Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Christmas Day Murders by Sheriff J. B. Smith and D. W. Adams

Synopsis: When the bodies of Carla and Stephen Barron were discovered early one Christmas morning, the search for the killer began. The murder investigation that ensued is full of shocking discoveries and provides keen insight into the world of the Texas sheriff who directed the investigation. Critical evidence led Sheriff J.B. Smith’s team to solve one of the most compelling cases ever seen.
My Thoughts: This is my first foray into this kind of true crime. I've read "The Monster of Florence" by Douglas Preston, "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson and listened to "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote, and "Jack the Ripper" by Patricia Cornwell and it did not compare well to any of these. But to be fair it wasn't presented as a work of literature but as a chronicle.
I think this book would appeal mostly to a local audience. That's why I chose it. The case was covered with lots of details but there were included a lot of rabbit trails mostly about the sheriff and his friends. I did not think it was appropriate to include the story of his friend who flew in prostitutes in from New York City. It had nothing to do with the story and was kind of just thrown in.

This was a quick read at 219 pages. The local references brought the story close to my heart. I felt grief for this apparently decent couple.

The fact that pictures of the murdered couple, taken at the scene of the murder, were included was beyond bad taste, at least to me. Especially for a book that would certainly have mostly local appeal. I think the description was sufficient. Their dignity was stripped from them in the most callous way. Are these kinds of pictures generally included in true crime books?

I hate to sound so negative about this, The Sheriff is a very popular person in his area, a sought ofter speaker, and a force in the community for good. Go here to read a little more about him. Scroll to the very bottom of this page and click on Video Clips to see several very short clips.

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true crime, murder, nonfiction


Yvette Kelly said...

Hi Sharon
Not at all.I can honestly say that I have never encountered that.Usually pictures of the victims in happier times or my worst one was a picture of the couch where the small kids had been murdered.I would hate that as well.I think it's all about a little dignity being afforded to the victims.

Sharon said...

Thanks Yvette. I'm glad to hear that. These pictures left the victims no dignity and I was upset to see them included.