Unanswered Cries by Thomas French

I picked up a copy of Unanswered Cries: A True Story of Friends, Neighbors, and Murder in a Small Town at an op shop and I am glad I did. It is an extraordinary read.

Former St Petersburg Times reporter ( he worked at the paper at time of writing the  book and until 2008) Thomas French details the 1984 murder of Florida woman Karen Gregory, 36, and the trial of her accused killer George Lewis in painstaking detail. It is truly one of the most detailed true crime books I have ever read. French covered the crime and trial for his newspaper.

The central theme of the book, first published in 1991, was that more than a dozen people heard the screams of Karen Gregory on the night she was raped and murdered but no one called police or went to investigate. French comes back to this point several times in the book, and as you will read, the lack of action on the part of George Lewis, who claimed he checked on Karen Gregory after hearing her screams but did not contact police, is a main point for the prosecution.

French, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist,  describes the lives of both Karen Gregory, a gregarious, well-loved woman and George Lewis, a young firefighter, husband and father in excellent detail so the reader really feels they are walking through the story.

Unanswered Cries is a great example of true crime writing and how one crime impacts on so many people’s lives. Read some of French’s tips for writers here. French is a writer for journalists and writers to read and emulate.

Unanswered Cries: A True Story of Friends, Neighbors, and Murder in a Small Town is published by St Martin’s Press (my copy is by Mandarin and published in United Kingdom).



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