Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Left for Garbage, by Sarah Mathews

When two year old Deeley Brown goes missing, instead of contacting authorities, her mother, Denise, stays silent.  After 31 days, it comes to light that Deeley is missing, and Denise spins a story so fantastical, it is amazing that anyone ever believed it, yet her parents support her fully.  When it becomes clear that this is no longer a missing person investigation, but instead a murder case, Denise is arrested, while her parents continue to proclaim her innocence.  Will a jury see through Denise's ever changing web of lies?

Very clearly, this book is inspired by the Casey Anthony case, which kept the nation enthralled for months.  The storyline and the characters very closely resemble their real life counterparts.  I only loosely followed the Casey Anthony trial, so much of what was portrayed in this book was new information, which sent me on a hunt online for details on the real life case.  I was stunned, to say the least, by all the ridiculous accusations and actions that occurred.  In the context of the book, it seems to farcical, which leads me to wonder, why did no one realize what a circus this was in real life.

When art imitates life, it sometimes forces us to see our blind spots, and I think that is exactly what this book does.  It forces us to take a hard look, not only at the Anthony case, but at the media portrayal of this tragedy, and ask what in tarnation is wrong with the American justice system.  So many of the details in the book which seem ridiculous, like Denise's party girl attitude when her child was "missing", the ever changing versions of events, and the asinine accusations of government and Al Qaeda involvement, are completely real things that occurred in the Anthony trial.  It makes for good fiction, but the fact that this was all so real is just bizarre.

The book is written in a tongue in cheek manner, which makes it darkly comical, but there are also very sad undertones.  It is heartbreaking that there is no justice for this child.  I was riveted by this book, but it also sparked a series of bad dreams for me.  Fans of crime fiction and real crime books alike will both enjoy the book, since it is a brilliant melding of the two genres.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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