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

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9780882822792: Fall: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small Town
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On a chilly autumn night in 1973, Casper, Wyoming’s picturesque steel bridge was the scene of a horrific crime. Two young half-sisters, Amy Burridge and Becky Thomson, were abducted, raped, and thrown from the bridge into the swiftly flowing waters 110 feet below. Author and Casper native Ron Franscell was just a child when the crime shattered his close-knit community, brutally ending the life of one friend and neighbor and forever changing the life of another. Unable to shake the demons of that night, Franscell returns 30 years later to examine the widespread effect of evil and its poisonous effect on the people and town of Casper. A gripping, poignant, and intensely personal narrative, Fall also explores the broader issues of survivor guilt, community justice, and crime’s lingering impact on society as a whole.

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From Publishers Weekly:

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."
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From Bookmarks Magazine:

Longtime journalist, mystery writer, and Wyoming native Ron Franscell has penned a true-crime book reminiscent of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood or, more recently, Terri Jentz's Strange Piece of Paradise (**** Sept/Oct 2006) and Sebastian Junger's A Death in Belmont (*** July/Aug 2006). Fall serves as a grim reminder of ubiquitous violence, and the author's journalistic style—clear, cogent, and compelling—makes for a readable, sometimes gripping, narrative. While some critics find that Franscell only haltingly succeeds in connecting the crime to his own childhood in Casper, Karen Algeo Krizman points out that, as a testament to the depth of evil and an elegy for a simpler time, Fall "delivers a crackling story of lives and innocence lost."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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