An accomplished, unsettling look at a confounding crime and larger issues of memory, culpability, and punishment.

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TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

MURDER, OBSESSION, AND JUSTICE IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

Vivid re-examination of a puzzling double murder.

Journalist and private investigator McGarrahan’s debut is an engrossing, authoritative fusion of true crime and memoir. She has a particular connection to the grisly crime at is center, which she portrays in a chilling prologue. In 1990, as a young reporter for the Miami Herald, she witnessed the execution of Jesse Tafero, convicted with his girlfriend, Sunny Jacobs, in the 1976 slayings of two police officers during a roadside stop. Their convictions were based on the testimony of Walter Rhodes, who recanted and changed his story numerous times, which led to Sunny’s release—and celebrity following the case’s dramatization in the play and movie The Exonerated. Haunted by questions about Tafero’s possible innocence, McGarrahan took a leave of absence to review the case. During her investigation, she was able to link Tafero, Sunny, and Rhodes to a startling web of South Florida criminality, including mysterious mob deaths, celebrity jewel thieves, a violent drug gang, and even tales of “men forced to dig their own graves in the Everglades.” McGarrahan interviewed Jacobs and tracked down Rhodes, by then a fugitive, in a tense encounter: “He knew about the murders,” writes the author, “the blood monolith suddenly in the center of my life again.” Throughout, she maintains tension by connecting the case’s labyrinthine backstory to her own life of wanderlust and detection, portraying her exasperated husband as a source of solidity and her PI career as an enigmatic motivation for grappling with the ugly mystery of the murder. She eventually makes a conclusion about the case after a full consideration of available evidence, including talks with the state’s attorney and surviving eyewitnesses. Although her reflections are occasionally redundant, McGarrahan captures a keen sense of place and the significance of the entire ordeal.

An accomplished, unsettling look at a confounding crime and larger issues of memory, culpability, and punishment.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9866-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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