John Safran is a household name in Australia, known for stirring the pot, tackling awkward and controversial subjects, causing strife and making us laugh.
My favourite John Safran creation would have to be the Not The Sunscreen Song, a parody of Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrman.
So, after being a fan of his documentaries and funny antics (such as getting a fatwa put out on Rove) I was very interested to learn John Safran had turned his hand to writing. Murder In Mississippi is Safran's first book and it's a true crime story.
Safran was lured to Mississippi after the murder of a white supremacist in the deep South by a young black man. A year earlier, Safran had spent a couple of days with the white supremacist in a prank for his series Race Relations. Shocked that he'd been murdered, Safran (a fan of true crime and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood) went to the US to find out more.
Safran meets many white supremacists, the killer's family, lawyers and various other people connected to the murder case. He finds himself in some unusual situations and even develops a relationship with the killer. John is fair in his approach to what he thought would be a race motivated case, finding instead something altogether different.
Murder In Mississippi is very readable, even if this is your first true crime book. Safran raises some ideas and points of view for examination and reflection and is clearly a deep thinker. He is not afraid to say what he thinks and has the courage to go where few of us would dare venture. Perfect for book clubs and those looking to sink their teeth into something meaty over Christmas; you can't go wrong!
My rating = *****
After reading Murder In Mississippi, I had the opportunity to participate in a Google Hangout hosted by The Reading Room this week. Along with 3 others, I was able to chat with John Safran about his book amongst other things. The interview was watched live and is recorded below. I hope you enjoy it; I had a blast!