Cover Image: Deer Creek Drive

Deer Creek Drive

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Member Reviews

This book was so good. My mama is from the region, so it was pretty cool recognizing places. The narrative is well done.
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The Idella Thompson/Ruth Dickins story was interesting. However the book repeated itself and become tedious in places. Also I really don't understand how the authors personal life fit into the story, I really feel it should have been left out. In my opinion, the book should have only been about 1/3 of the size. I really wish it had focused more on the crime and aftermath. All and all it left me wanting to do research to learn about this crime.
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Deer Creek Drive is a mixture of southern culture, a horrific crime, race relations, and a memoir of a bygone era.  A small town mother is brutally murdered and most of the evidence suggests her own daughter is guilty of the heinous act.  I wouldn’t consider this a spoiler warning because Deer Creek Drive weaves the true crime with societal norms at the time including the author’s memories of growing up in the Delta not far from where the crime took place.  
My eagerness to read this book is based solely on the fact that I grew up in the same town as the author and I had never heard of this crime until finding out about Deer Creek Drive.  I probably enjoyed reading the author’s recollections of growing up because I knew most of the locations she referred to regarding moving from house to house.  I worry some readers will not appreciate this aspect of the book as well as others.  
The book centers around the murder of Idella Thompson and the trial that accompanied it, and the aftermath surrounding this event.  The author does a good job describing these events but I did feel sometimes it was too much detail and readers could get tired of daily courtroom wardrobe and spectator viewing choices.  But the book is more than just a true crime read.  Describing race relations in the Mississippi Delta is a difficult task but Beverly Lowry does a good job detailing the time period mixed in with her personal memories of the Delta.
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This book is about a murder that occurred not far from the author. She discussed what it was like to be near where it occurred and what all went on. She discussed emotions, fears and reality. Good book. Sad. But good.
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The author shares how she was affected by a murder from her childhood when a woman was brutally murdered not far from where she lived. Lowry was 10 when it occurred. It showed how family connections played a role back then, but is more about the unspoken white privilege that affected many. Shades of Susan Smith in 1994, blaming a black man for her crime. But this victim’s daughter was released by the Governor after people protested by way of petitions. Good story but a bit tedious at times. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group  and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

A compelling true crime read.
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I Della was found dead in her bathroom she was stabbed over 100 times. The only other person in the house with her daughter Ruth and she said it was an unknown black man who broke into their GenTeal home, stabbed her mother and fled into the night. The cops didn’t believe her and off to jail she went. In the 40s in Mississippi white people didn’t want to believe that one of their own could kill so viciously. In deer Creek Drive, the author tells the tale she was a young child when the murder took place and grew up as it changed and it’s all in this book. I won’t say I found this book enjoyable what I will say is it was entertaining, intriguing in a real page Turner. The author is honest and blunt and I find that refreshing. I was given this book by Nick Galli and I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any errors as I am blind and dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own.
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While the story of Idella Thompson's murder was interesting, I'm not all that sure it warranted a book. The book in and of itself is a bit of a dry read, taking much longer than I expected to get through. By the time you're halfway through the book, the trial had concluded, and the murderer convicted. Realistically the rest of the book wasn't all that necessary. Also, the large quantity of the author's family story wasn't pertinent to the subject, and I could have gone without that.
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This book is more than just a compelling true-crime story. It is a unique and incisive look at how the power of family operates in the American South, as well as how race was (and is still) used to obscure the crimes of the rich and well-connected.

It balances the author's personal history and memory of life in 1940-1950s Mississippi with the gathering and presentation of facts about a hushed, small-town murder case that would become sensational in its time. 

The balance of the narratives is sometimes uneven. I mostly enjoyed the author's segues and diversions from the story to speak about her own family's history at the time. But sometimes these diversions are distracting or break the momentum of the primary narrative just as it is winding up. 

The pacing of the book's first section is terrific. There is a well-crafted balance between the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta, the exposition that introduces the Thompson family and all its extensions, and the drama of the murder itself. I also appreciated the author's reflections and insights on how this case was reported on in the 1940s, and her ability to recognize and call attention to the racially-loaded terms and thought processes of the day. 

But the second section lacked much of the momentum that pushed forth like a current in the first section. (I read this book as an ePub with poor formatting, and this may have influenced my waning ability to read and stick out the story.) The pacing began to slow significantly.

As the daily details of the trial were presented, I couldn't help begin to wonder: How did the author gather this particular information? How do I know this isn't a dramatic retelling or speculation on what happened in the courtroom? 

I wondered about this because, again, as the content of the trial was interrupted by pieces of the author's personal life or other pieces of history at the moment, there was so much interweaving of narrative strands that  the two narratives--of Ruth Dickins and Beverly Lowry--began to blend too closely. It became difficult to discern just how much the author was "remembering" and how many of the events had occurred as they are presented.

While some of the drama within the courtroom was entertaining and enlightening, much of it was not as exciting as I had hoped, and this section quickly began to drag. 

The book's particular narrative perspective holds many valuable insights that really couldn't be captured anywhere else; that Beverly Lowry lived so close by and was aware of this case in real time is a fascinating coincidence. I wish that the book contained more archival photographs to help set the scene. (Maybe this is or will be present in the book's physical copy.) 

I think that all readers could benefit from learning more about the culture and history of early twentieth-century Mississippi. This is a true-crime story unlike any I've read. I'll continue thinking about this book as my own personal life brings me closer and closer to Mississippi.
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I’ve been reading to read this book all year and I absolutely absorbed it.  It’s a true crime case that has an element of everything involved.  There are so many twist turns in this case.  It’s incredibly engrossing and heartbreaking at the same time.  Absolutely recommend!
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