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Stolen in the Night: The True Story of a…

Stolen in the Night: The True Story of a Family's Murder, a Kidnapping and…

by Gary C. King

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While the color photos and captivating headlines always turn my head at the bookstore, I usually know better than to pick up a true crime book. I went against my better judgment when I decided to read Stolen in the Night: The True Story of a Family's Murder, a Kidnapping and the Child Who Survived by Gary C. King and I really wish I wouldn’t have.
Stolen in the Night is the story about Joseph Edward Duncan, a sexual psychopath, and how he kidnapped two children in Idaho and brutally murdered the rest of their family. The story itself is as shocking and disturbing as it’s advertised to be. However, the presentation of that story could be much better.
This is where I blame true crime novels in general. They typically read like a long, drawn-out newscast. Sure, there are plenty of details, but not necessarily the details readers are craving to learn. For example, it doesn’t really matter to me what the chief investigator of a case had for breakfast. In a fictionalized story, this minute detail might help develop the character and could be seen as a necessary contribution, but in a book like this, it’s merely thrown in amongst other facts to take up space. On top of that, there is usually no flair to the writing. The words are informative, yet stale, and the reader ends up feeling like he’s just finished a news article or blurb from a textbook. I have to say that in this area, Gary C. King excelled. His writing was not as poor as some of the other true crime authors I have read. He did his best to use vivid vocabulary here and there, which made it possible for me to finish the book instead of throwing it away after the first one hundred pages.
My recommendations about this book vary based on your purpose. If you simply want to learn what happened with this psychopath and the kids he kidnapped, but don’t want to wade through a bunch of irrelevant information, I would simply find a news article about the crime. It’ll be easier to read, give you all the information you want, and take up a whole lot less of your time! If you enjoy knowing every intricate detail of every conversation, theory, and investigation, then you might enjoy this book. Like I said previously, its biggest fault is that it’s written for the true crime genre. Gary C. King has talent, but as a reader, I think it could be put to much better use than writing glorified news reports. ( )
  rrboudin | Nov 17, 2009 |
This true crime story heartbreakingly conveys the story of the anniliation of a family. Sexual psychopath Joseph Edward Duncan II brutally murdered a mother, her older son, and her boyfriend. Duncan then kidnaps the murdered woman's other 2 children, young Shasta and Dylan Groene from their idyllic Idaho home.

Millions of people watched the horror of this case unfold on the evening news. Detectives and the FBI scrambled to find the missing children, and the nation held it's collective breath, hoping for the best, anticipating the worst.

Told with an unerring eye to detail, Gary King's book takes the reader on this heartrending story, from harrowing twists to the tale of a courageous little girl who manages to survive against all odds. You feel the righteous indignation that comes with knowing that a bragging sexual predator was allowed to escape his punishment for earlier crimes, the horror faced by the young girl who he sexually brutalized, and the brother she knows he murdered. This story will haunt you long after you finish reading it, as much from the experiences of the family as from knowing that the system didn't work, and that this monster was allowed to go free.

Mr. King writes with great detail, and shares much of the case, the work involved, and the background story that allowed this horror to exist in the first place. I came away knowing more about the faults of our justice system, and what made this psychopath "tick". Knowing that Shasta has been reunited with her father, and is receiving psychological help to deal with her ordeal, brings the book to a decent conclusion. There is no happy ending to this story, and Mr. King doesn't try to paint a picture of one. It's handled with tact, well-meaning and compassion. ( )
  crazypsychobooklover | Aug 14, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312942052, Mass Market Paperback)

Joseph Duncan had been convicted of raping and torturing a 14-year-old boy in Tacoma, Washington. On the Internet he proudly boasted of his perversions. But the system turned Duncan loose, and no one would stop him from committing an even more horrifying act...
This time, he prepared meticulously. He chose his getaway car. He chose his murder weapon and loaded a video camera. Then, when he saw young Shasta and Dylan Groene playing outside their Idaho home, he struck--killing their mother and her boyfriend, and their older brother…and vanishing into the night with Shasta and Dylan. 
Detectives pored over the bloody murder scene. The FBI scrambled to find the children and the abductor. And even when Duncan was finally located, the story was not yet over: Dylan was still missing…and the depth of one man's evil was still coming horribly to light….

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:15 -0400)

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