Robert Rosen

Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon (Soft Skull Press)

The book's last few chapters--devoted to the unraveling of Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, whose obsession with Holden Caulfield (the young, angry hero of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye) seemed almost as great as his Lennon fixation--are even grimmer than the portrait of Lennon. Describing the gradual buildup of Chapman's homicidal rage toward the man he viewed as the ultimate phony, the book is bound to leave readers with one conclusion: Chapman is the book's real nowhere man.

As for Lennon, the author's generally sympathetic stance allows readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether he was a man with simply too much time on his hands, struggling to fill the empty hours, or one who, having already accomplished his musical goals, was tenaciously committed to his own spiritual growth.

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