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Summary

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment Ricky's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky's childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky's case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.

As enthralling as true-crime classics such as In Cold Blood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and broadcast phenomena such as Making a Murderer and Serial, The Fact of a Body is a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated and powerful than we could ever imagine.

©2017 Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Don't get it for the true crime/justice element

Beware: this is at least as much this woman's outpourings about childhood events as it is about the case. I'm not sure the publicity makes that clear. If you want the author's potted autobiography, great; it's for you. I grew bored of her self-absorption halfway through and had to return book.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too focussed on the author’s own upbringing

The actual crime story is interesting but far too much time is spent detailing the author’s childhood and upbringing. Difficult to recommend.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting written

I enjoyed the book as it drew me in, it was written without sensation or drama in that it handled very difficult topics in such a way I felt the author was trying throughout to be evenhanded but detached, but recognised only too well the horror in the crimes but showed an understanding - my first rating so shown my liking of the book but room to like more!! This book is thought provoking

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly absorbing

A combination of a memoir about child abuse and a description of a child murder and molestation does not sound promising, but this is a brilliant book. It is about the need to understand and the capacity of humans to feel revulsion, hatred, love, sympathy and empathy at the same time.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Captivating! 5 stars.

Hooked from the start. Read beautifully by the author and full of emotion from start to finish. Very detailed, and at times, difficult to listen to (child abuse scenes, etc). But it is honest, to the point, and reveals a great narrative into the struggles of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders of abuse, murder, and humanity.
10/10. A definite classic in the making for the true crime genre. A great listen throughout.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • Newcastle Emlyn
  • 26-12-17

excellent

A very interesting book intertwining the lives of a man who murdered a 6 year old boy and the authors. An excellent interesting book that confronts the issues of abuse and it's long term effects. I found that it was read well and was overall a real insight into the lives of people who abuse and the effects of abuse.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A modern day 'In Cold Blood'

This is a pretty incredibly written book about a real life murder investigation coinciding with the author's own harrowing experiences. While true crime is now a hot genre, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has weaved together a humane story, a backdrop of how this horrifying crime occurred not dissimilar to how Truman Capote wrote in In Cold Blood. However, her own horrific story parallels the investigation giving the entire novel a whole new dimension. Recommended read indeed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unusually Horrible

I realised three quarters of the way through this book that the subject matter, child abuse and murder, is too horrible and I didn't want to read another word. To be fair it is well written and performed. But why would one voluntarily immerse oneself in that sort of stuff?

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Difficult and Compelling

This is a painfully honest account of a heinous crime and the resonance of it on a lawyer working the case in relation to their past.

At times it’s hard to listen to the telling but the bravery of it is quite remarkable.

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    2 out of 5 stars

far too long winded, not struggling to finish

far too long winded and very booring in parts. really struggling to finish. definitely not recommended