is an elegantly written and compelling first
novel in its own right, but the story is
given an extra edge by the fact that the
author's paternal grandparents were two of
the victims, and one of the fictionalized
characters in the book is, apparently, based
on the author's father.
The Starweather/Fugate killings were the inspiration for a number of movies such as Terrence Malick's Badlands (1974), Quentin Tarantino and Tony Scott's True Romance (1993), and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994). You can browse a comprehensive summary of the case here.
As for what happened to the perpetrators; Starkweather was sent to the electric chair in 1959, but Fugate was given life imprisonment. She was paroled in 1976 and apparently lives quietly in Michigan, working as a medical assistant. She would have turned 60 last year.
This article is from the August 3, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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