A chilling memoir of a family tragedy and its painful aftermath.
In 1978, when Edwards (Food and Provisions of the Mountain Man, 2003) was 28, both his parents died under mysterious circumstances while sailing in the South Pacific with his brother Gary, his sister Kerry and a young family friend. In the wake of this devastating loss, it became clear to Larry—and the FBI investigators assigned to the case—that the timeline and logistics of his brother’s account of what happened were completely implausible. None of the survivors came forward with the full details, but it became apparent that only Gary could possibly be responsible for the deaths. The FBI’s case against him was built around circumstantial evidence, however, and as the investigation stretched out over years, the Edwards siblings struggled with the betrayal that tore their family apart. Larry began drinking more as he sought refuge from persistent questions from various law enforcement agencies about how and why his parents were killed. The author’s compelling real-life tragedy is the stuff true-crime books are made of; indeed, his parents’ case became the subject of a true-crime story, Ann Rule’s But I Trusted You(2009). Unfortunately, according to Edwards, that account was full of inaccuracies; it not only dredged up unresolved grief, but also created a new, terrible rift between him and another of his sisters. Edwards’ memoir examines every angle of the case in clean, clear prose, and the author’s keen desire to honor his parents’ memory gives his memoir its power. However, at times, the book seems overly concerned with pointing fingers at family members—not necessarily for their roles in the author’s parents’ deaths but for how they’ve behaved in the years since. That said, this book is an act of witness, and the author’s motivation is palpable throughout: “I have a right to know. Our family has a right to know. Society has a right to know.”
A powerful testament to a son’s unyielding determination to tell his parents’ story.
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").