This book is written by American journalist Sonny Long and is about a triple murder that went unsolved for many years.
Long followed the case from the start – he was the first to report that the bodies of East Texas mum Gerri Faye Butts and her daughters, Jessica, 11 and baby Mackenzie, two, were found in their trailer home in 1992.
Long details how he has covered the case – and how it unfolded – over the almost 20 years until a man was found guilty of the murder of Gerri Faye. Journalists can get hooked on cold cases (I include myself here!) and Long has certainly never stopped pushing for information or charting the progress of the murders of this family.
Among Murderers and Madness is also autobiographical for Long and he is very candid about his career – he includes editorials he wrote about the case over the years – and details his reporting rivalry with his hometown newspaper Citizens-Journal (he worked for them before setting up his own thrice-weekly newsletter Pine Country Bulletin).
Australia has very strict laws on defamation and contempt of court and I am always fascinated with how different it is in America. Reporters and pundits can freely comment on court cases, while they are happening, going much further than just reporting what is said in open court.
Among Murderers and Madness is interesting. I have a natural interest and felt an affinity with Long as I am also a community newspaper reporter. I like the depth his personal insight gave to this story. He is essentially the main character and the murders of the Butts family drives his obsession with finding justice for them. There is also lots of information about the web community websleuths, people who play amateur detective (with some impressive results) and the part they played in keeping this case alive in the minds of investigators and the public.
There are lots of other twists and turns in the book. I won’t reveal them!