Friday, April 13, 2018

Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Murder by Cutter Wood

Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime Releases on April 17, 2018
35489151Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime by Cutter Wood

1.25 stars

Sabine Musil-Buehler owns a nice little hotel in Florida with her estranged husband. Sabine’s car is stolen, but she is nowhere to be found. An investigation turns up with blood on the vehicle and Sabine’s boyfriend is beginning to look like the number one suspect in this odd case. No body, but a car and an apartment covered with odd patches of blood shows that something has gone array. Cutter Wood visited this hotel once and has developed a connection to the case. Love and Death in the Sunshine State focuses on finding out what really happened to Sabine and the connection that Cutter develops with the main suspect. I can’t help but compare most true crime novels to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and it doesn’t help that the publishers are doing this as well. In Cold Blood is effective because it focuses on the town, the family that was murdered, and the killers before, during, and after their crimes. Wood decides to focus on a relationship and himself. The case doesn’t become the centerpiece of this story until about 50% of the way through. It made for a very boring read. I skimmed the majority of this novel because it had no pertinence to the case and I was uninterested in Wood’s own relationships. Capote never made In Cold Blood about himself, but Love and Death in the Sunshine State is all about Cutter Wood with the convenience of a connection an odd murder. Wood’s largest drawback as a writer is overexplaining. The majority of this novel consists of frivolous information that has no importance to the true crime case that is being presented as the centerpiece of this story. I’m looking at all this from the perspective the crime being the driving force of this novel and from that perspective it does a half-baked job of really laying down the facts and delving into the people that have been affected by this crime, but if I look at this novel from another perspective. The perspective that this is a story about a young man struggling with graduate school, a serious relationship, and trying to explain the connection he has to this strange case then this novel is even worse. Wood’s writing style is not strong enough to really hold itself up without the allure of the true crime mystery. I feel like I’m being harsh, but this novel was a pain to get through and because I didn’t like the writing style my enjoyment of this novel really suffered.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 1

The crime itself is fascinating and the last half of the book wasn’t all that bad to get through. In fact, Wood’s writing style became a little bit easier to get through. I won’t go too much into the plot itself because this is a true crime novel and if I tell you all about the crime then I kind of ruin the purpose of you reading this novel. I do think that the case itself is interesting and one that I’m sure many true crime will be interested in analyzing. This isn’t the worst novel I’ve ever read and it definitely has its moments, but I don’t think this was the novel for me.

Plotastic Scale: 1.5

Cover Thoughts: It doesn’t look very sunny, but it does look like In Cold Blood.

Thank you, Netgalley and Algonquin Books, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Do you plan on reading Love and Death in the Sunshine State? What are some of your favorite true crime novels, podcasts, or documentaries? Let me know down below in the comments!

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