REVIEW POTPOURRI – Book: Above Suspicion by Joe Sharkey

Author Joe Sharkey

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Above Suspicion
written by Joe Sharkey; published 1993, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 310 pages.

Above Suspicion is the account of an eastern Kentucky woman, Susie Smith, murdered back in 1989 by the area FBI agent, Mark Putnam, also a married man with whom she was having an affair. The murder case has sustained interest since then with films, other books and droves of media coverage while this title was turned into a film a year ago. Meanwhile the author Joe Sharkey has been working on an updated edition.

I have dipped into it as I frequently do these days with the many read and unread books around here, not finishing that many.

The author has a gift for narration and a sense of humor. So I offer an example referencing the criminal element in those Kentucky mountains:

To a bank robber, eastern Kentucky offers unusual challenges and unusual opportunities. In some ways, it is not an ideal place to rob a bank. For one thing, the region has an FBI office, and bank robbery has been a federal crime since John Dillinger’s days. For another, robbing a bank is usually a daylight pursuit requiring the capacity to get away in a car – not an easy task in a place where the roads run up one side of a mountain and wind down the other, and the nearest interstate is two hours of bad road away.

But on the other hand, banks in isolated mountain settlements tend to be guarded with about as much fortification as a hot dog stand, in towns without full-time police protection. So they draw free-lance opportunists who haven’t always clearly thought through their plans, such as the robber who hid on a bank roof to pounce on the driver from the Piggly-Wiggly store making his night deposit – and missed, knocking himself out cold in the parking lot. Or the hapless gang who held up a bank on Peter Creek, found themselves stranded when the getaway driver got lost en route, politely borrowed a teller’s car keys, and ran out of gas a half mile down the road.

I notice the rave reviewers mention nothing about the humor.


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