"Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans," by Ethan Brown, St. Martin's Press, 279 pages, $7.99 (nf)
"Shake The Devil Off" is the little-known story of Zack Bowen, a man who served in the early days of the Iraq War and survived Hurricane Katrina but later famous for killing and dismembering his girlfriend. "Shake the Devil Off' is written documentary-style, detailing both the accounts of Zack's friends and the author's search for the truth about him.
After dropping out of high school in Sacramento, Calif., Bowen moved to New Orleans and married Lana Shupack, a stripper from Florida. He later joined the Army, serving both in Kosovo and Iraq — a service that, coupled with his general (under honorable conditions) military discharge, caused more trauma than anyone had anticipated. According to his wife, Lana, he was a completely different person when he returned, and they soon faced marital problems and eventual separation.
Zack stayed in New Orleans and found a girlfriend named Addie Hall; they survived Hurricane Katrina together, along with the citizens of the French Quarter. Afterwards, the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder took their toll on Zack. He eventually killed and dismembered Addie, subsequently taking his own life.
Heart-wrenching and well-written, this book paints an accurate, vivid picture of dreary Kosovo, war-torn Iraq, a New Orleans that refused to be obliterated even in the face of death itself, and a tortured man who lived through it all. It is a haunting and moving piece. While most people would likely enjoy it, the content is not well-suited to readers under the age of 16.
Tamara Sisler is a young English major from Tennessee. She currently lives in Utah with her goats, laptop and sketchbook, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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