BookBrowse Reviews Outside Valentine by Liza Ward

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Outside Valentine

by Liza Ward

Outside Valentine by Liza Ward X
Outside Valentine by Liza Ward
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2005, 320 pages

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Blunt, beautiful, and very scary. 1st Novel

From the book jacket: Many long years have passed since the winter of blinding white when Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate drove across the hushed midwestern landscape and left a trail of blood and pain. So why does Lowell, a Manhattan collector of antiquities, still dream of what happened, despite his wife's best attempts to draw him back and offer comfort? And who is Susan, the teenager who appoints herself a detective, piecing together the story of the murders while wondering if she'll ever be loved like Starkweather loved his girl? And then there's Caril Ann herself, who takes us back to relive the ride she swears she could not control.

Comment: Outside Valentine examines the murder spree of 19 year old Charles Starkweather and his 14 year old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, in Nebraska in 1958. However, it is much more than a novelization of a true crime. The story is told from the viewpoints of three characters - 'Puggy' (a teenage girl living in the same neighborhood in 1962), a Manhattan art collector in 1991, and Caril Ann.  How these three people are connected, and how people cope with the aftereffects of such a devastating crime forms the foreground of this story; the background being a fictionalized account of the killings themselves.

'Ward's feat lies less in her dynamic switching among the interconnected stories than in her astonishingly poetic yet palpable prose.' - Elle Magazine.

This review first ran in the August 3, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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