Thursday, May 6, 2010
Hellhound on His Trail
Got a lot going on these days: About four short stories in progress, still working on the book and preparing for my wife's graduation, which means half the state of Kansas is coming to Florida...does the fun ever stop? I've also been doing a little reading and right now I'm about halfway through one damn good book.
Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin, by Hampton Sides. I was first turned on to Hampton Sides a few years ago, when I read his book Ghost Soldiers, which may have been both the most heartbreaking and triumphant book I've ever read. Since Ghost Soldiers, I've become a dedicated Sides fan and he never disappoints.
Like Ghost Soldiers, Hellhound is a work of nonfiction which reads like the best of any fiction I've ever read. To be forthright, I've never given that much thought to the King assassination, possibly because it's never been quite as publicized as say, the JFK assasination. But the picture Sides paints of both Eric Galt (aka James Earl Ray) and Martin Luther King Jr. are just sooooo good: Ray as the prison escapee who wanted to be a porn director and lived in flea bag motels and boarding houses, yet dressed in a cleaned and pressed suit at all times. King Jr. as a man who's tireless schedule had him ready to snap both physically and mentally, was absolutely dedicated to non-violence, but still human with various sexual liaisons. Good stuff.
I know what you're thinking; a lot of non-fiction accounts are chock full of information like I've listed above and read like a dictionary, ie, boring. The problem being said chumps who write those books, don't know how to tell a story! Sides does. And you want to talk about pacing? On that point, I'll just say Hampton Sides writes like the devil in short shorts!
So if you want a little switcharoo from that pile of fiction you've been hacking your way through, check out Hellhound on His Trail. I don't think you'll be disappointed.