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Review: Evening’s Empire

December 24, 2009

Ed Lazar was a young CPA living in Phoenix in the late 1960’s.  He was married to Susie and they had two children – a boy named Zachary and a daughter named Stacey.  Things seemed to be going along okay for the young couple, but Ed was restless and wanted more.

Hoping to grab the brass ring, Ed became involved with Ned Warren, a less-than-desirable character, in land deals.  Ned had a shady past, including some jail time for fraud.  It turns out the land deals were more like Ponzi schemes and over-run with fraud.  When investigators started closing in, Ed decided to cooperate and testify against his former business partner, Ned.

Ed refused protection and testified before the grand jury.  His testimony went fine and he was told to come back a week later.  He never made it – he was found brutally murdered in a parking garage stairwell the day before he was to testify again – February 21, 1975.

Ed son’s Zachary was six years old at the time and doesn’t really remember his father or anything about the events.  In a search to know his father, he spent countless hours researching the events that led up to his murder.  Evening’s Empire is the result of all of his research.

I really do understand Zachary Lazar’s motivation for researching and writing this book, but it just didn’t work for me.  I found the details of the land fraud schemes confusing and dry reading.  There were so many people mentioned that it was just impossible to keep up with who all of them were.  Most of the book is told in the third person, but every once in a while, it would change to first person for a short period and I found that confusing as well.  I think there’s a good story in all the land fraud in Arizona at the time, but for me, Evening’s Empire wasn’t it.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.  I am an Amazon Associate.
27 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2009 8:09 am

    So sorry you didn’t enjoy this book. It definitely sounds like it had some potential!

  2. December 24, 2009 8:17 am

    Sorry this didn’t work for you; I don’t think I’d enjoy the story either.

  3. December 24, 2009 8:20 am

    Too bad this one was a dud for you. As you said, I can understand why the author would want to know more about his father, but perhaps not every story needs to be made into a book.

  4. December 24, 2009 8:54 am

    I enjoy true stories, especially when they are twisted and bizarre. But I’m not surprised that this one is convoluted and hard to understand. I wonder if the criminals even truly understand those schemes.

  5. December 24, 2009 9:29 am

    Sounds like it would make a good Law and Order episode instead of a book!

  6. December 24, 2009 10:03 am

    Too bad the story didn’t work for you. I am not sure if I would have liked it.

  7. December 24, 2009 11:21 am

    It sounds like this book has potential as it is understanding to want to find out details about a parents death. Sometimes the technical stuff and dry reading gets in the way of the heart of a story.

  8. December 24, 2009 12:54 pm

    Just stopping to say Merry Christmas!

  9. December 24, 2009 2:21 pm

    I’m sorry this one didn’t turn out to be so good, Kathy. The premise sounded so promising.

  10. December 24, 2009 2:37 pm

    I get totally lost in books that have too many characters. If I really like the book otherwise, I’ll try to make a list of the characters and their relationships. If I don’t, I’ll just put the book down.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Straight From Hel

  11. December 24, 2009 2:40 pm

    I’m sorry about the book. I just stopped by to wish you a happy Christmas for both you and your family.

  12. December 24, 2009 4:55 pm

    Sounds like it will be a miss for me. There are too many other good reads out there.

    I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  13. December 24, 2009 5:48 pm

    Kathy, as always I appreciate your honesty.

    Merry Christmas!!

  14. December 24, 2009 7:31 pm

    I hate it when a promising story turns out to be a bit of a dud! It always seems that much more disappointing when you expect it to be good.

    Happy Holidaze!

  15. December 24, 2009 9:58 pm

    It is always disappointing when a book seems to have promise and just fizzles-have a Merry Christmas.

  16. December 25, 2009 12:10 am

    I think sometimes it works for a family member to write the story, but often it would be better to have an author write it with input from the family member.

  17. stacybuckeye permalink
    December 25, 2009 1:23 am

    Well that’s too bad. It’s to busy of a time to be stuck reading a book you don’t like. Merry Christmas, Kathy!

  18. December 25, 2009 4:56 am

    Sometimes the most “that’s a book” concepts need more time than the authors can give them to become true stories. I’m sorry about this one for you.

  19. December 25, 2009 11:49 am

    I thought the story sounded interesting, but I think the shifting POV would drive me nuts. Also, I don’t know too much about Ponzi schemes, and I don’t want it explained to me in a boring way. Thanks for the honest review!

  20. December 25, 2009 10:56 pm

    This even sounds confusing! Sorry you didn’t enjoy it though.

  21. December 26, 2009 1:18 pm

    I don’t think this one would work for me. I like what Beth F said. Perhaps it was an interesting event but not very story worthy?

  22. December 27, 2009 8:58 pm

    This sounds like one where the story behind the book is better than the book. Thanks for the honest review … and I don’t think land fraud would do it for me either.

  23. December 27, 2009 9:47 pm

    Too bad it didn’t work for you. From the description, it sounded like it may be interesting. I think I’ll skip this book.

  24. December 28, 2009 12:51 am

    I suppose writing the book was cathartic for the son…too bad it wasn’t a better read. It has some elements I would enjoy but it sounds like they didn’t come together in an entertaining way.

  25. December 28, 2009 6:20 pm

    Is this the same book that is largely about or influenced by music and takes it’s name from the Bob Dylan lyric “I know the Evening’s Empire has returned into sand…”? Or is there another book by the same title that has recently come out? Because this doesn’t sound like that book.

  26. December 29, 2009 4:03 pm

    Sorry this one didn’t work out for you. It sounds like this book was more an attempt at healing than a literary masterpiece. I also think the changing point of view would be disagreeable to me as well.

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