Monday, June 25, 2012

A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder by Karen Spears Zacharias

The blurb:
Investigative journalist and author Karen Spears Zacharias never anticipated she would become one of the characters involved in a high profile murder.  But when she reconnects with a young woman named Sarah, who lived in the Zarcharias home at one time and was treated like family, Karen discovers that something unspeakable has happened to Sarah's daughter, Karly.

Compelled to consider her own culpability in this tragic case, Karen pieces together what happened to Karly through court documents, investigators' interviews, and interviews with friends, family, law enforcement officers, and key witnesses.  As the terrible story unfolds, the hard question emerges for everyone involved, indeed all of us:  Why was no cry raised to protect Karly?

A Silence of Mockingbirds is a strange mix of nonfiction that reads much like a mystery of sorts.   As Zarcharias shares the story, I was struck by how little people knew of the abuse that Karly was going through.  The many signs are easy to pinpoint after the fact and Zacharias's kept me wondering what signs were visible, noticed, and what actions the adults in her life were taking.  When you're not looking for abuse, it's hard to see it.  It was heartbreaking to read Karly's reaction to the treatment and how she was internalizing the abuse. 

A Silence of Mockingbirds left me much more sensitive to child abuse. It's a heartbreaking story and very well told.

ISBN-10: 159692375X - Hardcover $25.00
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing; 1 edition (April 1, 2012), 325 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.

About the Author:
Karen Spears Zacharias has been featured on Huffington Post and CNN.  Her commentary has appeared in the New York Times and on NPR.  Karen blogs at and teaches journalism at Central Washington University.  She wrote this book while serving as writer-in-residence at the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, Fairhope, Alabama.  Karen divides her time between the Columbia River in Oregon and Mobile Bay in Alabama.

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