by Mel Ayton
True-crime books can be literary gems, like In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song. Or they can be luridly entertaining, like The Stranger Beside Me and Deadly Innocence. Unfortunately, true-crime books can also be plodding and dull, which brings me to Dark Soul of the South, historian Mel Ayton’s bland chronicle of Joseph Paul Franklin, the racist sniper who shot Larry Flynt and Vernon Jordan. Serial-killer biographies like this one are inherently unpleasant; they require a gifted writer to keep the reader absorbed, but Ayton’s workmanlike approach is only mildly engaging.
As a side note, do book publishers no longer hire editors and proofreaders? The level of sloppiness in this book is embarrassing.
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