I don't typically go for the true crime novel, as simply turning on the evening news can tell you all you need to know about man's inhumanity to man. However this book caught my attention because of the location. I spent half of my childhood in Farmington NM, visiting my grandparents, then as an adult moving there, and then moving down to ABQ. Tijeras Canyon is a place I have been to many times "rock hounding" and passing by on my way up to Sandia Peak to spend the day in the mountains. New Mexico is my "happy place", and I am not naive enough to believe that nothing bad ever happens in the place I love, so I felt compelled to know how a such a beautiful place could be the place of torment for another. And there in the arroyo, I see how off of Old Route 66, hell can be right down the street.
Colene Bush survived what most people have never even seen in their nightmares and Julie Jackson lost her life in this same unimaginable scenario. Although this may not be the greatest work of literature ever written, Joyce Nance's passion, love and admiration for Colene Bush comes through on every page, as well the distain for Michael Guzman and disgust with former governor Toney Anaya is clear as day. I found this book captivating and enthralling, not because of the heinous crime itself, but because of the realization of how our society puts the killer on a celebrity type pedestal, but the victims are just nameless extras that are disposable, pun intended. How many serial killers can the average American name? Now how many of those same people can name the victims? Or go beyond the sensationalism and see the aftermath left behind for the victims and the victims family and loved ones to sort through year in and year out?
The monster gets splashed across the TV and papers. People cry out for mercy because after all there are always "circumstances" that led to such bad behavior. Mindless morons make statements like, "In a civilized society we shouldn't stoop so low as to put an end to the life of another human being", even though said "human being" is a raping murder with no hope of being anything other than a danger to society and a drain on our economy. So the monster gets life in prison, free medical care, 3 meals a day, an education and cable TV. And justice has supposedly been served. But you never see those same people crying out for the innocent lives shattered by the monster. They need to just simply get over it and move on.
I hope that this book is read across the nation, so that we as a society will begin reevaluate what we call justice in this country. If even one killer gets fame, admiration, and a free ride by the government while the innocent vicim is left to flounder in pain, isolation, fear, and a continuous cycle of victimization by society's short term memory and apathy, we as a society have failed...