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.