Read Dead Center by Joanna Higgins Online


Twenty years after a shooting death deemed accidental, a respected pediatrician is charged with murdering a man who had been his friend. In those intervening years, the pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Weber, has married his friend's widow and adopted their two children. And during those years, he has proven himself to be a devoted father and spouse as well as a trusted physiciaTwenty years after a shooting death deemed accidental, a respected pediatrician is charged with murdering a man who had been his friend. In those intervening years, the pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Weber, has married his friend's widow and adopted their two children. And during those years, he has proven himself to be a devoted father and spouse as well as a trusted physician. Dr. Weber pleads innocent, and his wife believes him. His grown daughters Laura and Lin believe him. Or do they? As the novel evolves, the mystery at its center deepens into an exploration of divided loyalties and precarious family relationships, of children's need to believe in conflict with their desire for truth. This suspenseful novel combines elements of the conventional murder mystery and courtroom drama, but goes beyond these into that greater drama of the human heart in conflict with itself. Inspired by an actual case, Dead Center is really an ancient story in contemporary guise, one wherein betrayal blurs with love, evil with good, hatred with forgiveness, and guilt with innocence. It is also the story of a family that has been wrenched apart by loss for a second time but not, finally, destroyed....

Title : Dead Center
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781579622121
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dead Center Reviews

  • Megan
    2019-04-09 11:01

    Firstly, I would like to express thanks for having won Dead Center through Goodreads first reads giveaway. I am grateful to have had this opportunity. Dead Center is the story of a family forced to examine itself and its roots as father Ben is on trial for a murder which took place twenty years ago. The catch? Ben is accused of murdering a man who was then married to his current wife, and who is the biological father of his stepchildren. The death has always been deemed a hunting accident, but the district attorney has recently decided to prosecute the death as murder. An author’s note states this novel was inspired by true events, but does not say more. A further note insists this is a work of fiction and any similarity to real people, events or places is a coincidence. That’s too bad. Had this been a fictionalized account of a real event, I may have been more forgiving. That is, I have low expectations for the writing quality of true crime novels. Apparently Dead Center is not “true crime” so much as it is a study of family dynamics. As a novel it just didn’t work for me. Dead Center is told mostly from the perspective of older daughter Laura. We also read the story through middle daughter Linda, mother Karen and father/stepfather Ben. Youngest daughter, Katherine (Ben’s only biological child) is for the most part absent. Multiple POV’s are so not my favorite. Especially when there is no distinct voice, as is the case here. We aren’t privy to many flashbacks or personal memories or interactions. Rather, Dead Center focuses on what each character is thinking and feeling at the moment. And, of course, each character is thinking, “Is this really happening? How do I live with myself, my father, my family once this is all over?” Much of the novel is internal musings. Scenes and circumstances would change and I would have to go back over a paragraph or two to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The dialogue was at times confusing, a lot of conversations that had me going back to the beginning of the paragraph because I forgot who was saying what line. Adding to the messiness is the fact that most chapters are only two or three pages long. Dead Center has a lot of potential. But in its current state, it feels incomplete and disorganized. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make older sister Laura the protagonist. Thoughts and actions from parents Karen and Ben, and sister Linda would be revealed through conversation with Laura, actions, and perhaps through eavesdropping. Sister Katherine would be a part of the story (after all, why create her if she doesn’t appear but for a few sentences at the end?) Chapters would be chapters not three page annoyances. I realize this novel focuses on the here and now, but there is a reason this death is being investigated now, rather than twenty years ago. That reason is mentioned, but in my version of Dead Center it would be fully explored. Finally, the townspeople are harassing this family. Why? Small town Michigan, okay. But the family moved out of state at some point after the murder. Are people’s memories really so long? Why all of the pent up rage? Again, Dead Center has so much potential. But as it is written, it was a chore to finish. I recommend it to lovers of crime fiction, and family drama. But those of you looking for a well written, satisfying read should probably pass this one by.

  • Jamie
    2019-04-24 09:57

    This book is about a father, named Ben, who is being charged with a murder. This "murder" took place 20 years ago and was declared a hunting accident. The book is primarily told from the perspective of his two eldest daughters, Laura and Linda. Actually, they are his stepdaughters. They are, in fact, the daughters of the man is is being accused of murdering...An interesting premise for a story based on that. However this book has too many other focus'. Stray and random thoughts and images. A lot of the book read more like a journal. The book is written much like what I might expect from a true crime courtroom setting book. At first I help a lot of hope. Around halfway through the book, my interest started to drop. The story wasn't moving along. Hints of other situations, gabs in the trial, drug rings and more are mentioned but don't seem well placed or explained. This book has a lot of internal and family drama to it as well, which at times raised my interest, and others (depending how it was written) did not.I received a free copy of this book from the Goodreads giveaway program.

  • Sheila
    2019-04-24 15:59

    What if the perfect father were suddenly accused of murder? What if he were led away in handcuffs from his place of work, his picture in all the papers, friends as shocked as family, life in ruins, and all because of some long-gone tragedy?Joanna Higgins has readers hooked right from the start in her novel Dead Center. Opening with a death that took place some twenty years ago, she moves forward to a busy pediatrician’s office, to a kind man caring for a child, and to a world that ought to be falling apart but seems oddly held together in the confident calm of the accused.Would a family drop everything and rush to offer support, or would a daughter stop and wonder, revisiting old memories through new eyes? Would hidden hurts be beaten down under the needs of the moment, or would they rise, seeking comfort and finding suspicion? The characters in Dead Center provide enthralling answers to these questions. Each is convincingly drawn with just the right amount of drama in past and present. Each brings a singular perspective, a different willing suspension of belief or suspicion, and a separate past. Even sisters have seen their adoptive father through different eyes. But the whole creates a family, past present and future, father mother and child, all tied together with memories and care.Somehow, despite the topic, despite even the fact that it’s inspired by an actual case, Dead Center isn’t a novel of the world falling apart, or of dysfunctional families airing grievances. Instead it’s a tale of the wounded pulling together, the broken seeking truth and love, finding both in equal measure; it’s a story that places people and relationships in the center, where they belong, creating a gravitational force of family that holds its own stability through the storm.I was hooked to the final pages, not like a voyeur observing an awful accident, but rather like an eager witness, or even a daughter, seeking love and truth in equal measure and finding both. Dead Center is an impressive novel, and a provocative, powerful tale.

  • Barbara Mitchell
    2019-04-21 09:22

    I need to preface what I want to say about Dead Center with a caveat. I have met Joanna Higgins, she lives in the same county I do, and both of us attended the murder trial this novel is based on. I was working as a journalist covering the trial, and she was there taking notes with the idea of a book. Several years later here it is and it just tore my heart out.Joanna had written an earlier book A Soldier's Book based on a collection of letters written home by a Civil War soldier. When I read it I was stunned at her writing talent, even though I knew she had taught writing at universities and was quite a literary person. She has surpassed her earlier book with this one. I know no one who reads it will be disappointed. However, I must mention that my take on it with the background of knowing so well the real story may be different than someone who isn't familiar with what really happened.Naturally, in writing this as fiction Joanna has changed locations, names, and many other details. She has written it from the viewpoint of the family of the accused murderer. Since I was bound to be objective during the trial, I too thought of it from their point of view, but Joanna has taken that further to just concentrate on how they felt, how they coped or didn't, and whether they were truly convinced of his innocence. As I read, I gained empathy for their situation and I'll admit I nearly cried as the book ended.Even the dust cover of the book is absolutely perfect, showing a shotgun below blood spatter on the bold black of the letters. Once again Joanna Higgins has left me almost speechless with the thoughtfulness, empathy, and beauty of her prose. If I remember correctly, she writes some poetry as well, and this book strikes me as a long prose poem. The characters' thoughts and actions, with the exception of the accused murderer, ring so true I felt like I was in the rented house with them as the trial went on.I highly recommend this treasure of a book, though I would remind you that I can't help being biased.

  • Monica
    2019-04-13 11:14

    I enjoyed this book. This is the story about a murder that happened 20 years ago and Dr. Weber is now on trial for this murder. The interesting thing about this plot is that the man that he murdered was a friend of his and Dr. Weber was having an affair with Pete's wife. Ultimately Dr. Weber (Ben) and Karen got married.Karen's daughter's Lin and Laura are confused between fact and fiction. Their emotions are torn between wanting to believe their 'dad' is innocent to feeling that his story just doesn't add up. I did find myself getting a little confused during the trial because the writing was of the words that were being spoken and sometimes thoughts of the person hearing them.All in all I enjoyed the book even with the little undertones of religion. I felt that the religion part was well placed and brought up. People that have a strong faith prior to something traumatic happening begin to question their faith in God. The ending was okay but not what I was really expecting.

  • Diane
    2019-04-11 15:18

    Based on a true story, this novel transports the reader between present day (1990) and twenty years earlier, after an accidental shooting death. Dr. Ben Weber, in the ensuing years, has married the widow, Karen, and raised Lin and Laura as a loving stepfather. When he is brought to trial for murdering his friend, Karen remains absolutely loyal to Ben, but the girls, young adults by now, are devastated and questioning Ben's innocence, despite desperately wanting to believe in it. I admire the way Higgins builds the plot, showing the possibilities, the conflicts, and the final resolution. It's not without some surprises along the way. I liked the conclusion - not neat and tidy, but somehow just and believable.

  • Judy
    2019-04-05 13:11

    Dead Center tells the story of a husband who is shot. The widow and two daughters became the family of the only person at the murder.Twenty years later Dr. Ben Weber is arrested for the murder. Emotions flood in the speaking voices of Karen, his wife, a cancer survivor,Laura and Lin, the two daughters both now adults.Faith takes a beating during the trial as evidence is presented on the death of their husband/father. There are many twists to the story with an ending both sad and revealing. I enjoyed this book and recomend it to others.

  • Lori Tatar
    2019-04-03 09:06

    Dead Center is written with an original format, told from several different perspectives. Ultimately, logic prevailed, despite a weak attempt at the end to throw the reader off what was obvious on many levels. Underlying the entire story is one of familial love. The bonds are extremely difficult to break, but under extreme circumstances, they can surely be broken. Joanna Higgins is a very talented author who is able to captivate her audience.

  • Georgiann Hennelly
    2019-04-04 13:06

    Dead Center is the story of a shooting death that happened twenty years earlier. The story line goes between present day(1990) and(1970) Dr Ben Weber married the widow Karen and raised Lin and Laura as a loving stepfather.When he is taken to trail for the murder of his friend, Karen stays loyal to him. But Lin and Laura who are young adults are devastated and question Ben's innocence, despite wanting to believe in it. There are many twists and turns to the story with a sad but revealing ending.

  • Peggy
    2019-03-27 13:04

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Knowing it was based on a true story made it even more interesting. I liked being able to understand the characters and how they felt, when the murder occurred and after the arrest was made and through the trial.This was a free book for me from the Goodreads giveaways and I want to thank you for it.

  • Lola
    2019-04-11 10:21

    I got this book when my name was one drawn for a free copy. Thank you, Good Reads!Excellent! This book caused me to stay up way late; didn't want to stop reading.20 years after committing the murder of his friend, the pediatrician is brought to trial.He has married the widow, adopted her daughters, & lived a good life with them! Basedon an actual happening. Read this book!

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-10 12:01

    I found the plot in this book to be lacking. You figure out whats happening in the book from the early pages and then expect something to happen but nothing changes. I also found the character development to be poor. It felt like every time new information should be revealed the book went in reverse and nothing new would be gained.

  • Amanda
    2019-04-10 10:05

    This book was very good, it kept my wanting to read more and more with every page. I liked the story and the characters. And the fact this was based on true event made this book all that much better and more real!!!

  • Heather
    2019-04-18 10:53

    i just won this as a first-reads giveaway! i cant wait for it to arrive in the mail!! thank you goodreads and Joanna Higgins!!

  • Lois
    2019-03-26 13:56

    Couldn't bring myself to finish it. Who committed the murder? Who cares?

  • Rena
    2019-04-09 15:21

    Looks great. Can’t wait to read it.

  • Silly
    2019-04-10 08:23

    Looks like a good book.

  • Connie Borglin
    2019-04-21 16:17

    I did enjoy the suprises and twists that took the book in different directions. I really didn't have a clue in the beginning and it was great to see how the story progressed

  • Tee Mcdaniel
    2019-04-05 11:13

    A long drawn out book that sounded a whole lot better than it was .

  • shinfu
    2019-04-25 11:21

    I would like to read/review this book.

  • Harry Annan
    2019-04-19 12:21

    Great this woman's writing.

  • Al Stoess
    2019-04-21 09:19

    Strange book. Premeditated murder or not?

  • Jerry Peace
    2019-04-17 08:19

    Ms. Higgins is a terrific artist.