Genres: Non Fiction, True Crime
Setting: Hampton, SC
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Also by this author: Love Her To Death: The True Story of a Millionaire Businessman, His Gorgeous Wife, and the Divorce That Ended in Murder, Playing with Fire
In Tangled Vines , bestselling true crime author John Glatt reconstructs the rise of the prestigious Murdaugh family and the shocking double murder that led to the downfall of its patriarch, Alex Murdaugh.
Among the lush, tree-lined waterways of South Carolina low country, the Murdaugh name means power. A century-old, multimillion-dollar law practice has catapulted the family into incredible wealth and local celebrity―but it was an unimaginable tragedy that would thrust them into the national spotlight. On June 7th, 2021, prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh discovered the bodies of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, on the grounds of their thousand-acre hunting lodge. The mystery deepened only months later when Alex himself was discovered shot in the head on a local roadside.
But as authorities scrambled for clues and the community reeled from the loss and media attention, dark secrets about this Southern legal dynasty came to light. The Murdaughs, it turned out, were feared as much as they were loved. And they wouldn’t hesitate to wield their influence to protect one of their own; two years before he was killed, a highly intoxicated Paul Murdaugh was at the helm of a boat when it crashed and killed a teenage girl, and his light treatment by police led to speculation that privilege had come into play. As bombshells of financial fraud were revealed and more suspicious deaths were linked to the Murdaughs, a new portrait of Alex Murdaugh a desperate man on the brink of ruin who would do anything, even plan his own death, to save his family’s reputation.
If you follow the national news, you have probably heard at least part of the story about the Murdaugh family. I was first introduced to them via a podcast about the youngest son’s boat crash that killed a friend. But, this family is just insane. It isn’t just about power in a small town, its about what happens when one family has more money that most of the people in a county combined. The area the Murdaughs lived in is mostly poor-below the poverty line. But, there is this law firm that makes millions on personal injury lawsuits. The families of this law firm are by far the most wealthy in the counties, but none quite as much as the Murdaughs.
The story is told in a linear timeline, which I appreciated because the news picked up the story pretty late in the game and things came out to the public out of order for sure. It also starts with the history of the family and the establishment of the law firm. You see what happens as a family begins to amass power and money. By the time it gets to the 4th generation, entitlement is a real problem. Alex (pronounced Alec) Murdaugh and his sons, especially the youngest, Paul, feel that they have the right to break the law and get away with just about anything. Alex starts with stealing, and his youngest son is just a terror, eventually developing such a bad alcohol and drug problem he causes the death of a friend during a drunken boating wreck. No one event seems to be enough to wake the Murdaughs up and they just keep doing horrible things.
If you like to see people get what they deserve, this is a story that certainly delivers. Unfortunately, the book ends before the murder trial, but a simple google search will give you the outcome of that. I would like to read a book about the actual trial and evidence.
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, American Predator by Maureen Callahan, or any of John Douglas‘s books…then you will probably like Tangled Vines!