Dead Man in Paradise: Unraveling a Murder from a Time of Revolution

J. B. MacKinnon, Author . New Press $24.95 (261p) ISBN 978-1-59558-181-5

In the Dominican Republic, in the summer of 1965, when a popular rebellion triggered civil war and intervention by American troops, the author's uncle Arthur, a Canadian priest, was killed along with two policemen under suspicious circumstances. In this engrossing investigation, journalist MacKinnon (coauthor of Plenty ), winner of three National Magazine Awards, searches for the truth behind his uncle's death and the dark legacy of dictatorship and poverty that it symbolizes. The story is something of a picaresque through the modern Dominican Republic. The author encounters a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, tight-lipped generals brooding over past crimes, and a populace fearful of the police and of outsiders asking questions; as he wanders about looking for witnesses, he gets lost in a maze of rural hamlets that are all named Los Jobillos. The official line that Father Art was accidentally shot while speeding through a checkpoint becomes increasingly dubious, and other possibilities arise: that he was collateral damage in a fight over a woman or, more probably, assassinated for speaking out against repression and poverty. Through MacKinnon's novelistic treatment, this intriguing mystery unfolds into a haunting portrait of a rich land marked by grotesque squalor, brutal inequality and an abiding thirst for social justice. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-55365-138-3
Ebook - 265 pages - 978-1-926685-62-5
Hardcover - 253 pages - 978-0-571-23126-3
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