“Based on a true murder trial in Richmond, VA, in the decade following the Civil War; Thompson does his research thoroughly and fills in the blanks beautifully, creating believable and rich character sketches of Tommie, Willie and Lillie. Thompson shuttles us between the unfolding trial (and Tommie's time in jail) and his complex relationship with Lillie and his brother Willie.”Joanne M wrote this review Saturday, January 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a book I misjudged, and I misjudged it until about midway. I first described it to a friend as a sort of mindless mystery with certainly no depth to it. I could foresee the technical lawyer jargon, and so I did classify it as somewhat intelligent. The author unfolded this book like onion, with each layer bringing you closer to the core. I still would contest that it started as a simple murder mystery. It ended with a gut check and a question: Do we ever really know what it is in the soul of another person?”Kim wrote this review Monday, January 2, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was interesting and well written, but by the time I was 2/3 of the way through, I had had enough. Oh, I finished it -- and the ending was all I had dreaded -- but it was FAR too long. ”Linda S wrote this review Saturday, October 15, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Reading about an area you are familiar always make a book more interesting. This book was based on an actual court case that took place in Richmond that the author researched and added details. The main characters are based on actual people.
Tommie Culverius is introduced in the opening chapter of the book leaving the reservoir and discarding items as he leaves. He is soon arrested and charged with the crime of killing his cousin who is 8 months pregnant. Because he is a lawyer this makes the crime more shocking. At one point his brother, Willie was in love with the murdered girl. The story follows Tommie's trial and goes back before the murder to examine what led up the murder.
The crime itself, even if it happened today would cause quite the scandal. The treatment of the prisoner was quite different from what I imagine would happen today.
“Based on a true crime committed in Richmond,VA in 1885. This fictionalized story of the murder of Lillian Madison stalled in many places. I appreciated the details of the period and of Richmond in particular but I never really felt invested in the characters, with the notable exceptions of Lillian and Willie. ”sharon P wrote this review Thursday, September 22, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was a bit disappointing. Not terrible, but I had expected more. The story was much more dry that I thought you could make a murder mystery. I actually just skimmed the last chunk of the book just so I could find out what happened and skip all the awkward writing in between.”MeggieC wrote this review Friday, September 16, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It was not a bad first book. I liked the concept of it how it was based on a true event and how the author was able to convey thoughts ie: what the characters were thinking. It was easy to follow along. ”Jill wrote this review Thursday, September 1, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great mystery based on an actual case. ”Bwitchd3 wrote this review Wednesday, August 17, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Based on a true murder mystery, The Reservoir presents an intriguing case that unfolds or rather, is encountered much like a detective might expect to experience during a real investigation. Through the uncovering, characters, events and suspicions arise and often take on new meaning and point in various directions. At varying points in the story, the innocent appear guilty, and the guilty, innocent. Many plausible scenarios develop making it difficult to guess what the truth, if any, will ever be revealed. By the end, you'll wonder if the conclusion is sincere or have you been mislead to believe an acceptable truth? Much like real-life, nothing is certain and it can be a murky business unveiling the responsible. The Reservoir will leave you questioning who is to blame in this tragic event. It seems circumstance, gender, class and human nature all have a hand in driving the plot to its conclusion.
“*You can preorder this book from Indiebound. Pub date is 06/21/11.
John Milliken Thompson's The Reservoir sounds like a mystery: one cold morning in 1885, the body of Lillie Madison is found floating in the reservoir in Richmond, Virginia. The coroner is called. Evidence is gathered.
However, if you pass this book by because you don't read mysteries, you're doing yourself - and this book - a disservice. Similarly to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, the murder of Lillie Madison is based on real-life events (though unlike In Cold Blood, it is fiction), and while the murder is part of the story, it isn't the whole story.
Lillie is dead, yes, but she was also pregnant, which originally makes police believe her death was a suicide. However, when she is linked, intimately, with her cousin Tommie Cleverius, the police are confident they have Lillie's killer, and the couple's background is told in flashbacks.
Tommie Cleverius is a young, up-and-coming attorney. Engaged to a wealthy woman and painted by Thompson as an ambitious and sometimes dishonest man, he is as wily as his brother Willie is salt of the earth. Raised by an aunt, Tommie and Willie have wanted for nothing. Lillie has problems at home, and she, too, comes to live with her aunt. Both boys fall for Lillie, but she leaves for school and the competition dies down.
When Lillie moves to live and care for her uncle, Tommie visits her there, several times overnight. Tommie very well could be the father of her unborn child. Even though the only evidence is circumstantial at best, once the police latch onto the idea that Lillie was murdered, Tommie is swiftly arrested and tried, but everyone, including his own brother, wants to know: did Tommie kill Lillie?
With extensive research, Thompson crafts the tale of Lillie, her life, her lovers, her family, and finally, the circumstances of her death, leaving the reader to wonder alternately if Tommie was a narcissist ridding himself of a demanding lover and unwanted child or a mostly-innocent bystander, guilty only of loving and lusting after a woman.
Though the trial and ending ran a little long for me, The Reservoir was an absorbing read, and I'm curious which group you'll fall into if you read it. Personally, I thought Tommie was guilty as charged. However, I don't necessarily think there was enough evidence to convict him.
Has anyone seen this book and been intrigued? Courtroom dramas are also high on my list - anyone else out there enjoy the tension of a well-written courtroom scene?
jenn aka the picky girl
*Thanks to Other Press who allowed me to review an advance ebook copy through NetGalley.”