of victory even when things start to turn around for the Osage. You don’t have to be well-versed in history to know this will only be another stepping stone in the injustice Native Americans will go through, even in the 1900s.
Killers of the Flower Moon isn’t for everyone, some might not have the stomach for the hopelessness of it all. But, it’s a story every American should be familiar with, despite how little has been told about the subject. With talks of a movie being made, hopefully more will have to reckon with this dark past. If you can handle the darkness, pick up the book beforehand.
It’s a spOoOoOoOoOky episode! Because it’s Halloween month! Did you know I like Halloween? I do. You should know this by now.
We talk about this year’s additions to the horror genre, both Young Adult and regular Adult! You want scary teen adventures? How about There’s Someone Inside Your House? You want ghosts and evil spirits? Boom, here’s House of Furies, You want twins in danger and James Patterson’s name on a cover. Good news, we talk Crazy House.
Nic talks about three books and they’re possibly too scary. That The Grip of It sounds horrifying. Anything without skin is scary. Anything. Picture a duck. Do you have a clear image of a duck? Now, picture that duck without skin. And, yeah, it still has feathers. That’s terrible.
Even that cover is scary. WHY DOES IT KEEP SAYING, “A NOVEL”?!?
It’s also the one I might pick up if I had to choose. Crazy House too, maybe. I don’t love murder, so I doubt I’ll be reading There’s Someone Inside Your House, no matter how “subversive” it is. Everything’s subversive these days. Not this blog, though. It’s very traditional. Paragraphs and all, you know?
See you next week, podcats!
This week, it’s all about new books! Well, so is every week. Books release weekly. That’s how books work.
I always feel bad because I never sound super excited for the books I bring to the table, but that’s because I present the young adult releases! I’ve mentioned before that the YA bracket doesn’t always click with me. It’s a very high concept field, which I like, but the execution never sticks the landing.
But Disappeared, by Francisco X. Stork, sounds pretty good. It looks like it would be a quick read too, and that helps when I’m reading young adult. I don’t understand why so many of these books are five hundred page tomes. Books like Adrift by Paul Griffin or Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys are much more enjoyable because they move at a reasonable pace, know how to grip the reader and don’t overstay their welcome. Disappeared sounds like it gets it.
And Hunting Prince Dracula doesn’t sound terrible either! Kerri Maniscalco‘s first book, Stalking Jack the Ripper, was one of the more popular books at the library when it was released. But, that darn James Patterson had to put his name on the cover, keeping me from picking it up. I’d love to know if that actually helps with young adult book sales, but, then again, I’m talking about it!
Also, how cool did that Bond-not-Bond sound? I’m gonna have to check out Forever and a Death.
See you next week, podcats!
And with this post, I am now caught up with my podcast. So, be sure to check back every Friday for the newest episode! Or, you know, subscribe and track it yourself. Don’t become one of those “vanishing adults” politicians are going on about.
We talk Sexy New Books, because what’s sexier than a new book? Nothing. Unless that book comes with more books. Like an ebook bundle. I got the entire Wheel of Time series in one digital packet. That’s sexy.
I always feel bad when we’re not won over by these new books we talk about, but I think there’s an audience for surfers turned skateboarders. If you like these titles that we don’t care for, let us know. My Future Ex-Girlfriend sounded fun, but who cares about romance between 8th graders? I do think I should have given The Wanderers a fair shake, as it strikes me as a book that gets better as it moves along. That’s the curse of a sixty minute podcast, though!
And Nic is reading Flamingo Island, so some parties won out.
See you next week, podcats!
I haven’t reread a book in a long time.
Back when I was a kid, I would reread my favorites all the time. When it comes to the Animorphs, I gave each book multiple reads, picking different ones throughout the series or just reading the whole sage from the first book all over again.
After high school, when I got back to reading after a long break, I reread some of my favorites. Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, White Fang and Call of the Wild, to name a few. But as college rolled along, followed by adult life and a consistent job, I started having less time for everything, including reading.
Not only that, but my eyes began to open and I started seeing all the books I hadn’t read. The Hugo Awards, The Nebula Awards, long running series I had never heard of, new favorite authors who publish work every year, the sometimes informative New York Times Bestsellers list. All of these books taking up space in my schedule.
One of the biggest developments is my current job. Working as the Head of Youth Services, I have to try and read young adult books on a regular basis. Plus, the occasional book club for kids or adults. Even after being done with school, required reading is still a thing in my life.
So where does that leave my favorites? Gone are the days of being bored and picking up Jurassic Park for the tenth time. White Fang sits on my shelf as a memorial. It’s both sad and encouraging that I don’t have time to reread.
One one hand, I miss my favorites. They take me to their specific worlds and characters that I fell in love with in the first place. They also connect me to real time and places, reminding me of the first time I read each book. They’re time capsules equal to a great album, whose songs are forever etched in my mind with events.
But it’s also feels great to know that I’m reading so much new fiction that I don’t have time for what I’ve already read. I’m more well-read than I was when I was younger because I branched out. I let Jurassic Park lead me to Michael Crichton’s other books. And, I’ve found new favorites. Books like Salem’s Lot and A Canticle for Leibowitz are now right alongside I Am Legend.
But I still want to reread them again. I’d hate to think I’ve read World War Z for the last time. But how to I fit them all in to my life again? I reread The Outsiders for an 8th grade book club I ran, but that can only take me so far. Sometimes, I think I should just dedicate a month for my favorites. Reread April or November, or something like that.
Would that cause me to miss out on the new and possibly great books released those months? Is it worth it? Should I hope to read a great old age and reread then? Tomorrow is promised to no one so should I just start today until I have to read something new? It’s a dilemma and one that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I don’t know how other people do it. With limited time in the day, with so much other things vying for my attention, it seems like a fool’s dream.
If someone was forcing me to reread my favorites right now, I’d probably pick Jurassic Park, World War Z, Dune and the White Fang/Call of the Wild combo. So, you know, please force me to do so. You’d be doing me a favor.
Confession time. I let this blog posts fall behind. I want to change that. But to do that, for me, because I’m insane, I have to retroactively post the podcasts episodes I missed. So here’s episode 84, twenty-three days after it was released.
But it’s still a good one! We talk about some brand news books and learn that Nic hates time travel books about Shakespeare, and maybe books without time travel that are still about the Bard. Except we both kind of want to read Ronit & Jamil now. If you’re looking for something BRAND NEW to read, well, again, this episode is 23 days old. But check it out anyway!
We also talk Power Rangers, cat fiction and make new enemies. How about it?
See you next week, podcats!