SOCIAL SCIENCES

Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire, America’s Deadliest Rock Concert

. 2012. 320p. 978-1-61168-265-6. 27.95.
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Much like an episode of Law & Order, this book is part action, part consequence. Written by attorney Barylick, who investigated and prosecuted the resultant wrongful-death and personal-injury cases, the first two-thirds of the story describe, in exhaustive detail, the events that culminated in a deadly 2003 fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, during a Great White concert. The fire is described repeatedly from multiple perspectives—and although survivors experienced the fire for scant minutes, readers will experience it for hours. The last third of the book explains the challenges that victims and their families faced in court as they sought justice as well as compensation. This search for answers is carefully researched and sprinkled with the kind of sarcasm and irreverence for the defendants one imagines stems from a deep dislike on the author’s part. Gina Russo’s From the Ashes retells the story from a survivor’s perspective.
VERDICT This jury finds Barylick guilty of crafting a precise account that will appeal to readers interested in accident reconstruction, forensics, product liability, tort law, disaster prevention, and the application of rationality to chaos.

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