Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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

A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder

Karen Spears Zacharias

MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Apr 1 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 978-1596923751

In 2008 in Corvallis, Oregon, three year old Karly Sheehan was beaten to death. Shawn Wesley Field, the boyfriend of Karly’s mother Sarah Sheehan was convicted of the toddler’s murder. Using available electronic and written documents and interviews with Karly’s father David, reporter Karen Spears Zacharias, a one-time friend of the mother, tells what led to the tragedy while making a case that society failed to protect Karly.

This is a sad but engaging “memoir of a murder” of a little girl though the entry lacks the full depth of what happened as Ms. Sheehan and Mr. Field refused to participate. Thus the account is based on public records and commentary from Mr. Sheehan, officials and the community as well as the author’s knowledge; the latter is a two-edged sword as the author seems too personal with her condemnation of the mother). Additionally though a tertiary participant, Ms. Zacharias injects herself too much into her account of what went wrong as if she is writing a fictional family drama in which she is a key character. Still true crime readers will want to know what caused the tragedy that apparently most people believe was avoidable and led to a law based on the premise that adults must protect children

Harriet Klausner

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