Book review: Love and Death in the Sunshine State — by Cutter Wood

(Algonquin Books)
Reading true crime may not be for everyone, but a book like this that blurs the line between true crime and memoir could be a perfect entry into the genre. Author Cutter Wood is pursuing his MFA in the storied Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 2010 when his mother sends him a newspaper clipping about a disappearance on the island of Anna Maria, near Tampa Bay, Fla.; the owner of the motel had gone missing, the same motel Wood stayed in during a family visit in 2008. Instantly and irrevocably drawn in, Wood soon travels to Florida to talk to the people who lived there and the detectives, and eventually strikes up a correspondence with the man presumed to have murdered her. At one point, Wood veers from straight reportage, and in an attempt to find the truth about what happened to Sabine Musil-Buehler, he imagines the unraveling of a relationship, and traces the course of a love story from its hopeful beginning to its tragic end. It is not unrealized by the author that as he fumbled “so earnestly with the story of Bill and Sabine, (he) was also undertaking a not unrelated investigation” into his own life. A consuming read.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop
Tales of True Crime
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade by Walter Kirn
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King
Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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