Reviewer Mary Lignor: Mary is a retired librarian, originally from Connecticut but now living in New Mexico. All her life Mary has loved books and has passed this love on to her daughters. Mary started working in a library when her children were young as an Assistant Librarian and ended up as its Director. Her favorite books are suspense, political intrigue and anything involving the World War II era.
Mary Dieter and Tim McClure
This book is a very powerful story
concerning an extremely controversial type of murder case.
Jack McNaughton is a homicide detective who answers a call in a middle-class neighborhood in Indianapolis. He walks in on a horrible scene of brutality. Six small children and their family dog have been beaten to death and the main suspect is their father. Jack's immediate superior, who is completly incompetent, shows up to garner some publicity for himself and announces to the press that the father, John Pius Peterson, has been charged with six counts of murder. Walking through the crime scene he messes up some of the evidence and on the way out stops and steals a book from the house. Subsequently, the father is taken to police headquarters for questioning.
His story is that he is
the sole care giver of the children since he lost his job and his
wife has a job that takes her out of town often. He says that
he was awakened by a noise and saw a man going up the stairs toward
his children's rooms but couldn't stop him. He also says that
he saw the man bludgeon the children and when he turned around the
murderer was the image of himself. The man is arrested for
murder and goes to trial. He is found not guilty of murder by
reason of insanity as a doctor, on the stand, stated that one would
have to be insane to do the things that were done to these children.
Unfortunately, most states have a rule that if you are found guilty
by reason of insanity, you will remain in jail for life but in
Indiana, for the same sentence you had a chance to go free.
Jack works with the legislators to change this rule to make sure that
the perpetrators of such heinous crimes would not go free. (The
McNaughton Rule). Sadly, Jack is frustrated by the bureaucracy
that ties his hands every time he tries to make a difference.
This story includes many persons who help and hinder Jack on his
quest including his wife and daughter, his friends on the detective
squad, his obnoxious boss who is always against Jack and everything
he tries to do and, others who take this story to the forefront.
As I said before this story is extremely powerful. The writing is first class. Mary Dieter is a writer and editor and Tim McClure is a lawyer and former police lieutenant in the Indiana State Police. They have been married for 25 years and have a daughter so I'm thinking this might be a little bit autobiographical. They certainly know what they are talking about. I surely agree about the insanity defense and the God excuse for killing any and all but unfortunately I just don't have the stomach for it. Sometimes when I read books like this I think that they should bring back public hangings. I almost gave up but, considering the writing, stayed with it and I'm glad that I did. I realized that the authors had a point that they wanted to make and they did.
However, any avid crime reader would be fascinated by this book and if you read this please don't give up as the ending is surprising and the authors, throughout the book, have put in some subtle clues as to what is going to happen (remember the stolen book). So kudos to Mary and Tim and all crime readers that pick up this book.