August 2, 1991, Twentynine Palms, California: a troubled Marine who has recently returned from the Gulf War savagely murders two young girls. One was about to turn 16, the other 21. Exquisitely and inexorably, Deanne Stillman uses this tragedy as a prism through which she examines a rootless culture of fatherless families, shattered dreams, and relentless violence. She also traces the family histories of each murder victim back for generations, in one case to the Donner Party and the other to a shack in the Philippines.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers each year.