Sunday, April 1, 2012

Literally Dead by James Conroy


Chicago, Chicago my kind of town.....but at the moment it definitely wasn't Amos Jansen's kind of town since he is being accused of murder simply because he found his boss, Dwight Eldon, dead at his desk. Amos' only saving grace was that Ernest Hemingway and Carl Sandburg, yes both of those famous authors, came to his rescue and got him out of the interrogation room and out of jail for now.

You will follow the story from present day back to the rioting that caused the death of Amos' father.  You will love the characters especially Nelson who is an aspiring author and a real con man who has an answer for any dilemma.  Nelson is Amos' best friend, and he even talks Ernest Hemingway into something not above board and gets them both into trouble.  Underneath all of this, though, is police corruption and other individuals who are covering up the murder of Amos' father and Dwight Eldon while trying to pin it on an innocent person.

I really enjoyed the book because of the time period, because of the numerous famous authors brought in as characters, and because it made me laugh out loud at some of the antics.   It is funny and serious at the same time, and is a great inside look at what life was like in Chicago for law-abiding and non-law-abiding citizens in the 1930's during the depression.  

LITERALLY DEAD is a wonderful history lesson with many names you will definitely want to look up to find out what part they played in America's history of unions and civil liberties.   Murder mixed with laughter make this book an historical page turner.  If you want to laugh and truly enjoy a book's characters, you will want to read this book.  5/5


  1. These kinds of books (using famous authors as characters) are so en vogue these days. This one reminds me a lot of the Hector Lassitor series of mysteries set in the 1920s. Hector's sidekick was even Ernest Hemmingway. But then again, I guess old Ernest had an interesting enough life in reality that molding him into fictional crime stories isn't all that big a stretch. Great review. I'll have to be on the lookout for this one in the future.

  2. Hmm...sounds like an interesting read despite the historical aspect (not generally my cup of tea). Loving the title though...great tie in. ^_^