PanThe Wall Street Journal\"... Mr. Bowden painstakingly reconstructs how the earnest detectives inched closer and closer to the truth. I wish I could say that this approach works. It doesn’t. In fairness, the problems derive more from the material that Mr. Bowden has chosen than from anything he does to shape it. For starters, the book lacks suspense ... Mr. Bowden wants us to believe that Welch is a skilled con artist, but he comes off as a desperate moron. And there’s no escaping him. A book is not a party where the reader can dodge a boor by crossing the room. The Last Stone amounts to a Lloyd Welch-a-thon ... One expects Welch to crack, or at least light a path to the truth. Yet the book’s turning point comes not from information furnished by Welch but from a detective’s decision to search the house where he was living in 1975 ... I’m not sure that The Last Stone should even be a book. There is no tidy ending. The why of it all remains beyond Mr. Bowden’s grasp. It might have worked better as a magazine article, which is a shame, because Mr. Bowden is a first-rate writer, a pro’s pro. But even pros have an off game now and then.\
MixedThe Wall Street JournalMr. Markel’s portrayal of the sibling dynamic edges a bit into a Scrooge-and-Cratchit stereotype, though it is amply backed up by anecdotes ... As compelling as their story may be, The Kelloggs has its flaws. The most irritating is that, after a straightforward chronicle of the family’s early years, Mr. Markel abandons chronology; the book jumps around in time more than a Quentin Tarantino movie ... This kind of thing robs the book of narrative drive. The other problem isn’t really the author’s fault. The main characters are so deeply defined by their hatred of each other, and so much larger than life—John sporting a bushy white beard, Will driving one of his sons to suicide—that a reader yearns for vivid scenes of their conflict.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal[Thompson's] tells the story of the riot and its aftermath with precision and momentum ... Ms. Thompson dispatches with the riot and the retaking in 219 pages. Had she stopped there, one could recommend Blood in the Water as a brisk, dramatic retelling. But she is far more interested in the legal fights that ensued, which take up the book’s remaining 352 pages ... Blood in the Water is a good work of history but leaves one wondering whether it is as balanced as it might have been.