Tucker Jones is an upstanding, caring single father whose life changes dramatically one night with the ring of a single phone call. His thirteen year old daughter Kat was reportedly seen giving blow jobs to a number of her peers at a party one night. Tucker shows up at the party to collect his daughter but she is nowhere to be found and the teenage boys at the house seem insensitive to his plight. This perfect storm results in a scuffle between Tucker and the boys and culminates with one of the boys crashing into a glass table and losing an eye. Suddenly, Tucker is threatened with the legal ramifications of his actions, not to mention the complications to his personal life.
This is one of those books that demonstrates how a few seconds of pure emotion can result in life changing consequences. Tucker reacted badly that night, but really, who could blame him? It was difficult to read about the consequences that Kat and Tucker had to face as a result of that awful night, but at the same time you have the other victim too, the teenage boy, who wasn’t involved in the fiasco earlier that evening with Kat, but was instead involved in a relationship with Kat’s best friend.
Typically, this type of book is something I pick up when I want something that is a little more absorbing without involving too much concentration. While it raised some great questions, in the end it wasn’t the most memorable book I have ever read. I could see it eliciting a great book club discussion though.
For those of you unfamiliar with the case, the quick version is as follows; on a November night in 1974, Ronald and Louise DeFeo were shot dead in their beds, as were four of their five children, Dawn, Allison, Marc and John David. The bodies were discovered by the eldest child, Ronnie, who seemed hysterical at the time but was quickly taken into custody under suspicion of murder. He eventually confessed and has been in prison ever since, but the case is hardly as clear cut as that.
The Amityville Horror was the first book written on the case (I think) and deals with the Lutz family, who moved into the DeFeo home less than a year after the murders. They have no qualms about moving into a house where a night of horror recently took place, but soon after they realize that something is horribly wrong with the house and that it is possessed by evil spirits. They are not the spirits of the dead DeFeo family but instead evil spirits that supposedly influenced Ronnie to commit the murders in the first place. After living in the home for less than a month, the Lutz family fled, never to return again.
I then read Mentally Ill in Amityville, which purported to tell the true story of the Amityville murders and the subsequent situation with the Lutzes. The investigative aspect of the book was interesting, with the author traveling to Amityville for research and tracking down neighbors who could testify to the circumstances from both the murders and the haunting of the Lutz family.
I’ll admit though, both books left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The Amityville murders and haunting are one of those subjects that is so muddled with very little answers available. Ronnie DeFeo has changed his account of the murders so many times that it is difficult to know the true circumstances of that night. Then you have the Lutz’s, whose story and motivations are countlessly questioned. I ended up feeling as if neither author really knew what they were talking about and that both books were the result of much conjecture and loaded with falsehoods.
From what I have seen, there is not really a definitive book on Amityville that can be taken seriously, so at this point, I admit defeat.