All-American Murder

James Patterson returns with a narrative journalistic account of the rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez. The Patriot’s tight-end seemed to have it all until he was arrested for the murder of his friend, Odin Lloyd, and his life began to fall apart. By the end of the line, he had been convicted of one murder, acquitted of a double-murder, and ended his own life in his prison cell at the age of 27. All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez is a look at how a football player with all the potential in the world was taken down by anger, paranoia, drug use,and gang activity.

Here’s the blurb from the Amazon page:

Aaron Hernandez was a college All-American who became the youngest player in the NFL and later reached the Super Bowl. His every move as a tight end with the New England Patriots played out the headlines, yet he led a secret life–one that ended in a maximum-security prison. What drove him to go so wrong, so fast?

Between the summers of 2012 and 2013, not long after Hernandez made his first Pro Bowl, he was linked to a series of violent incidents culminating in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who dated the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins.

All-American Murder is the first book to investigate Aaron Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction and the mystery of his own shocking and untimely death.

This is your typical James Patterson book. Lots of short chapters, probably not written by Patterson at all, but it’s interesting. I knew a lot about the criminal cases, the murder charges, but I didn’t know much about Aaron Hernandez before prison, so that was interesting. I definitely think that this book spent far too much time recapping individual plays of football games. I get it, it’s important that football let Aaron Hernandez be who he was, but did I really need to know when he broke left and when he went right and with what hand he caught the ball with? No, I didn’t. I liked the different people we got to meet in this, including other friends and potential victims of Hernandez, people who knew him growing up, people who interviewed him for sports magazines, etc.

This book came out in January 2018 but Aaron Hernandez killed himself in April 2017. I know that doesn’t leave much time to Patterson, Abramovich, and Harvkey to write about his suicide or the findings of CTE that may change football forever, but I expected more than a single chapter on his life after the acquittal. Less than ten minutes on the story that rocked the country? Really. They definitely could have done more, but I’m glad they didn’t too much speculation about his bisexuality or mental illness or anything that cannot be proven.

Overall, this was a quick read and interesting as someone who likes true crime and was fascinated by Hernandez’s case and his death.


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