Sunday, April 28, 2019

Is Louella Harper Harper Lee?

In 1977, Harper Lee went down to Alexander City, Alabama to research a book about the Reverend Will Maxwell, the so-called voodoo preacher. She never produced the book. Or did she?

This new book Blood Cries, by someone calling herself Chris Hope, contains a book-within-a-book that looks awfully similar to the one Lee researched—it even has the same title, The Reverend—and the character Louella Harper, who purportedly wrote the book, seems an awful lot like the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird. I've read the opening pages, and the description of the town is a dead ringer for Alex City, as it is known to locals.

So, what gives? Is this the real deal, or some kind of brilliant literary hoax?

Check out the description for yourself at

Monday, January 28, 2019

Two New Books Based on Reverend Maxwell Story

Two new books come out this year dealing with the alleged Alabama serial killer known as the Reverend: Casey Cep's Furious Hours and our own Chris Hope's novel Blood Cries.

As long-time readers of the blog know, Harper Lee intended to write a book on the subject but it was never published. You can learn more about it here.

Cep's book is a nonfiction account focused on Harper Lee while Hope's book is a fictional treatment with a character loosely based on Lee and with a nonfiction explanatory section at the end.

I visited the Penguin Random House website page for Furious Hours, and found that the cover looks remarkably similar to the cover designed for Blood Cries, which first appeared on this site last summer. 

Here are the two covers side by side:


Another interesting coincidence—Blood Cries and Furious Hours are both set to be released in early May. This blogger suggests buying them both.