Great Time to Browse

junger.jpgI love this time of year, when most evenings are perfectly suited for strolls along Division Street. Sometimes I grab a cookie at Bittersweet or take a gander to see if any of the outdoor eaters at the Tavern have left behind any table scraps. As you might expect, just before dusk I often shoot my nose through the door at River City Books to check out the Book Sense bestsellers located near the front of the store.

Recently, I picked up a new title that just hit the list by Sebastian Junger, author of Fire and the international bestseller The Perfect Storm. Junger, of course, has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. This guy knows as well as any contemporary writer how to cover every angle of a story.

In case you don’t know about Junger’s latest, in the spring of 1963, the quiet suburb of Belmont, Massachusetts, was rocked by a shocking sex murder that exactly fit the pattern of the Boston Strangler. Sensing a break in the case that paralyzed the city of Boston, the police tracked down a black man, Roy Smith, who cleaned the victim’s house that day and left a receipt with his name on the kitchen counter. Smith is hastily convicted of the Belmont murder, but the terror of the Strangler continued.

On the day of the murder, Albert DeSalvo — the man who would eventually confessed in lurid detail to the Strangler’s crimes — was also in Belmont, working as a carpenter at the Jungers’ home. In a spare, powerful narrative, Junger chronicles three lives that collide — and ultimately are destroyed — in the vortex of one of the first and most controversial serial murder cases in America.

“[Junger's] navigating a maze of shadows,” says Lev Grossman of Time magazine, “and you can see clearly what an enormously skillful prose artist he is.”

If you want to learn more about this book or other Book Sense bestsellers, click here or, better yet, make a point to stop by next time you’re able to enjoy a spring evening along Northfield’s main street.

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