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  • Donald J. Bingle, Writer on Demand

Innocence can be lost in many ways; one of them is murder.

Here's my review of Harold G. Walker's Murder on the Floodways

Hal Walker has a deep, abiding understanding of the cadence, culture, dialect, geography, history, flora, fauna, climate, and religion of the Missouri Bootheel and the floodways, ditches, rail lines, highways, and dirt roads that comprise it, because he lived it as a child and then, as an adult, went back and investigated and researched it. This strikingly moving tale conveys all of that to the reader, while still maintaining the point-of-view of the author as a young boy confused and moved by a murder that he has never been able to forget. While the historical incidents recited are tragic, this book also conveys the regional atmosphere and culture of life and work among the floodways, as well as the courage and hope of the people who lived there. Intriguing details and a moving finish combine to make this a strong piece of narrative non-fiction. I found all of it interesting, but if you already know a lot about the area's geography and history or want to hurry up to get to the murder, you can skim through chapters 2-7 for a tighter, more compelling pacing. Recommended for history buffs, those interested in regional stories of Americana, true crime aficionados, and those who like their literary coming-of-age tales with a bit more grit about the true loss of innocence.

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