Broken into two sections, this non-fiction book tells the story of the people of Savannah, Georgia and a murder that happened there in the 1980's. In the first section you meet many of the characters in the book through interviews they each held with the author when he first visited there from his home in New York City. But after he was there for a short time, one of the men he met there murdered a man and claimed it was self defense. The rest of the book tells the story of his trials and the effects his trouble had on others in the city (how can we have a Christmas party if Jim is in prison???).
I saw the movie adaptation of this book years ago and didn't like it, so I was hesitant to read the book. But after hearing that the movie was nothing like the book I decided to give it a try. I was drawn in immediately. The characters really come alive for you. They are all so incredible you often forget you are reading non-fiction (although the author does admit to a few artistic liberties). Then when the murder happens the story unfolds in a really compelling way. I couldn't get enough of it and couldn't wait to find out what would happen to Jim. It is a great mystery and told incredibly well.
So I highly recommend this book for a fascinating people study, but be prepared. You will probably want to take a trip to Savannah when you are done to see these people for yourself!