Title: Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America
Author: Les Standiford & Joe Matthews
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Genre: True Crime, Non-Fiction
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4 out of 5
Most people know the story of John Walsh’s, the host of America’s Most Wanted. In 1981, Walsh’s son, Adam, was kidnapped from a department store in Florida. He was later found murdered and brutally decapitated. For 25 years, the investigation into Adam’s death was bungled, until finally, Detective Joe Matthews stepped in at John and his wife Reve’s request to solve the case once and for all.
While I was familiar with the basic facts around the Adam Walsh case - after all, America’s Most Wanted was very popular when I was growing up - I didn’t realize how horribly mangled the investigation into the boy’s kidnapping and murder was. Standiford and Matthews begin by taking the reader back to the scene of the crime, telling the story in an narrative form. This immerses the reader in the tale, bringing the sad events and their aftermath to life. Though the story can be dry at times, the authors always manage to pull the reader back into their tale.
After the murder occurs, the authors take the reader deep into the investigation, expounding upon every lead and explaining the history behind the suspects. It’s well done, yet tragic at the same time, because it highlights how woefully inadequate the investigation into Adam’s death was. Part of that might be because the police department in Hollywood, FL had no experience with a case like this, but there is no doubt that there were serious mistakes made and that egos got in the way of justice for the Walshes. It’s incredibly frustrating for any reader, so one can only imagine what the family who had to suffer for 25 years before learning the identity of their son’s killer must have felt.
The evidence is well presented in Bringing Adam Home, at at the end, there really is no doubt as to the identity of his murderer. While it’s sad it took so long to come to light, it’s comforting to know that at least the Walshes know who took their son from them. The details of the murder are chilling and the murderer is out of one’s worst nightmares. Overall, this is an interesting, well-told book, and though it has some slow spots, it’s definitely a must-read for any fan of true crime.