Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice

Ellen McGarrahan. Random House, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-812-99866-5
Journalist-turned-PI McGarrahan brings readers along on her affecting quest to discover the truth about who killed two law enforcement officers in 1976 Florida. State trooper Phillip Black and a visiting colleague, Canadian constable Donald Irwin, spotted a car in a rest area containing five sleeping people: Jesse Tafero; his girlfriend, Sunny Jacobs; their two young children; and Tafero’s friend Walter Rhodes. Shortly after Black radioed that he saw a gun in the car, multiple shots rang out, leaving the officers dead. Based on Rhodes’s testimony, Tafero and Jacobs were convicted of the homicides. In 1990, Tafero was electrocuted, an execution McGarrahan witnessed in her role as a reporter for the Miami Herald. McGarrahan knew from attending a play based on the crime and its aftermath that Rhodes confessed to pulling the trigger less than a year after Tafero and Jacobs were convicted, then he recanted. She subsequently embarked on her own investigation, which included travel to Ireland to interview Jacobs and to Australia to interview Jacobs’s son. Ultimately, she reached a definitive conclusion about who was responsible for Black and Irwin’s murders. McGarrahan’s blend of detective work and insights into the criminal justice system make this must reading for fans of Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line. Agent: Mollie Glick, Creative Artists Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/07/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-8129-9867-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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