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

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

A MURDER, A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, AND HER SEARCH FOR JUSTICE

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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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