Fall: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small Town

Ron Franscell, Author New Horizon Press $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-88282-279-2
Centering on a horrific crime-the 1973 murder of 11-year-old Amy Burridge and the rape and attempted murder of her 18-year-old half sister, Becky, both of whom were thrown from a bridge 110 feet above Wyoming's North Platte River-novelist and newspaperman Franscell's investigation into a town scarred by evil strikes some unexpectedly resonant chords. In keeping with the true crime genre's standard operating procedure, Franscell recounts the crime, the trial and the lives of both innocent and guilty. The twist is Franscell's personal connection: he grew up right next door to the victims. A true insider, Franscell's insight into the case is more than equaled by his insight into the tight-knit town, making windy Casper, Wyo. one of the book's most mysterious characters. Though Franscell's clearly working through his own grief (""I wished I hadn't learned so young how close evil could come""), he doesn't shy away from the brutal facts of the case-indeed, he occasionally tips into the sensationalist tone suggested by the book's subtitle. Fortunately, Franscell's reportorial vigor, fine pacing and moral center carry the grim story, and he's also capable of great moments of eloquence, as in his weary conclusions: ""We can only build our homes and hearts strong enough to weather evil when it comes, and hope the damage is reparable.""
Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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