AN AMERICAN CRIME STORY by John Pekkanen

AN AMERICAN CRIME STORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is on a par with the serious (for the medium) TV documentaries on rape although Pekkanen does not examine at any great length the reluctance of the victims to carry through from the indignity to the prosecution of the crime--the flinching fear of self-exposure which is (if we believe other commentators and casualties) worse than the fate which is worse than. . . . In 1971 Dianne Collins returned to her apartment and was assaulted by a black man with a can opener who raped her before she managed to escape--on a supposed outing to a nearby liquor store. This follows through from the inquiry by the police, the examination at the hospital (there is less forensic detail than we've seen on the screen), to her own reaction--recurrent nightmares and fears which for a time sent her to a psychiatrist and crippled her love affair. At some length there is the trial which followed and even if she identified Jimmy Gibbs (he had been seen with her silver earrings elsewhere) from the outset, he was let off. The account is based on an actual case, fictionalized to a degree out of necessity, and it has the forcible impact of the crime itself even if it does linger over how inadequately we are protected by the law at every level.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1976
Publisher: Dial