What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY’s picks for book lovers include a new novel about Lizzie Borden, the infamous accused 19th-century murderess.
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt; Atlantic Monthly Press, 328 pp.; fiction
More than 100 years before the O. J. Simpson murder trial, the case of Lizzie Borden fascinated the public, generating a famous folk rhyme and a stream of songs and stories and speculation that endures to this day. Christina Ricci gave a chilling portrayal in the wacky Lifetime 2015 series, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.
Now Australian author Sarah Schmidt continues the tradition with her debut novel See What I Have Done, a taut, lyrical account of the destruction of the Borden family, both through ax murder and subtler means.
The book opens in Lizzie’s point of view, shortly after the brutal murders of her father and stepmother Andrew and Abby Borden on the morning of Aug. 4, 1892 in Fall River, Mass: “He was still bleeding. I yelled, ‘Someone’s killed Father.’ I breathed in kerosene air, licked the thickness from my teeth. The clock on the mantel ticked ticked.”
Lizzie sends the housekeeper, Bridget, to fetch the doctor, and sends a telegram to her older sister Emma, who’s been staying with a friend in nearby Fairhaven for the past two weeks: “A terrible accident. Come home.”
USA TODAY says ***½ out of four stars. “Everything about Schmidt’s novel is hauntingly, beautifully off. It’s a creepy and penetrating work, even for a book about Lizzie Borden.”
Talon of God by Wesley Snipes and Ray Norman; Harper Voyager, 368 pp.; fiction
A supernatural adventure about the war between angels and demons — literal and metaphorical — on the streets of Chicago, centering on a young ER doctor named Lauryn Jefferson.