Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford and Detective Sgt. Joe Matthews

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061983918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061983917

The story of Adam Walsh's murder is tragic and frustrating.

I remember bits on the news  at the time, but was a teenager and didn't really think much about it.  But the media was different then, we didn't hear much about these type of things - they seemed distant and outside our world view really.

A boy, snatched from a sears store while his mother was in a different part of the store -- looking back NOW puts an entirely different perspective on it.  When we were kids we would often hang out in the toy section while our parents were in another section.  I even remember Christmas shopping with me and my younger brother shopping on our own with a meet up time and location with my parents at a food place in the mall.  Oh - how times have changed.  And really as a major result of this horrific crime.

A parent now would be horrified at leaving their child unattended and would come down like a hammer on poor Reve' Walsh (who probably comes down harder on herself than any other person ever could).  The fact is, even though abduction/murders of children did happen, we never heard about it.  And the idea of a predator like Ottis Toole who did it on a whim was just too unbelievable to comprehend.

So, this book chronicles the investigation from the beginning and tells the story of why the crime was not 'solved' and Toole charged in the killing, despite numerous confessions.  It does not shine a good light on the Hollywood police department and others.

What makes it different from John Walsh's own book on the murder of his son 
is that this book was written by the man who repeatedly was shut out of the case over the years, and is the one who finally put the pieces together and found the evidence to close the case once and for all.

Both books actually are incredibly good.  And though telling the story of a horribly tragic murder of a beautiful young boy,

they are also the story of how the world changed.  And I don't say that lightly.

Adam's story is also John's story.

John Walsh had a waking nightmare that left him full of unimaginable pain, frustration, rage and he could have turned it inward and that would have been the ending of a sad tale.

Instead, John Walsh made it his life's work to change the way we react to a missing child.

Both books detail that struggle and it's results.  Some of which we know, some we don't.

But the highlights?

  • Child pictures on milk cartons
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

I do remember when this opened because it was very closed to where I worked at the time.  What Mr. Walsh learned and pushed others to support is that everyone needs to work together to find children.

This is another thing we all are used to now with CSI and other shows constantly checking it for similar crimes.  Nothing like it existed.

  • Laws too many to mention
Walsh was behind so many laws.  He worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle (back when Congress actually WORKED) to pass laws to aid law enforcement and help protect the innocent.

Probably the most important one to him, was the one that bears his son's name:

  • And of course the one that most of us knows him for:

A show most of us have watched.  A show that has resulted in the capture of well over 1000 wanted criminals.

And on a related note, when I was a member of the True Crime Book Club for the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, we actually met on the set of America's Most Wanted which is on the bottom floor of the Museum.  So we were in the nerve center where people answered the telephones and took leads.  Even empty but for us, I felt a bit a part of it at the time.  Had a sense of awe at what happened right there every week...

John Walsh has made the world a better place and done work that others have taken up and will continue to do.  At great personal cost.  He is a man I admire greatly.

And the book was as good as I had hoped as well. :)



  1. That was tragic but than all missing children are tragic. We watch America's Most Wanted for years. That was a positive thing from this event. My blog today has my feling on Idaho.

  2. I agree, John Walsh has really made a difference with all that he has done.
    What a senseless crime!


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