Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sebastian Junger - A Death in Belmont

55. A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger (2006)
Length: 266 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 6 December 2016
Finished: 13 December 2016
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 October 2007
Why do I have it? I like true crime and Sebastian Junger is a new author for me.

It was the finding of an odd family photograph that initially led Sebastian Junger to investigate the murder which forms the basis of this extraordinary true story. Actually, it wasn't so much the photograph itself that was strange, but who was photographed with a one-year-old Sebastian and his thirty-four-year-old mother, Ellen. The story behind the taking of this photograph is actually the most horrifying revelation of all, as this information only further highlights just how close the Jungers came to experiencing their own personal tragedy on that particular day in the spring of 1963.

In 1963, residents of the city of Boston were being terrorized by a series of gruesome murders that soon became known as the 'Boston Stranglings'. However, the quiet suburb of Belmont had never experienced the same level of fear until the brutal murder of Bessie Goldberg - which happened only a few blocks from the Junger family home. While Bessie Goldberg's murder bore all the hallmarks of being committed by the Strangler, a young black man by the name of Roy Smith - who had just cleaned the victim's house that day - was arrested, tried, and convicted for her murder. And so, the Strangler continued his reign of terror.

Two years later, Albert DeSalvo - a handyman who was working at the Jungers' home on the day of the Belmont murder - confessed in lurid detail to being the Boston Strangler. Much to the horror of the Jungers, this competent, punctual, and unassuming young man had often spent time alone in their home, as well as with Sebastian and his mother. This disturbing revelation, and the chilling photograph that was taken to commemorate the building of a home studio, opens into a electrifying exploration of race and justice in America during the 1960s. This extraordinary narrative chronicles the multiple lives that collide - and are ultimately destroyed - in the vortex of one of the first and most controversial serial murder cases in America.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I found it to be very well-written and thought-provoking, if a little slow in certain parts. Although I felt that the story lost some of its momentum, it still picked up appreciably, and I would certainly give this book a strong A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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