And on and on. In the midst of this finite factbase, Lysiak quotes academics and activists who think the shooter’s actions could be traced to unchecked mental illness, or to psychopathy, or to plain old evil. But he transcribes their words like the newspaperman that he is, with equal weight given to all voices. This attempt to posit motives sans analysis fills about eight chapters of a 20-chapter, 254-page book without adding substance to any conversation. Meanwhile, the most words about the victims come in the chapter Lysiak spends briefly recapping all 26 funerals.

They deserve better. If December 14 makes readers feel a need to spend money, better to donate to causes the families are championing then pad an interloper’s pockets.

 

Kira Goldenberg is an associate editor at CJR.