Books by Thomas French

JUNIPER by Kelley French
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A fierce and fact-filled love story with few holds barred."
Two skilled journalists collaborate on the most personal of stories: their extremely premature daughter's struggle to survive. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 6, 2010

"A well-constructed, colorful read for animal lovers."
An in-depth look behind the gates of an American zoo. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

A remarkably intimate—even painfully so—picture of a year in the life of a group of Florida high-school students. Education reporter French (Unanswered Cries, 1991) spent a year in Pinellas County's Largo High School, writing an award- winning series of articles for The St. Petersburg Times. The response from both adult and teenage readers was so positive that French returned to the school to gather additional material for this book by attending classes and social events, hanging out during breaks, and interviewing students, faculty, and families. So revealing is his portrait of teenage life today that one wonders how he did it: How did he persuade these young people to open up to him not only about school, study, and their futures, but also about their home lives, loves, jealousies, intrigues, and uninhibited good times? But open up they did, and their sad, brave, hopeful, and sometimes silly stories are recounted vividly here. Among the students are bright Mike Broome, who's so angry that no one- -teachers, friends, mother, brother—can reach him, and who eventually drops out; John Boyd, whose college football scholarship is threatened when he buys a gun to defend himself against the drug-dealers in his neighborhood and who stops a bullet with his history book; Andrea Taylor, who becomes the first black homecoming queen in Largo's history; and Christine Younskevicius, one of the ``Fearsome Foursome,'' a group of high-profile young women who run the school newspaper, throw darts at a picture of the principal, and take the author on an exuberant scavenger hunt. Here are the algebra tests, the hall passes, the dances and parties—but also the class that has only one student whose parents still live together in a ``traditional'' family; the scramble for high SAT scores; and the striving to earn money, find love, and maintain equilibrium without getting pregnant or doing drugs. An exceptionally revealing—and sympathetic—journey into the isolated, high-pressure world of our teenagers. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: May 27, 1991

A solid re-creation of the rape-murder of Karen Gregory in Gulfport, Florida, and of the resulting trial, by the reporter who first covered the case for the St. Petersburg Times. On May 22, 1984, 36-year-old Karen, white, a graphic artist, had just finished moving her things to the house of her black boyfriend, David Mackey, an administrator of a counseling program for Vietnam veterans—and out of town at a conference. In small, conservative Gulfport, the interracial couple ``stood out.'' That night, a woman's scream was heard by a number of people as far as several blocks away; one man said, ``I'll never forget it,'' But no one called the police. Thirty-one hours later, roused by Mackey, who was unable to reach Karen by telephone, the Gulfport police broke in and found her bloody body, stabbed to death many times. So began a long, tedious, often dead-ended investigation led by Sergeant Larry Tosi. French takes the reader through it step by step, revealing what Tosi learned just as he learned it, bit by bit, with a frustrating lack of evidence at first, false suspects, unexplained details, and confusing polygraph tests. Finally, a suspect—ironically, a friend of Tosi's and known for his good works as ``the neighborhood helper''—was arrested; though never confessing to the crime, he was convicted and is currently doing time. Crisp and clear, with vivid characterizations and with the intricacies and frustrations of the police investigation and subsequent trial well explained. Read full book review >