Monday, May 4, 2009

Taken From Home by Eric Francis

When Michael Blagg's adoring wife, Jennifer, and his six year-old-daughter, Abby, disappeared from their home, in Grand Junction,Colorado in 2001,Michael led the charge to find them, even going so far as to make a nationwide appeal on Good Morning America for information. But seven months later, investigators found Jennifer's remains in a Mesa County landfill, and things took a darker turn.Jennifer had been shot in the head, investigators discovered, and Abby was nowhere to be found. While Michael, a respected prayer-group leader, played the part of grieving survivor, authorities became increasingly suspicious.There was blood evidence in the back of the family's van. Was Blagg a cold-blooded killer? A religious fanatic?

If you have ever wondered what was going on behind the scenes when a major story hit the news headlines then this book is for you.The story begins with Michael Blagg's actions on the day his wife and daughter disappeared.After leaving work a shocked Michael arrives home to find his family is nowhere to be found.This story then details the investigative work,first to find the bodies,and then the guilty party and the ultimate conviction.This story would fall under the typical family murder scenario were it not for this brilliant writer's talent at spinning a timeline that leaves the reader with the idea that you are watching all the scenes unfold in front of you in the news.The great exception is that you are being provided with what is happening in the background with the investigation.I normally do not enjoy stories that mostly comprise of the investigation but this one is the most brilliant that I have ever read on an investigation.

Sometimes simple is better.In no way does Eric Francis try to add with colorful phrases or embellishments.Descriptions are provided ony when relevant.I was especially impressed with one item that he left out of the court case.This item is brought up at the end as one of the things that swayed the jury.The interview of the jurors was very enlightening and provided some insight as to how different people handle different sensors.The book is full of interesting information such as the background on the Laura Recovery Center Foundation and their successes thus far.Some interesting information was also provided on a landfill operation which I can tell you now is far more complicated than you might think.It really is not just a case of dumping.It is highly organised as per a basic plan and modern technology is highly involved.After this case, all I can advise is do not dump anything in that specific landfill as they are now even more advanced in their technology and this is covered well in this book.Interviews with members of the family and friends are weaved into the story so well and at precisely the right time.Questions that I would have at a certain part would have answers provided within the next chapter.It felt like I was speaking directly to the writer and he was answering all my questions.If all investigative books were like this one I would read all of them.The book ends with a beautiful chapter by the author,Eric Francis,which confirmed for me the empathy that the writer had for these victims.He wrote their story so well and so simply yet the impact is so powerful.Despite being a true crime story where we supposedly know the end,I was in a constant state of turmoil wondering who did it,how they did it and so forth.

I think by now if you have read my other reviews,it is fairly easy to work out which books I recommend or not.If I highly recommend a book I would say things like "I dare you to not like this book" or "I would stake my life on this one" or generally just gush,or note that it is in my "Top Ten".In this case please note I am doing all of the afore mentioned.

I have already placed reminders on my online bookstore for Eric Francis' other books
1-The Dartmouth Murders
2-A Wife's Revenge
3-Broken Vows
and I will do a review on them as soon as I am done reading the books.I really hope that his writing style has remained consistent over the years.

For readers who would like to find out more about this book this Kalahari Books link is for South African readers and the Amazon link below will provide more reviews on the book
Taken From Home: A Father, a Dark Secret, and a Brutal Murder (St. Martin's True Crime Library)

I read this book in May 2009 and it has 280 pages and 8 pages of photographs.On a personal level I was amazed at how religiously fanatic some people can be and how that can produce its own unique set of problems.


  1. This is very very good book & love to read it..... i think you should post free online publication so it will help you... i have few site which might be use full to you...,,

  2. Thanks for the tips Roshni.I am going over right now to check out the sites.

  3. this is really very good book and you can post free online book as an author can do free publishing... such site are...,, this will help U...

  4. a nice book blog Really very good attempt i like it... personally tell you thank you very very much.. i was known about the book... why don't you try this book to post online publishing.. as per urvi said that you should try at least form such site like... and many more site where you can post...

  5. Great review. Not sure if this would interest me enough to read it. But if he did kill his family that is sad.

  6. haven't read the book but interested...due to the fact that I was a juror! Interesting that it became a book.


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