Merrimon Book Reviews

The Scream
Edvard Munch

The original German title given to the work by Munch was Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature). The Norwegian word skrik  is usually translated as scream, but is cognate with the English shriek. Occasionally, the painting has been called The Cry.

In a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image thus:
“     I was walking along a path with two friends — the sun was setting — suddenly the sky turned blood red — I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

From Merrimon Book Reviews
Shattered by Kathryn Casey
by Kathryn Casey

Disturbing and unforgettable

In Katy, Texas, football was king and David Temple was the king of kings.  Handsome and talented, David Temple had the world at his feet.  He married Belinda Lucas, a woman full of energy and charm.  They had a son and were awaiting the birth of their daughter.  Theirs was a fairy tale marriage, or so it seemed.  Then one day, everything changed.  On January 11, 1999, Belinda's body was found in a closet.  Her face had been destroyed by a shotgun and the hope of her daughter gone.  From the beginning. only circumstantial evidence seemed to tie David to the brutal murder.  One determined detective would pursue the case for eight years.  One determined prosecutor would pursue justice in the name of Belinda and her unborn child.  Far from the fairy tale veneer, the investigation would uncover the nightmare that even David Temple's family could not hide -- a marriage filled with emotional abuse, adultery, and a shocking tale of a man who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.

In SHATTERED, Kathryn Casey examines the family backgrounds of David and Belinda Temple through interviews with family and friends.  Details of evidence, the investigation and the trial  comprise the second half of the book.  From the very beginning, the reader assumes the guilt of David Temple as more and more examples build up the portrait of the man behind the pretty picture.  Bit by bit, Kathryn Casey unveils the dynamics within the marriage as well as the role David Temple's family might have had in creating the man he would become.  Although Kathryn Casey makes the case against David Temple from the very beginning, she does not sensationalize the abuse or crime details.  In one brief moment at the police station, a reader almost feels for the mother as she is faced with the horror of the crime.  Even though the author emphasizes the brutality of the crime, she does not do so by resorting to the kind of minute graphic detail often found in fictional stories.  Indeed, this book haunts precisely because of the author's restraint and ability to focus on those scenes and images that make a reader feel outrage at the crime as one sees Belinda as more than just a victim.  The author's note at the end is a must read.  Here, Kathryn Casey's personal thoughts pinpoint the most chilling aspect of the crime.  In the most simple everyday details, this reader finds the true horror of the crime. 

In a world full of violent news stories and sensationalistic journalism, Kathryn Casey's writing has the power to haunt a reader's thoughts long after the last page.  Even weeks after finishing SHATTERED, this reader cannot forget the book and the disturbing portrait of this marriage.  Whereas new headlines often come fast and then are forgotten, SHATTERED, despite its somewhat simplistic if not tacky cover, succeeds in making the story unforgettable.  SHATTERED is one of the best true crime novels I have read precisely because of the author's ability to combine an easy, flowing style with the artistic ability to pinpoint the most humanizing moments. 

Publisher: Harper True Crime (March 9, 2010)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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